Does depression/suicide run in families?

Discussion in 'I Have a Question...' started by Dave_N, Sep 22, 2008.


Do you think suicide/depression runs in families?

  1. Yes

    53 vote(s)
  2. No

    7 vote(s)
  3. Maybe

    17 vote(s)
  4. What a silly question to ask

    0 vote(s)
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  1. Dave_N

    Dave_N Guest

    Hi everybody. I once heard the theory that depression/suicide can run in families, because emotions can be transferred as well as physical traits. So I wanted to see what you guys think, based on your experiences.

    Do you think that suicide and depression may run in families making some people more prone to suicidal thoughts etc?
  2. BioHomocide

    BioHomocide Well-Known Member

    I chose maybe because well... I don't fully believe that emotions can be transfered from parents to kids genetically.

    The only reason depression could in my opinion transfer from a parent to offspring is through the surroundings that child is put in. Sad parents will cause their children to be depressed. Like violent parents will cause their kids to be violent.

    Children's minds feed of their surroundings.
    Happy surroundings cause happiness and Depressing surroundings cause depression.
    All together it depends on how you raise your child.
  3. jam1e

    jam1e Guest

    My father suffered from depression, (before he died) and mental health problems as did his brother, i suffer from it along with both my sisters.
    Yet nothing on my mums side????:sad:
  4. jam1e

    jam1e Guest

    "Like violent parents will cause their kids to be violent."

    I don't agree with this part, my father was violent but neither myself or sisters have passed this on. Infact i am strongly against it, and will rarely argue with my wife infront of our children.
  5. Spam.

    Spam. Guest

    Yes, I believe there is a genetic part of depression, and there will also be nurture factors too.

    As for suicide, it can be 'catching'.

    I guess it's a nature and nurture debate, really.
  6. aoeu

    aoeu Well-Known Member

    Depression isn't an emotion, I don't think, but that can be passed on through environment.

    I think that there can definitely be a genetic disposition to depression.

    My family has many, many, depressed people in it, and I don't think it was an issue of nurturing.
  7. Spearmint

    Spearmint Well-Known Member

    Um, yeah. Both of my parents are depressed, both of their parents on both sides were depressed, my mom's siblings, some of their kids, some of my dad's siblings, and some of their kids, etc, etc. If it doesn't run in the family, we're all seriously unlucky.
  8. ~Claire

    ~Claire Well-Known Member

    I'm sure it has been proven that it does.

    Going by my own experiences though nobody in my family has had any episodes/experiences of depression.
  9. abyss

    abyss Well-Known Member

    if its something that wasn't brought on by life experience then it is a genetic issue. most everything can be broken down to genetics. techinically, even if it is a disorder brought on by life experiences then its possible a pre-disposition to it was inherited genetically.

    otherwise, why would psycologist/psychiatrists always ask for family history?

    besides, most people suffering from depression or other disorders that lead to suicidal ideation can name at least one other person in their family tree that suffers from something similar.
  10. wastedmylife

    wastedmylife Well-Known Member

    I dont believe in genetics(for mental illness at least because I dont believe people are born with a mental illness), but I believe if you grow up in a messed up environment you are more likely to learn those actions as that is what you are taught, so in that regard I think it runs in families

    But I dont believe depression or suicide is a genetic trait that is passed down, I think it is a learned behavior
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 22, 2008
  11. Lethal Photography

    Lethal Photography Well-Known Member

    My parents and my one sister have depression. My other sister and I are bipolar. If it's not genetic, wow, what are the odds?
  12. wastedmylife

    wastedmylife Well-Known Member

    learned behavior, what is bi-polar really, like I said the symptoms are things we learn growing up, there are no bigger teachers and influencers on us then our parents
  13. bleach

    bleach Well-Known Member

    Funny how a majority of people agree that depression and suicidal tendencies run in families - but when there was a thread telling suicidal people to never have children, everyone became offended and hostile...

    Of course the truth should be transparent to anyone, but I guess most would rather live in denial than face the truth.
  14. The_Discarded

    The_Discarded Staff Alumni

    (sorry to digress from the thread's topic)

    'Cos it was damn near advocating eugenics.

    Achondroplasia (a form of dwarfism) runs in families. Should they never have children, too? Should we not let people whose mothers have had alzheimer's have children? Should we deny those with albinism children? Those are each inheritable and may be hurdles in their own rights.

    Should we deny everyone with any form of genetic quirk the opportunity to have children? It's not like their children will necessarily deal with everything they do.

    That post implied that all depressed/suicidal people are terrible parents and shouldn't have kids. Not only is that untrue, but it's unfair.

    This post asks if we think suicidal tendency and/or depression are/can be genetic.


    As for it, genes often determine which illnesses we, as people, are vulnerable to. Several studies show (I'd source it but I'm lazy; googl'it!) that one is more susceptible to depression if an immediate family member has had it as well. Depression in a parent doesn't doom the child/children to depression, but it may predispose the child to become depressed. If the child's domestic life is unsteady (which, I admit, happens a lot when the parents are depressed/suicidal themselves), that may also contribute to its onset.
  15. Dave_N

    Dave_N Guest

    Thanks for participating in this poll guys. I should also mention that no one in my family or any of my relatives have suffered from depression/suicidal thoughts. As far as I know anyhow. I think my sister is bipolar but she manages ok.
  16. Xenos

    Xenos Well-Known Member

    It's hard to say 'cause my parents are very good at hiding emotions, but knowing that I'm one of their children, I'd say yes.
  17. The_8th_Wonder

    The_8th_Wonder senior Member

    In my family no. There isn't one person besides me who has ever been depressed that I have known about.
  18. Dave_N

    Dave_N Guest

    Actually this isn't true. I just remembered that one of my cousins was depressed, due to living with her drunk of a father. She was even into self-harm, from what I've heard. But after moving out, she has recovered and has stopped self-harming. I think my sister might have also been depressed for a couple of years, but has since gotten better.
  19. bleach

    bleach Well-Known Member

    Well this is a whole 'nother argument, because unlike depression, those disorders you mentioned are entirely genetic. In general however, I think eugenics is a great idea. Especially because with modern technology, people with 'quirks ' do not have to be blocked from reproducing - gene engineering and artificial insemination can remove those quirks directly from the gametes. Or it would be possible if it weren't illegal...

    Well it varies. With bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, there are probably genetic factors that could be 'tweaked' to make them go away completely. Other types of depression are probably a combination of genetic and environment. Or maybe they aren't. There really are no clear answers.

    One thing that is clear, however, is that parents who are highly depressed tend to have children that are of the same mold. From my own pragmatic standpoint, that is all the info I need. I wouldn't make rules for anyone else's life, but if a child of mine would go through the same things I do, then I'm never having a child. The reality is easy to see.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 23, 2008
  20. The_Discarded

    The_Discarded Staff Alumni


    Someone's been reading a lot of dystopian literature!

    Although alzheimer's isn't, I'll grant you the part about the examples I mentioned being entirely genetic.

    Fair enough that you won't have kids, though. And that's your prerogative. Just like if others do, it's theirs.
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