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Saint Paul, MN
A 20-year-old female asked:

can suicide/ depression run in the family?

4 doctor answers11 doctors weighed in
Dr. Pamela Pappas
Psychiatry 42 years experience
Yes: Mood disorders and suicidal behavior can & do run in families. This does not mean all family members will automatically have difficulty though. There's a great deal you can do to keep yourself healthy -- such as good diet, exercise, rest/sleep, creative outlets, loving friendships, etc. You can also stay away from alcohol and drug abuse, as those can tilt the balance into illness.
Dr. Alan Ali
Dr. Alan Alianswered
Psychiatry 32 years experience
Suicide inheritance: Sure. Genetics play a role in major depression & mood disorders.
Dr. Seth Kunen
Clinical Psychology 45 years experience
Sure: Bipolar & depression are often seen across generations, suggesting a genetic basis. But, families also behaviorally "inherit" coping skills & levels of "differentiation" from prior generations. A person w/ mood problems may be attracted to & marry a person w/ mood problems (same level of differentiation), enhancing the chances that their children will have mood probs. Makes it look all genetic!
Dr. Aaron Ament
Psychiatry 58 years experience
DEPENDS: Some kinds of depression and proclivities for depression are genetically based. Some have to do with environment - abuse, abandonment, neglect, etc. Sometimes genetics and environment - but almost all can be helped. Anyone depressed or concerned really should get an expert to help them work it out.

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Last updated May 8, 2016

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