I’m feeling depressed. I mean, I’m really feeling terrible. What’s wrong with me. I sit in this constant despair wondering what
my life is going to amount to. Listening to music doesn’t help. They keep telling me to open up to people. Well, I have and it doesn’t work… How many times have thoughts like that gone
through your head? Guess what, your not alone. Nearly 350 million people around the world
have been diagnosed with some sort of depressive disorder. That’s nearly the entire population of the
United States. 15% of U.S. adults will be diagnosed with
depression in their lifetime. While that may seem small to some, it’s
just around 31 million people. The nature of depression and where it comes
from is a widely debated topic among the medical community. But many of us with a history of depression
in your family often wonder… Is depression genetic? Before we begin, want to know a quick way
to boost your happiness? Subscribe to Bestie and hit the notification
bell! Support our channel by watching until the
very end. Picture two doctors having a boxing match? Both highly-educated, intellectual titans
countering every swing they send at each other with an accurate punch. This could be a metaphor for the debate among
the psychology community as to the origins of mental illness. “If my dad’s grandfather’s distant cousin
suffered from depression, am I at risk of having it?” While experts have come up with conclusions,
many contradict each other. The first involves a bit of math. Everybody loves math right? Experts in the field of mental health, particularly
clinical depression, state that if an immediate relative of yours suffers from a mental illness,
the chances of you being diagnosed are around 50%. Other studies conclude that you are 40% more
likely. Either way, the link between depression and
genetics is almost undeniable. “So it is genetic! Video over! Case closed. I’m clicking on this thumbnail with the
cat playing the ukulele.” I know, it all seems pretty straight forward
from here. The only problem is that it’s not… So bare with us. The cat will still be playing ukulele when
we’re through. The topic of depression gets really tricky,
especially upon realizing there are so many different types! When talking about the most common forms,
there are six alone! These are major depressive, persistent depressive,
seasonal, postpartum, bipolar and psychotic. With postpartum, between 10 and 15 percent
of new mothers in the U.S. will experience symptoms within three months of childbirth. With psychotic depression, a patient is usually
suffering from some form of delusion of paranoia. Of those admitted to a hospital for depression,
over 25% are diagnosed with the psychotic form. While most studies conclude that almost half
of depression cases are hereditary, between 50 – 60% are brought on by other variables. Along with the changing of the seasons, feelings
of depression can be the product of loneliness and past trauma. Depression can also come from other illnesses. For example, 25% of cancer patients experience
depression. If you’ve survived a heart attack, you have
a 1 in 3 chance of experiencing some form of clinical depression. It is the same odds for a person with HIV. While you can argue that these illnesses are
the direct cause of the depression, they apply primarily to adults. What about children? As of 2018, an estimated 1.9 million people
between the ages of 3 and 17 will be diagnosed with depression. What’s the cause of their cases? As it turns out, the answer is as complex
as you’d expect. While family history does play a role in the
mental illnesses of children, it is estimated that most cases are environmental. A child who has gone through a divorce, suffered
abuse or lost a family member is more likely to develop depression over time. There is also a link between childhood depression
and poverty. The brain’s hippocampus, which assists learning
— and amygdala, which helps emotion — are key in a child’s development. These two organs are connected differently
in the brain’s of impoverished children than children of higher income families. Kids who were poor during their preschool
years are likely to show signs of depression around age 9. Another factor that needs to be taken into
account is that children are like sponges. Anything they hear or see they will soak up. Have you ever said a curse word around a child? It doesn’t end well. Unfortunately, the same goes for clinical
depression. For instance, if a child has a parent suffering
with the illness, they will almost certainly witness them going through the motions. This may lead the child to perceive depression
not as a mental illness, but a normal way of behaving. So in a way, genetics are not the only way
a child can inherit depression from a parent. While we’re on the topic of demographics,
what about gender? Roughly 42% of women are vulnerable to hereditary
depression. As for men, about 29%. Why such a difference? Studies conclude that the definitive factor
is hormones in women that cause them to become depressed, especially during childbirth. When it comes to hormones in men, it’s important
to mention something known as Andropause. Ever heard of it? Described as the lowering of testosterone,
this phase happens in a man’s 40’s and 50’s. During the process, decreasing levels of hormones
will cause a man to experience depression symptoms. This includes lack of energy, inability to
concentrate and indifference to that which surrounds you. The discussion about brain chemicals leads
into yet another factor worth mentioning, serotonin. Man, we’ve been throwing a lot of big words
at you. Serotonin is often described as the “feel
good” chemical that exists in your brain. Your mind’s neurotransmitter — another
hefty word — serotonin acts has a communication device that send signals from one part of
your brain to the next. The biggest issue presented by serotonin is
that one must have a healthy amount in order to feel decent. Picture serotonin as water, and your brain
as a pool. When the pool is full, you are going to feel
refreshed and fulfilled. But when the water level begins to decrease,
you’re going to feel increasingly more empty. Serotonin works a lot like that. Lower levels can cause your mood to decline
due to certain areas of your brain not receiving communication. This will eventually affect your appetite,
sleeping habits, sexual desire and social behaviour. But what lowers serotonin? Actually quite a few things. Increasing levels of stress can greatly affect
your serotonin. If you are dealing with life’s problems
head on, you are going to feel mentally drained. From here the problems can pile on. A poor diet can disrupt production of neurotransmitters,
which are made directly from proteins you ingest. An unhealthy diet deprives you of crucial
vitamins and minerals one needs to function. Scarfing down fast food is often a quick way
to relieve stress. The next time you’re standing in line ordering
a burger and fries, think about how it’s going to make you feel. If you’re on a steady diet of sugary food,
and not balancing it out with anything nutritious, you’re mental health can come into question. Another element that can affect serotonin
is drug use. This of course covers a wide variety of drugs. Not just the hard stuff. Nicotine, alcohol and caffeine might stimulate
you, but in the eyes of your neurotransmitters, they’re practically super villains. These three substances stop neurotransmitters
from producing almost immediately after digestion. Antidepressants and other medications also
damage cells. So before taking a prescription, make sure
your using it correctly. But what about genetics? Can they be responsible for lowering your
serotonin. As it turns out, there is actually something
known as the serotonin transporter gene, which allows protein to produce in your brain. Remember the amygdala, one of your favourite
words? Well those born with a shorter form of the
serotonin gene may have their amygdala affected.. causing depression. How many people in your family suffer from
depression? Do you agree with the evidence presented? Sound off in the comment section and keep
watching Bestie.