Certain issues like mental illnesses can have genetic factors but it can still be difficult to predict when someone is more likely to struggle with mental health. Family history can certainly have an impact on whether someone will develop a mental illness but can genetic tests tell us about the state of our mental health? There are in fact certain genes and gene variations that are associated with mental disorders but there is no way to tell for certain whether someone has or will develop an illness through DNA tests.
Connection between Family history and Mental Illness
Family history can actually be one of the most effective clues in understanding your risk for certain physical and mental health problems. Genetics play an important role in many health issues including substance abuse and mental illness. If you have a close relative with a mental health disorder then there is a strong possibility that you are at higher risk to develop issues yourself.
Even if someone has a first or second degree relative with a mental illness it does not guarantee that they will end up with the same problem. When it comes to genetic testing, there aren’t any specific gene variants that predict with certainty whether someone will develop a mental disorder. There are genes that are associated with higher risk for illnesses but there aren’t any tests that can accurately predict issues yet.
If you have a relative with a mental illness or you have genes associated with a higher risk then it may be important to be cautious about your mental health. Things like environment, lifestyle and stress can all have an impact on whether a person develops a mental illness. Avoiding drugs and alcohol, staying healthy and reducing stress can all help reduce the risk of mental illness even for those with strong genetic factors.