Everyone’s just a little bit crazy on the inside, or so the saying goes. If the statistics are anything to go by, then the old saying is rather accurate. Studies show that everyone has fought off a mental illness at least once, usually in the form of a mood disorder, like depression or social anxiety disorder. In fact, most people have experienced a bout with mood disorder at least once in their lives without even being aware of it, particularly in the case of people who have suffered from seasonal affective disorder. These problems are quite common and, in most cases, go by without causing any truly permanent damage to a person if they were only around for a short-term period. It is the long-term cases that tend to cause worry, especially in the case of a mood disorder like depression.
Recent studies have come to indicate that parents who have a mood disorder are likely to pass them on to their children. There is only a little evidence at the moment and the theory has no definite proof yet, but it is an idea that is gaining ground. It is known that bipolar disorder, a mood disorder like depression, is something that can be passed on genetically. Research conducted by Johns Hopkins has found that other disorders of this type are genetically linked to bipolar as well, with panic disorder, depression, and panic attacks being listed. The results have implied that, like bipolar, these conditions may be inherited genetically and might be triggered by the same genetic factors as bipolar. While the data does not point out which particular genome or strand is responsible, it is considered a great step forward in understanding and treating the problems.
Findings show that there was an increased risk for children of parents who had bipolar disorder, with later findings showing that they developed other types of mood disorder later in life. The risk, according to tests, increased if both parents were bipolar cases. This genetic link has many scientists and experts in the field of mental health intrigued, particularly because of the nature of what the study was observing. Symptoms of any sort of behavioral or mood disorder can vary drastically from person to person, even if the subjects are all from the same family. Some argue that while genetics may trigger or increase vulnerability to it, it cannot be the sole factor, nor can it be as important a component as some believe.
Another complication in ascertaining the genetic link comes in the form of overlapping symptoms. One disorder can manifest the symptoms of another in the same person, even if that person only has one. So someone that has bipolar can manifest symptoms similar to panic, but that is only bipolar that bears the appearance of panic, not panic disorder in itself. This has not only made it difficult for mental health professionals to ascertain what the problem they’re dealing with is, it has also made verifying the results of the study (if not the veracity of the study itself) very difficult. With very little way to ascertain the certainty of the results or the data that led to them, the genetic link remains speculation, even if further study is being considered.