Family history of depression

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Family history of depression

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Depression really does run in families. There's a very clear genetic component. So if you had depression as a parent, or if your parent had depression, if there was a grandparent with depression, it does increase the risk. What we know is if you have one parent with depression, your chance of having depression is about 25%. If you had two parents with depression, it goes up to about 75%. But even with identical twins, if one twin has depression, there's about a 75% chance that the other twin will, but it's not 100%. So it's not purely genetics, it's also what happens in your early environment and stress, and your individual personality that you develop. So the answer is that depression does run in families – there is a very clear genetic component that seems to exist.

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David Fassler, MD

Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist

David Fassler, MD, is a child and adolescent psychiatrist practicing in Burlington, Vermont. A graduate of Yale University School of Medicine, he completed his training in adult psychiatry at the University of Vermont, and in child psychiatry at Cambridge Hospital, Harvard Medical School. He currently serves as clinical director of Otter Creek Associates, a multidisciplinary practice providing comprehensive mental health and substance abuse treatment services. Dr. Fassler is also a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Vermont, and the Director of Advocacy and Public Policy at the Vermont Center for Children, Youth and Families.

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