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A 41-year-old member asked:

Are eating disorders and depression genetic?

2 doctor answers7 doctors weighed in
Dr. Pamela Pappas
Psychiatry 42 years experience
Genetics: Yes, genetics plays a significant role in both these conditions . . . But is far from the only factor. There are many environmental influences also. Also you can do much to help yourself and avoid these outcomes, even if you may have certain genetic inheritance.
Dr. Cara Nixon
Clinical Psychology 8 years experience
Nature vs Nurture: You can inherit genes that make you susceptible to ED or increase your risk, but you may also be observing disorder behavior & maladaptive coping skills. Example, if you are at risk for depression due to parent's history, you might have observed their manner of coping through the use of food. Due to genetics & observed behavior you might also be diagnosed w/depression and/or eating disorder.

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A 42-year-old member asked:

Are any types of eating disorders genetic?

1 doctor answer2 doctors weighed in
Dr. Mark Reynolds
Psychiatry 33 years experience
Somewhat yes: Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder are thought to have a significant genetic component. The specifics are not yet understood. These conditions, are "complex" genetic conditions in which a number of genes interact with each other and the environment to result in both traits that protect and/or make one vulnerabie to the condition.
A 34-year-old member asked:

Are there genetic causes of eating disorders?

1 doctor answer3 doctors weighed in
Dr. Alan Ali
Dr. Alan Alianswered
Psychiatry 32 years experience
Eating DO: The specific causes are unknown. It is however believed to be combination of biological (such as genetic predisposition) , psychological (such as self-image distortions), &/or environmental factors (such as social isolation, early maltreatment, cultural, peer pressure) . As i tell my patients, "genetics loads the gun, environment pulls the trigger".
A 44-year-old member asked:

Is eating disorders genetic?

2 doctor answers2 doctors weighed in
Dr. Nancy Mellow
Internal Medicine 44 years experience
No, BUT....: There is no specific gene that we know of that can be inherited. However, the frequent occurrence in close relatives may be due to related emotional disorders that may have a hereditary component (anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, addictions, depression) or conditions within the family (sexual abuse, eating behaviors, etc).

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Last updated May 8, 2016

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