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Can mental health problems run in families?

(10 Posts)
Ambrosiacreamedrice Fri 18-Jan-13 20:29:03

I have four siblings. Three out of the five of us have different mental health problems. Is this just coincidence or is there some sort of genetic link? I have depression (and PTSD), my brother has schizophrenia and my sister has borderline personality disorder. My mother has said that she had a 'nervous breakdown' when her first husband left her, but has never gone into detail about what this involved. I know she blames herself for my brother and sister being ill, so I've never told her about my own health issues. We had a happy childhood. Is this just bad luck or something in our genetic make-up that predisposes us to poor mental health?

AlteredState Fri 18-Jan-13 20:46:10

Yes I believe there is some evidence for this and it is something the nhs talks of as fact

MrsDeVere Fri 18-Jan-13 20:51:14

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

WithanAnotE Fri 18-Jan-13 20:51:48

I 'think' the 'general consensus' is that you are at a higher inherent risk of MH issues if immediate family have MH conditions, but that risk may not materialise and one might not have any problems at all.
The risk exposure is reportedly higher depending on the particular MH issue/type.
Sorry, guess not that helpful hmm.

Ambrosiacreamedrice Fri 18-Jan-13 20:55:47

I also wondered if it can be a reaction to the stress of family members having mental health problems? I was 11 when my brother first got ill, and when my sister has her frequent hospitalisations I have to take on a lot of responsibility for her children and it was after one such episode that I first started to feel very depressed. Exploring the depression then led to a recognition of my PTSD symptoms. It's probably six of one and half a dozen of the other.

Crawling Fri 18-Jan-13 21:02:32

Two schools of thought one for biological ( that you are genetically predisposed to having a mi) and psychological ( that you develop mi in response to the stress caused by living with a mi relative)

amillionyears Fri 18-Jan-13 21:06:36

Do you want to talk about the something else as well?

Ambrosiacreamedrice Fri 18-Jan-13 21:11:03

About what caused the PTSD? I can't talk about that as it is my fault.

SminkoPinko Fri 18-Jan-13 21:19:45

Bipolar disorder and depression are thought to be highly genetically heritable, I think. And schizophrenia to an extent. I have worked with several people with personality disorders who had at least one parent with a major mental illness too and it is often posited that the parental "absence"/inability to meet their needs when unwell might contribute to the development of personality disorder. But I have wondered if they were genetically susceptible as well.

Ambrosiacreamedrice Fri 18-Jan-13 21:24:16

My mum was ill before she had us, so I don't think that would influence us. When my brother first got ill there was a lot of talk about it being down to exposure to organophosphates in sheep dip. It is interesting that we all have a different mental illness. Then again, diagnosing MI seems to be more of an art than a science.

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