Need help breaking free from addiction?
Call 24/7 for treatment options. Who Answers?

Can I Inherit Depression?


At the moment I am suffering from depression and have been for 4 years, what I want to know is can I inherit my mothers and natural fathers mental illness , as my natural father was when I last saw him 17 years ago and he beat my mum , he had some counseling but gave up . my mum was depressed at that time also . throughout my life I have find things very difficult and confusing. I’m still not better now but will it be with me forever. also I haven’t told my doctor about seeing weird thing all the time like a man’s head getting stretched. thank you

This Disclaimer applies to the Answer Below
  • Dr. Dombeck responds to questions about psychotherapy and mental health problems, from the perspective of his training in clinical psychology.
  • Dr. Dombeck intends his responses to provide general educational information to the readership of this website; answers should not be understood to be specific advice intended for any particular individual(s).
  • Questions submitted to this column are not guaranteed to receive responses.
  • No correspondence takes place.
  • No ongoing relationship of any sort (including but not limited to any form of professional relationship) is implied or offered by Dr. Dombeck to people submitting questions.
  • Dr. Dombeck, Mental Help Net and CenterSite, LLC make no warranties, express or implied, about the information presented in this column. Dr. Dombeck and Mental Help Net disclaim any and all merchantability or warranty of fitness for a particular purpose or liability in connection with the use or misuse of this service.
  • Always consult with your psychotherapist, physician, or psychiatrist first before changing any aspect of your treatment regimen. Do not stop your medication or change the dose of your medication without first consulting with your physician.

Depression is known to run in families, but the exact nature of the means of transmission is not known. There seems to be a genetic transmission of a particular temperament (personality trait) known as ‘Neuroticism’ that predicts depressive vulnerability. All persons have a certain amount of Neuroticism (the disposition to have unstable emotional responses); some have more and some have less. Persons with more neuroticism are generally more prone to anxiety and depression disorders. There is also some evidence that bipolar depression (manic-depression) runs in families. The other factor to consider is that depression and other problems are caused in otherwise normal persons when these persons have been abused as children, and or brought up by depressed, angry, or detached parents who don’t provide a loving environment (perhaps through little fault of their own) for their children. Certainly, your witnessing of your father beating your mother has not helped you.


p>The final thing to note is that, while it is normal enough to have morbid thoughts when depressed, your perception of “seeing weird things all the time like a man’s head getting stretched” possibly indicates that you are experiencing hallucinations. Hallucinations and delusions can occur in severe depression so this is not out of the range of possibility. Please do tell your doctor about these ‘sightings’ so that they can treat you for them properly. There are medications for this type of thing that can help very much, with very few side effects.

More "Ask Dr. Dombeck" View Columnists


Call the Helpline Toll-FREE

To Get Treatment Options Now.

1-888-993-3112 Who Answers? 100% Confidential

Get Help For You or a Loved One Here...

Click Here for More Info.


Call The Toll-FREE Helpline 24/7 To Get Treatment Options Now.

100% Confidential
Get Treatment Options From Your Phone... Tap to Expand