Whether people become depressed after stressful or traumatic experiences can be influenced by their genes. Genetics plays its part in our lives from day one. The 5-HTT gene helps to control levels of serotonin, a brain chemical which passes messages between brain cells and affects mood . The 5-HTT gene comes in the short and the long form and everyone has the two versions. Those who have the two copies of short version and who have also mistreated as children, bullied, and in people who have certain medical conditions are more likely to suffer from depression.
In my work over the years I have found people who have been mistreated as children, have aspergers, dyslexia, dyscalcula and more, have thinking ‘patterns’ which are more negative about themselves and others in many areas. The research by the Journal Archives of General Psychiatry states “The analysis gives a very clear answer: the ‘short’ variant of the serontonin transporter does make people more sensitive to the effects of adversity’ ( Rudolf Uher, Psychiatrist at the Institute of Psychiatry, London). The research was carried out at the University of Michigan on a sample of nearly 41,000 people from 54 previous studies. Other research on bullied children was carried out at Duke University in Durham.
People with a genetic predisposition to depression and anxiety will find psychotherapy and/or medication helpful. This often helps prevent long-term relapse and is a useful preventative measure. My guess is that even anticipating more than the usual stress, (the anticipatory anxiety) is also due to the 5-HTT gene. Its like having a mind prophylactic for the future; CBT often works on our thoughts and it is my experience that the thoughts and feelings brought up in those with the 5-HTT gene is one which needs working on. CBT gives the tools for relapse prevention and long-term growth. The good thing is there is a solution and something that can be done about it.
One response to “How thinking can be in our genes – 5-HTT gene, depression and anxiety”
Interesting and does offer possibilities for long-term prevention