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Nature vs Nurture – Depression Essay

Paper type: Essay Pages: 4 (808 words)

Views: 112

For years there has been an ongoing debate of nature versus nurture. Nature refers to genetics, inheritance and genes, and nurture refers to characteristics shaped by one’s environmental influences. For the purpose of this paper, the development of depression will be researched in terms of the nature versus nurture debate. Studies show that while some people are genetically predisposed to mood disorders, many people develop them through environmental factors. However, a different study looked at the relationship and interaction of nature and nurture.

Therefore, the development of depression can not be pinpointed to one just one specific cause; it can be developed through genetics, environmental influences, or a mixture of both. Mood disorders tend to run in families, which suggests that depression could be inherited.

Those with a first-degree relative (parent, sibling) with depression are three times more likely to become depressed than those without. Researchers studied identical twins with the same DNA. They found that if one twin had depression, the other twin had a 76 percent chance of developing it as well if they were raised together.

When the twins were raised apart, the other twin had a 67 percent chance of becoming depressed. These numbers are high enough to suggest that genetics do play a part in the development of depression. (Heimler, 2011) In a study lead by Dr Myrna Weissman, professor of epidemiology in psychiatry, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, and director of the Division of Epidemiology at the New York State Psychiatric Institute found that thinning of the brain cortex thinning can be linked to depression, because it ‘disrupts a person’s ability to pay attention to and make sense of social and emotional cues from others’. Researchers found that the offspring of those with depression had thinner cortexes than those with non-depressed parents. (Paddock, 2009)

This shows that depression can be inherited from parents or family members through genetics. It has been proven that things people experience can affect their state of mind. Depression often comes from traumatic life experiences, such as the illness or death of a loved one, socioeconomic issues, major life changes, or intense stress. Chronic stress is often linked to the development of depression. If a person is under continuous stress, it may not change anything about the person’s mental well-being. However, if a sudden traumatic experience is added on top of that, it may be enough to trigger clinical depression. Childhood experiences can also lead a person to becoming depressed. It can come from learned behaviour. For example, a child who grew up with clinically depressed parents could learn to deal with their problems by not getting out of bed, the way their parents did. (Fagnani, 2011) Some researchers believe that a difficult childhood can play a role in an early onset of depression.

One theory suggests that children who go through a hard time while growing up have a more difficult time adjusting to changes in their. (Clouthier, 2007) Another theory is that these children may not have the proper emotional development, making them vulnerable to becoming depressed. Environmental factors often play a role in the development of depression. One specific cause of depression has never been found. Many scientists believe that it is actually a mix of genetics and environmental factors that lead to one developing a mood disorder. Research conducted by Abshalom Caspi shows that genetics and life events come together to produce depression. Everyone has a gene that regulates the brain’s level of serotonin, which regulates emotion. Every person gets two copies of this gene, one from each parent.

They can end up with one of three combinations: short/short, short/long, or long/long. It was discovered that those with the short/short combination are predisposed to depression, but only when they experience a traumatic life event. If those with the short/short gene have a peaceful life, then they are no more likely to develop depression that those with the long/long gene. However, if they have many difficult experiences, then they are twice as likely to become depressed. (Hampton, 2011) A mix of genes and environmental influences is often to blame for the development of depression. By 2020, depression is expected to be the 2nd leading cause of disability in the world. (Hogan, 2008)

While the discussion of nature versus nurture in terms of depression has being going on for a long time and there still is no definitive answer. Some people become depressed for no reason, and some people become depressed after a traumatic event, or a period of high stress. For many people, they need to have a bad life experience to trigger the chemicals in their brain that control emotion. No one really knows one reason for why or how mood disorders are developed. Depression can come from genetics, inheritance and genes, from one’s environmental influences, or from a mixture of both.

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Nature vs Nurture – Depression. (2016, Dec 19). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/nature-vs-nurture-depression-essay

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