Are depression and anxiety genetic?

treatment for depression

Are depression and anxiety genetic?

Mental health disorders, including depression and anxiety, describes a wide variety of mental health issues — disorders affecting thinking, mood, and behavior. Examples of mental disorders include schizophrenia, addictive behaviors, and eating disorders. Many people experience mental health concerns occasionally. But a mental health “concern” morphs into a mental illness when persistent symptoms and signs create recurrent stress and affect a person’s ability to function. Studies have linked anxiety, depression, and other disorders to genetics.


The U.S. NLM says depression and anxiety are genetically linked. “Depression is known to run in families, suggesting that genetic factors contribute to the risk of developing this disease. However, research into the genetics of depression is in its early stages, and very little is known for certain about the genetic basis of the disease. Studies suggest that variations in many genes, each with a small effect, combine to increase the risk of developing depression.”


Decades of research concludes anxiety is genetic. For example, research from 2002, 2015, 2016, 2017 showed similar results:

  • Certain chromosomal characteristics are linked to phobias and panic disorder.
  • Twins with the RBFOX1 gene may be more likely to develop generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
  • Social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder are all linked to specific genes.
  • GAD can be inherited, and associated conditions are being linked to a number of different genes.


Depression and anxiety are a powerful one-two punch against humans physically and psychologically. They boast many of the same signs, including:

  • Sadness or unhappiness
  • Tiredness
  • Problems concentrating or focusing
  • Anger, irritability, frustration
  • Less interest in fun activities
  • Sleep trouble
  • Low energy
  • Desiring unhealthy foods
  • Anxiety
  • Isolation
  • Feeling restless, nervous, tense
  • A sensation of impending panic, danger, doom
  • Having a faster heart rate
  • Breathing quickly
  • Sweating, trembling
  • Trouble sitting still
  • Pre-occupation with everything except what’s happening at the present moment
  • Having trouble sleeping; too little, too much
  • Suffering gastrointestinal troubles
  • Having problems controlling fear
  • Experiencing the desire to avoid things triggering anxiety


Depression is officially a mental disorder, but it can also cause trouble for your body. Consider the following:

  • Central nervous system. It’s hard identifying cognitive changes in older adults because signs are dismissed as part of aging.
  • Digestive system problems, like irregular bowel movements – too often or infrequently.
  • Cardiovascular and immune systems. Depression and stress are intimately linked. Stress hormones boost heart rate and cause blood vessels to tighten, putting bodies in a persistent state of emergency. This may lead to heart disease.
  • Weight fluctuations. Someone who is depressed may alter their eating habits without realizing it.
  • Increased pain sensitivity.


Even if symptoms of anxiety are successfully managed, the illness can cause trouble for the human body. Over the short term, it boosts your breathing and heart rate, focusing blood flow to the brain, where it’s required. This is an extraordinary physical response to ready a person to deal with an intense situation. It also can cause headaches, breathing problems, and aches and pains without apparent physical cause.

If anxiety gets too severe, however, you may begin to feel nauseous and lightheaded. A disproportionate or relentless state of anxiety can result in devastating consequences on your mental and physical health.


Many scientists believe mental illness is derived from troubles with the interaction between neurons in the brain. For example, the amount of serotonin, a neurotransmitter, is less in people who experience depression. This finding resulted in the development of certain drugs for the illness. In recent years, studies have shown that dispensing psychedelic drugs like ketamine, either as an FDA-approved nasal spray or infusion therapy, can alter brain chemistry and manage symptoms of mental illness.


  • Track achievement and gratitude with a notebook
  • Work your assets
  • Experiment
  • Go ahead and laugh
  • Power-down your cellphone
  • There’s no shame in yawning
  • Unwind in a warm tub once a week
  • Be a visitor in your own city
  • Practice forgiveness
  • Smiling is acceptable
  • Mail out a thank you card
  • Accept mistakes


Traditionally, doctors or therapists would diagnose mental disorders, and then recommend normal treatment options of therapy and medicine. Today, research has shown the efficacy of alternative treatments, including the use of ketamine infusion therapy, that are shown to reduce symptoms of mental illness.


If you believe you suffer from a mental illness, seek help from a doctor or mental health professional as soon as you can. Symptoms, if left untreated, can lead to serious physical ailments and another mental health disorder, or even a combination of mental health disorders and severe physical ailments.

If you or a loved one has questions about the clinical use of ketamine to help treat the symptoms of depression or anxiety please contact us. We can help.