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Mental Illness

Genetics and Mental Illnesses

Mental illness refers to a wide range of mental health
conditions (also called mental health disorders). Such disorders include
anxiety disorders, eating disorders, depression, schizophrenia,
obsessive-compulsive disorders, addictive behaviors, and more.

Many people believe they have mental illnesses and health concerns from
time to time, but when it impacts your daily life, including work, school, and
relationships is when one should seek professional help. Most mental illnesses and issues can
be resolved with a combination of therapy and, at times, medication.

The age-old question commonly comes up, “are mental
illnesses inherited?” The easy answer is yes and no. This article will
further divulge the truth behind it.

Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of mental illnesses can vary from
person to person, depending on the disorder and other outside factors. Many
symptoms can affect one’s thoughts, moods, and everyday behaviors. Common
symptoms include the following:

  • Inability to cope with stress
  • Low energy
  • Paranoia or hallucinations
  • Drug/ alcohol use
  • Exhibiting anger or hostility
  • Violence
  • Withdrawal from social situations
  • Excessive fear or worry
  • Suicidal ideations

 

When to seek help from a Professional

 If you have any of the above-mentioned signs or symptoms, it’s highly recommended to visit your primary care physician or mental health professional. Most mental illnesses just simply won’t go away if left untreated. Sometimes, that can even make them worse.

Genetics

Mental illnesses, as many of us know, can be caused by a variety of factors, both inherited and external. For example, as they are not
causal, they are correlated. Mental illness is much more common in people whose
blood relatives also have a mental illness. Genes may or may not increase one’s
risk of developing a mental illness, but it’s not guaranteed. Additionally,
environmental factors including stressors, toxins, or exposure to certain
situations while inside the womb also can be linked to mental illnesses. Also,
studies conducted on identical and fraternal twins have found that several
psychiatric illnesses can manifest an inherited risk. If one twin has a mental
illness, there is an increased likelihood of the other developing the disorder.

Risk Factors

Certain factors pose more of a risk than others in developing a mental illness, including stressful situations, financial
problems, death, or divorce. Additionally, those who deal with ongoing medical
conditions or traumatic experiences are also more likely to develop mental
illnesses. Therefore it’s so important to have a strong support system that can
assist you if you need help, even if you may not know you need it.

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