Genes Help Determine if You’re Happy or Sad

There may be a thin genetic line between happiness and depression, according to a review is published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry. According to some mental health professionals, this finding proves that genetic factors should be taken into account when individual depression treatment plans are developed.

Researchers think it’s likely that a combination of our genetic make-up (“nature”) and our environment (“nurture”) affects what is known as our “cognitive biases,” which determine the way we process thoughts and feelings. A person who emphasizes negative thoughts and emotions is at risk for developing mental health disorders like anxiety and depression.

According to one of the lead researchers, “We suggest that while no gene 'causes' mental ill health, some genes can make people more sensitive to the effects of their environment.” Additional studies examining the roles of genetics and environment on mental health could lead to new effective treatments.

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