Asperger Syndrome is an Autism Spectrum Disorder (or Pervasive Developmental Disorder) characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction along with restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviors and interests. Those with Asperger Syndrome, or AS, may exhibit a lack of empathy for their peers, clumsiness, and atypical use of language, though none of these symptoms are required for a diagnosis.1
The pain of coming to terms with having Asperger's is still very real for me right now. There is a tremendous sense of grief. Grief for all that I suffered through to try to be "normal" and grief for how short of "normal" I always have been. There is also great relief to know that I am not crazy and that not everything can be traced back to an abusive past in the sense that some of what I experience is not choice/emotional but neurons/physical. The greatest challenge I face right now is trying to figure out which is which. This is not easy.
One of the most common side effects of a number of antidepressant medications is loss of sex drive. I could forgive our friends at fine companies such as Eli Lilly, Bristol Meyers Squibb, and Pfizer if dry mouth, irritability, disrupted sleep patterns, loss of appetite, sloth, and social phobia were the sole issues related to the medications I take on a daily basis. However, it is the sex thing I find most challenging.
Anhedonia is the technical term for the inability to experience joy. When people are in the depths of depression, nothing touches them, not the most intensely pleasurable activities, not the most familiar comforts. They are emotionally frozen. In this state, people either have to get professional help or simply wait for weeks or months until the depression lifts by itself; nothing is going to make them feel better.
Schizophrenia is a mental illness which affects one person in every hundred.
Depression is perhaps the most common of all mental health problems, currently felt to affect one in every four adults to some degree. Depression is a problem with mood/feeling in which the mood is described as sad, feeling down in the dumps, being blue, or feeling low. While the depressed mood is present, evidence is also present which reflects the neurochemical or "brain chemistry" aspects of depression with the depressed individual experiencing poor concentration/attention, loss of energy, accelerated thought/worry, sleep/appetite disturbance, and other physical manifestations. When this diagnosis is present, the individual will exhibit at least five of the following symptoms during the depressive periods:
"Depression runs in the Family" or "It's in your genes" are commonly given as causes of depression. If you are suffering from depression, being told you are "bound to get it", can be a very unhelpful statement to have tossed at you. After having looked at the information let's try to answer the question," Is Depression Hereditary?"
There is evidence that some forms of depression have a genetic basis, in particular manic depression, or bipolar disorder. However, with those two exceptions most depression is learned, not genetic. Because depression has to do with styles of thinking, behavior and interpersonal relationships, depressive styles can be passed down in families. So if you had a parent or close family member who suffered from depression you will have learned the basic behavior models from them.
Depression can occur, or be triggered by an existing medical condition as well. The physical effects of depression are real and often very debilitating, but only around 10-18% of depressions are set off by another medical condition. And as depressing as some diseases are, they don't automatically cause depression. Pain, for example, can cause an inability to enjoy daily activities, disturb sleep patterns, make life less pleasant, and cause general feelings of hopelessness. Some food allergies, when undiagnosed cause low energy levels, interrupted sleep, and increased worry as the person tries to figure out what is wrong with them. But they do not cause depression.
To fully understand the link between physical causes of depression, and depression itself, a close examination of the thinking styles associated with depressive behavior must be made. It's similar to the age old question, "What came first, the chicken or the egg?" In this case It's, "What came first the depression or the pain?" Are you depressed because you are in pain, or are you in pain because you are depressed? A person with a family history of depression may answer that question totally differently then a person with no depression history.
So, to answer the question, "Is Depression Hereditary?" the answer is no. Someone may be predisposed towards depression if members of their family suffered with it, but this however does not guarantee they too will become depressed. Learned behavior does play a role, but learned behavior is a choice we as adults can alter.
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