Genetics and mental health conditions

Like father like son? Yeah maybe! Like grandma like father? Probably!

When I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 2015, it got me thinking about certain things I’ve done throughout my life. It gave me answers to why I done these things, and put them into perspective.

It also got me thinking about the actions of my dad. They said he suffered from depression which ended in tragedy, but when I look at some of the actions of my dad, they strongly resemble the actions of someone with bipolar. My sister had certain issues as a young girl, and was hospitalised for a short while.

Just recently it came to my attention that my dads mum had certain issues. I’ve been told that later on in her life she was put in a psychiatric institute, because she was suffering from some sort of mental health issue. Back in those days there was little knowledge of mental health, so she might have had some sort of dementia, or could she have had other mental health conditions that went undetected? Back then, even if someone had a headache they threw them in the crazy bin!

What if I was to go back even further in my family tree, how many more of my ancestors could have had mental health conditions? For all I know there could have been many more that had some sort of issue. When I was diagnosed they never looked at my family history, in fact I told the doctors about my dad! Maybe if the experts were to look more into the family history of someone that’s having problems, then it might get nipped in the bud early, before things get out of hand!

Another condition I suffered from was an overactive thyroid. This was back in 1998, 17 years before my bipolar diagnosis. This was really bad, and it took nearly 2 years to stabilise. This too runs in my family, as my sister and my nan (on my mums side) had it. Who knows how many more had it before my nan? This is where it gets interesting. The symptoms of an overactive thyroid, and bipolar disorder are very similar. Although the thyroid diagnosis was correct, was it also an early sign of depression/bipolar?

Now it gets a bit concerning. I’ve got three grown up children, their ages are…26, 25, and 19. My 19 year old son was showing slight signs of autism (or something similar) when he was very young. He had some funny little ways when he was around 5/6 years old. For instance he would just walk out of school for no apparent reason (a chip off the old block, lol) or he wouldn’t put rubbish in an outside bin, it would have to go in the bin at home, then he would make sure the bin lid was open, so the rubbish could see out, lol. That’s just to name a few.

Now at the age of 19 he doesn’t seem so bad as when he was younger. But he does have a short fuse, and can get quite angry at the slightest little thing. I just hope and pray he or my other two kids don’t develop any of my genes regarding mental health. It would be interesting to see if any of my fellow bloggers have a family history regarding mental health? 😊👍

7 thoughts on “Genetics and mental health conditions

  1. My mum has mental health; paranoia schizophrenia. Her sister seamt fine. Mum had other brothers in family who all died before I was born, but their deaths were not mental health related.

    There is nothing on my dad’s side that I am aware of and as you know from my blog, it’s been anxiety and depression for me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I recently found out that depression runs on my dad’s side of the family. He has it (we just found out), I do, and so does my eldest. Apparently it goes further back than that—at least another generation, and likely more.

    On my husband’s side, there is depression across several generations on his dad’s side. And three of the four male children in my kids’ generation have autism. I know there’s more mental health issues on his mom’s side, but because her father died when she was very young, and she’s not overly open with us about her own health, we don’t know all that much.

    Definitely a trend here, which isn’t surprising to me.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Jean, thanks for your reply. This seems more common than I first thought! My dad died when I was very young, and nothing was really spoke of after that. But I’m sure I’m probably the same as you regarding mental health conditions going further back in my family.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. In twin studies comparing sets of identical and fraternal twins, it’s been found that if one identical twin has bipolar, chances are high the other twin will as well. There hasn’t been any single “bipolar gene” identified, though.

    Liked by 1 person

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