There have been researches which show that depression may get passed on to children from parents. However, a new study has showed that the structure of corticolimbic system, or brain circuitry, is more likely to be transferred by mothers to daughters than to sons, or from fathers to any child irrespective of gender.
Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) conducted the study on 35 families to conclude that a daughter is more likely to inherit depression from her mother. They linked it to the corticolimbic system, which manages and regulates emotions and plays a role in various mood disorders, including depression.
However, lead scientist Fumiko Hoeft, associate professor of psychiatry at UCSF, said, “The finding does not mean that mothers are necessarily responsible for their daughters’ depression.” Hoeft added, “Mother-daughter transmission is just one piece of it. Many factors play a role in depression – genes that are not inherited from the mother, social environment and life experiences, to name only three.”
The study published in the Journal of Neuroscience says that the relation between mothers’ and daughters’ corticolimbic grey matter volume (GMV) was comparatively greater than that between mothers and sons, fathers and sons, and fathers and daughters, reported the dailymail.co.uk.
Depression leading cause of disability
The latest finding thus reinforces the previous studies which said that women are nearly twice as likely as men to suffer from depression.
Depression is a common mental disorder and according to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 350 million people of all ages suffer from depression, and it is the leading cause of disability worldwide.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has estimated that 19 million Americans suffer from depression. And, 10 to 25 percent of American women, as well as 5 to 12 percent of men, will become clinically depressed at some time during their lives, the CDC says.
Looking at the enormity of the problem, for the first time, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force has advised that physicians screen all pregnant and postpartum women and elderly adults for signs of depression. General physicians have been asked to treat those afflicted by the disorder with antidepressants, refer them to psychotherapy or do both, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.
The step was taken after recent studies showed that maternal mental illness may be a deeper problem than thought. According to a previous New York Times report, some researchers have said that postpartum depression which can begin during pregnancy can harm the children if it’s not attended to.
Another study at the University of Western Australia, published in 2015 in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, found higher chance of depression in daughters born to older mothers. The report in the MedlinePlus said they also faced higher risk of stress and anxiety. The researchers at the University of Western Australia revealed that daughters of mothers aged 30-34 demonstrated a higher level of stress at age 20 compared to daughter of younger mothers. And it said that the case with mothers, older than 35, was worse as their daughters demonstrated much higher levels of stress, anxiety and depression. However, a mother’s age at the time of birth had no implication on sons, and there was no effect on either daughters or sons of the father’s age at the time of birth, the findings said.
Doctors advise to start the treatment of depression as early as possible. The treatment depends on the condition of the patient. Antidepressants are commonly used, though it has many side effects. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most widely prescribed antidepressants with fewer side effects. Moreover, its overdose is also considered less serious. Antidepressants are given in combination with psychotherapy which is also called talk therapy or psychological therapy.
Whatever be the cause of depression, be it in men or women, help and treatment are always available. Sovereign Mental Health Services offers the best treatment available for various mental disorders, dual diagnosis and addictions. If you or your loved one is battling depression, call our 24/7 helpline number 866-954-0529 anytime or chat online to seek further information.