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Will I Inherit My Parents’ Mental Health Disorders?

Mental health is just as important as physical health because the brain is the most crucial organ in the body as it manages everything else. It also impacts daily life and the relationships a person has. 

There is still a stigma regarding mental health, and this stigma often creates anxiety and shame for someone with a mental health disorder. But in recent years, there has been more advocating for mental health awareness and less judgment with these disorders. Because of this, people who struggle with mental health issues should not feel alone or isolated. 

That being said, some mental health disorders are hereditary and there may be a family predisposition for certain disorders. Here is some information about families and mental health.

What Are Some Common Hereditary Mental Health Disorders?

The most common hereditary mental health disorders are autism, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, and schizophrenia. Some of these have similar symptoms. Much research has gone into mental health disorders and how they may be genetic to understand better how they work and how they come about in someone’s life. 

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), research has found a link between all 5 of these mental health disorders in DNA chromosomes. This link has led to a better understanding of how these mental health disorders work and how they are formed. Some people may have the genes but may not have the mental health disorder because some disorders require a trigger to activate. For example, schizophrenia often does not appear until around the age of 21. It also can remain dormant until a traumatic event or a dramatic change happens in someone’s life

Nature vs. Nurture

Some mental health disorders are not always caused by genetics. Some disorders come from how a person was raised and they could be showing behaviors learned from their parents or other family members. One of the critical parts of childhood development is the child observing their parents’ behaviors and seeing how others react to that behavior.

The environment that a child lives and grows up in can also have an impact on the child’s development and mental well-being. An increase in external stressors can include environments like school, family and friends, and home-life. These stressors can increase the likelihood of someone getting a mental health disorder. 

A common debate in psychology pertains to what aspects of our personalities are genetic (nature) and what parts are caused by our environments (nurture). Since both internal and external factors affect our personalities and behaviors, each individual has a different possibility as to how they become who they are. Most psychologists have agreed that it is a combination of both, but it is like a scale, and one side may be heavier than the other depending on how that person grew up and their genetic makeup.

How to Look for Signs of a Disorder

Some disorders vary in their severity or appear on a spectrum. For example, Autism has a spectrum and someone on that spectrum could live without assistance or may need help in their day-to-day life. 

Here are some common signs that could indicate that someone is struggling with a mental health disorder:

  • Sleep or appetite changes
  • Mood changes
  • Withdrawal
  • Drop in functioning
  • Problems thinking
  • Increased sensitivity
  • Apathy
  • Feeling disconnected
  • Illogical thinking
  • Nervousness
  • Unusual behavior

It is essential to recognize the symptoms so that there is a better idea of if and when someone needs to seek help. Some common symptoms are mood swings, changes in behavior, drug abuse, and a disconnection from their feelings. Knowing what things are normal and what is not can help get a better grasp on how to go about managing and/or treating a mental health disorder. 

What to Do If You Think You Have a Mental Health Disorder

If you think that you might be suffering from a mental health disorder, it is important to seek help. By seeking help, you can better manage it and/or treat it to live a better and healthier lifestyle.  

You are not alone, many people suffer from mental health disorders, but many do not get help because of fear of judgment. But no one in the mental health field is going to judge you and they want to help you in any way they can. They will help find the root cause of the mental health disorder and what may have triggered it.

There is a stigma when it comes to mental health disorders, but in recent years, there has been more awareness and more advocacy for mental health. Some mental health disorders are hereditary, but they could also come from how the person could have been raised or their environment. Research has found a common link in the top 5 mental health disorders in the U.S. This has helped psychologists better understand these disorders and how they come to be. There are some common symptoms that the top 5 mental health disorders have, but if you or someone you know seems not to be themselves, it is vital to seek help to improve your or their well-being. RECO Intensive care is located in Delray Beach, Florida, and offers a range of treatments and resources for help with mental health disorders, as well as addition. Our caring, trained staff will work with you to provide you the best treatment for your unique needs. For more information, call RECO Intensive care at (561) 464-6533.


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