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.

gene, genetic, anxiety, depression, dna, mental disorders, treatments, daniel, danny, pine

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