Genes and Treatment for Depression and Anxiety
Doctor Daniel Pine estimates that approximately 30-50% of the risk for anxiety and depression is genetic. Genetic treatments are an exciting area of research currently.
Studies of genes and of DNA are very important in mental disorders. We know from studies that we call behavioral genetic studies that look at patterns of relationships in families, we know that genes are very important in most of the mental disorders that we study. In terms of anxiety and depression and PTSD, we know that genes are important but not as important as they are in other disorders – disorders like bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. In things like anxiety and depression, there is probably more of an equal mix in terms of maybe 30% to 50% of the risk for anxiety or depression is related to genes, and maybe 50% to 70% of the risk is related to our environment. We also are beginning to get some early clues about how specific genes may or may not be involved in anxiety, but what those clues are teaching us is that the individual influence of any one gene, at least in anxiety or depression, is likely to be very small. So because of that, we are very far away from thinking about any gene as a specific risk factor that will be clinically useful in understanding either anxiety or depression. Probably the major breakthrough that is going to come earliest from studies of genes is much like for studies of brain circuitry like we were discussing a few minutes ago. Genes are going to give us clues about new treatments, so that is really the most exciting to think about – the most exciting thing to think about when we think about genes and anxiety or genes and depression. Do these studies of genes give us clues about new things we might do or new medications we might develop that we would not have otherwise thought about. Studies of genes are unlikely to give us genetic tests for anxiety disorders or mood disorders anytime in the near future.
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Doctor Daniel Pine explains that the environment is particularly important to determining how we understand, treat, and respond to anxiety.
Doctor Daniel Pine introduces the diathesis-stress model for anxiety and depression. The model posits that stress combines with inherited factors to produce disorder.
Doctor Daniel Pine explains that hormones are a contributing factor to the development of anxiety and depression. They interact with a number of other factors to cause to these disorders.
Doctor Daniel Pine explains that it can be normal and healthy to feel anxiety. Anxiety disorders, however, interfere with people’s ability to function normally.
Doctor Daniel Pine defines anxiety as fear and apprehension about dangers that are not immediately present. Over time, anxiety can lead to depression.
Doctor Daniel Pine discusses explains that anxiety is more common in girls and women. Depression is also more common in women, but only after puberty. Anxiety may predict depression.
Doctor Daniel Pine discusses the different approaches to understanding disorders and explains that we have a long way to go to understand them on the cellular level.
The amygdala controls autonomic responses associated with fear, arousal, and emotional stimulation and has been linked to anxiety disorder and social phobias.
Doctor Daniel Pine suggests that stigma often tends to develop in areas where our knowledge is lacking. Research advances should, therefore, reduce stigma.
Doctor Daniel Pine explains that although a lot of work remains to be done, noerpinephrine (noradrenalin) and serotonin are important to understanding the biochemistry of anxiety.