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Mental illness is on the rise, and the question of whether or not it’s a genetic illness commonly arises. Are mental illness pre-determine through genetics in some way? Studies do show that, indeed, mental disorders appear to have strong genetic links.

According to Mental Health America (MHA), 1 in 5 Adults have a mental health condition. That’s over 40 million Americans; more than the populations of New York and Florida combined. Additionally, youth mental health is worsening. Rates of youth with severe depression increased from 5.9% in 2012 to 8.2% in 2015. Even with severe depression, 76% of youth are left with no or insufficient treatment. Having a close relative with a psychiatric disorder is usually the most predictable risk factor for developing that disorder yourself, but the relationship is not inevitable. Even identical twins (who have identical genes) as often as not do not develop the same psychiatric disorder.

The experts and doctors at Brain Forest boost the brain to its functional best with neurofeedback and proper nutrition, and provide drug-free services for those that suffer from all sorts of symptoms caused by improper brain function.

The brain is the most complicated thing in the known universe. It contains more than 100 billion neurons (equal to the number of stars in our galaxy), each firing dozens to hundreds of times a second, and connected to each other by 240 trillion synapses. There is no way that our 20,000 genes could in any simple top-/down fashion instruct the intricate wiring and firing of so many connections. The miracle is that this complex system usually works as well as it does.

Finding out whether certain mental disorders can be inherited is important for a lot of reasons. For one, it helps people with those disorders make informed choices about whether they want to have children. For another, it may help parents understand their kids’ behavior early on; for example, being a very anxious child has strong links to serious mental disorders later in life, like depression. It provides answers to sufferers who might feel isolated or bizarre, and it also raises the possibility of a cure — though that’s a long way off.

Many mental disorders may actually have a genetic basis, but we’re a significant distance from understanding all the genes involved. These four are the ones with the most research to prove their heredity — but they’re by no means the only ones.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Researchers looked at OCD sufferers around Baltimore and Washington, and determined that there seemed to be a really strong connection between having an OCD family member (or several) and developing OCD yourself, usually at a young age.


Schizophrenia is one of the toughest psychiatric problems to diagnose and treat, but it’s increasingly believed that there has to be an underlying chemical imbalance in the brain in order for it to develop — and that the imbalance can be inherited from relatives. The numbers don’t lie: a parent with schizophrenia gives a child a 40 percent chance of developing it too, even if they aren’t in the parent’s care, and if your identical twin suffers from it, your chances rise to 50 percent.

Bipolar Disorder

Just like with schizophrenia, a chemical imbalance is probably the key here, but a lot of environmental factors seem to contribute to bipolar disorder’s appearance as well. Heredity does, however, seem to cast a high risk: having a twin with bipolar disorder increases your own risk of it to 89-93 percent.


You probably knew this one: if a close relative is depressed, you’re likely to be depressed, too. Depression is a huge and multi-faceted disorder with a really strong environmental component, but its genetic component is too big to ignore. The no-single-gene problem rears its head again, but the prevalence of depression among relatives seems to point to one thing: genes are making us sad.

Are you experiencing mental disorders? The experts and doctors at Brain Forest provide drug-free services for those that suffer from all sorts of symptoms caused by improper brain function. We all experience negative thoughts and emotions or feel a little anxious every now and again, but when those symptoms persist and your brain gets “locked” into functioning in these stressed states, your brain creates new pathways that make it more and more difficult to return to our balanced, neutral position. Depressed or anxious becomes the new normal.

We use advanced qEEG technology to identify and quantify the brain activity that is causing your depression or anxiety. We then create personalized plan to help retrain your brain back to its comfortable state.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms of depression and anxiety, we would love to help you. Call or email us today for your FREE CONSULTATION for the opportunity to teach the brain how to break out of these involuntary habits, allowing a shift back into natural, contented state: (317) 288-9828.