The Heritability of Mental Illness

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The Heritability of Mental Illness

Summary:
– genetic testing for the risk of metal illness could be helpful to its management
– it is known that cancer & heart disease run in families
Q – can variations in the brain be explained by genetics?
A – it is increasingly being found as “Yes” by scientists of “genomic psychiatry” (as part of the worldwide grouping of 300 independent geneticists known as the Psychiatric Genomic Consortium – this involves sharing their data
– what about Nature / Nurture interaction as we know both are important
– depression: risk of developing is 40% heritable (if parent has depression, you have a 2 to 3 x greater risk of developing the disorder)
– Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, Autism & ADHD: risk of developing is 70 to 85% heritable
– Schizophrenia: specific genetic variations have been found (due to SNIPs – single nucleatidepolymorphisms – part of the genetic code – combination of SNIPs determines the percentage of risk of conducting a disorder – it does not mean it is only a modest chance of developing a mental illness – “genetics is not destiny” – it is not predictive, but merely advises a genetic predisposition)
– it is believed this genomic psychiatry will assist in diagnosis quicker
– NOTE: there are 1500 symptom presentation types of depression
– depression is an irrational feeling:
– you feel alone
– you feel worthless
– You feel guilty
– You believe no one else can understand it
– You believe everyone else is leading a better life than you
– you believe there is nothing you can do – or that anyone else can say – to get out of it
– you blame yourself for getting down
– There is a feeling of cyclical inevitability – that this is how your life has to be & that there is no way of getting out of it
– Scientists have found nine genes which are linked to depression
– some people say that knowing this hops them to cope with having depression & to treat symptoms as they would for any other illness – to do something about the depression
– Schizophrenia manifests itself typically in the late teens and early 20s (psychosis, hallucinations, hearing voices)
– Eating Disorders are 50 to 60% heritable (Anorexia Nervosa has the highest death rate & no. 1 cause of death in 16 to 24 year old females)
– person interviewed notes we live in a time where we talk about mental health
– genome work will also assist in the development of pharmacological treatments

Source: ABC RN All in the Mind podcast | date: 30 October 206

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