​​​​Is Depression Genetic?

Is depression genetic or hereditary? Can depression be in your genes?

While there are genetic factors that can contribute to depression, depression is not a genetic condition.

In other words, you are never doomed to depression because of your heredity. On the contrary, you can become and remain depression-free regardless of what your genes are, and regardless of whether there’s any history of depression in your family.

This is important to understand, because if you think that you can’t help being depressed due to your genes or heredity, you will predictably struggle with depression.

Your thinking causes depression, not genes

Remember, while a variety of different factors can contribute to depression, what actually causes depression is your thinking. Indeed, your thinking determines whether you’re depressed or not, never your genes.

To appreciate this, recognize that if some evil person wanted to make you severely depressed, he wouldn’t care in the slightest about your genes or heredity. Instead, he would take steps to make you miserable, until you began thinking “My life is awful”, and “I can’t go on anymore”.

It is at that point that you would become severely depressed, and it would be due to your thinking, not your genes. Indeed, your genes would be completely irrelevant in this scenario.

Furthermore, if you wanted to come out of this depressed state, your genes would also be completely insignificant. Instead, what would matter would be improving your thinking, lifestyle, and circumstances, but especially your thinking.

After all, if you started thinking that your life was good and worth living, and that you couldn’t wait to see what the future holds, this is what would ultimately set you free from your depressed condition and make you feel happy and depression-free. Not your genes or heredity.

Do you blame depression on your heredity?

Unfortunately, many peope think that they can’t help being depressed because of their genes and heredity.

This bleak view can be reinforced by therapists who ask whether there’s any history of depression in the family, as if this is a particularly meaningful or relevant question.

Here’s the thing: about 10% of the U.S. population each year experiences depression, so you are virtually guaranteed to have some sort of history of depression in your family. In fact, it would be shocking and amazing if no one in your family had ever experienced depression.

Furthermore, if you were raised by a depressed parent, it doesn’t matter so much what genes they passed you. Instead, what matters is if they taught you to think in stressful, depressing ways, and if so, to make sure that you think differently for your own good.

Unfortunately, though, many people don’t appreciate this, and they make the common mistake of blaming their genetic makeup for their depressed condition. When they conclude that they can’t help but suffer from depression due to their heredity, they officially doom themselves to depression.

The trouble with thinking you can’t help being depressed because of your genes

Remember, the single biggest thought that will keep you depressed is the belief that you can’t get rid of depression for whatever reason.

This extremely negative thought makes you feel powerless and helpless, and it creates a great deal of stress and anxiety, especially as you look at a future that you think will be filled with a never-ending struggle with depression. All of this makes you feel worse and more depressed.

On top of this, you have no energy or motivation to improve your thinking and lifestyle to get rid of depression for good. In this case, you think it doesn’t matter since you think your genes are making you depressed, and as a result you stay depressed due to a lack of taking action.

In such a way, the belief that you can’t get rid of depression becomes a self-fulfilling belief, although in this case it can unfortunately “confirm” for you that your heredity is making you depressed whether you like it or not.

So if you’ve been thinking that you can’t stop being depressed because of your genetic heredity, right now is the time to appreciate the effect this belief has had on your life, and to no longer think this way for your own good. Instead, appreciate you can stop being depressed regardless of your genes.

What role do genes play in depression?

Genes can play a role in contributing to depression, but the role they play often gets grossly overvalued and blown out of proprtion.

Remember, there can be different factors that contribute to depression, but even if those factors are present, it doesn’t mean you’ll become depressed.

For example, lack of sunlight, exercise, and restful sleep are contributing factors to depression. If those factors are present, we can say that you are more likely to become depressed, although you still have a good chance of not becoming depressed.

After all, your thinking trumps everything, and if you continue to have a very positive, upbeat mental attitude, where you feel good about yourself and your future, you definitely will not become depressed, even if those factors are present.

Similary, genes can be a contributing factor to depression, like if you have a gene that leads to less effective seretonin function, for example. With such genes, we can say that you are more likely to become depressed, although you still have a good chance of that not happening.

Once again, your thinking trumps everything. Furthermore, you can take steps to guarantee that you will not become depressed, even if you happen to have such genes.

How to make depression predictions irrelevant

You can suffer from more stress and anxiety, if you think you might be more likely to become depressed due to your genes. So, right now, you’re going to learn why you don’t have to worry about your genes at all, if you just focus on improving your thinking and lifestyle.

To understand this, I’d say you have a 10% chance of being depressed, if I didn’t know anything else about your situation. If I learned you have genes associated with higher rates of depression, I’d say you now have a 15% chance of being depressed.

But if learned you’re completely free of stressful negative thoughts, and every day you think positively about how good your life is, and you also get plenty of sunlight, exercise, omega 3, restful sleep, and enjoyable social interactions, I’d now give you 0% chance of being depressed.

On the other hand, if you told me you had the healthiest genes in the world, but every day you thought about how meaningless and pointless your life was, and you barely got any sunlight, exercise, omega 3, restful sleep, or enjoyable interactions, I’d give you 100% chance of being depressed.

The insight here is that thinking and lifestyle always trumps genes. So if you just focus on improving your thinking and lifestyle, you don’t have to worry at all about whether your genes make you “more likely” to be depressed or not, since you have made such predictions irrelevant.

Become and remain depression-free regardless of your genes

There is absolutely no study in the world that says your genes or heredity doom you to depression.

In fact, it’s the exact opposite. Every study in the world confirms that you can become and remain depression-free regardless of your genes and heredity.

As you have learned, this is because your thinking and lifestyle are always more important and powerful than your genes and heredity.

By appreciating this, you have far more confidence and peace of mind, and you naturally feel a lot better about your situation and your future. This positive emotional state already helps lift you out of depression in and of itself.

Furthermore, by focusing on improving your thinking and lifestyle, you’re naturally focused on doing things that will help you become and remain depression-free. The predictable result is that you get rid of depression for good faster and easier.

For all these reasons, appreciate that you are guaranteed to become and remain depression-free, regardless of your genes and heredity, just by focusing on improving your thinking and lifestyle.

Next: Is Depression A Disorder? →

You are here:

Section 6 Lessons:

  1. Why seeing symptoms of depression makes you depressed
  2. Does depression ever go away?
  3. Is depression a disease?
  4. Is depression genetic?
  5. Is depression a disorder?
  6. Am I depressed or not?

Next Section In The Depression-Free Course:

Section 7

About the author

Hi, I'm Dave Fonvielle, the founder of Always Greater. On this website I teach you step by step how to be happier and more successful achieving your goals, whether it's completing a small personal to do task, like doing the dishes, or a large business goal, like launching a new product. Get my free 3 Tiny Habits for Being Happier & More Successful training for all of this right here.