Genetics and Mental Illness

During a session with one of my clients they raised a good point, ” why is it that mothers are always sited in research as donating the genetic materials for mental health issues” . So, I dismissed the misnomer with supporting information on the fact that there are studies indicating that fathers also contribute to the genetic make up of mental health issues and there is more research on genetics and mental health to come. So as this is Father’s Day and this is a mental health and meditation information blog, I thought I would share this interesting piece of information, which is reposted by me from….enjoy.

Fathers’ Mental Disorders Pass On To Their Children
By Margarita Nahapetyan
May 5, 2009
Fathers who have psychiatric or behavioral disorders are more likely to pass them on to their kids, and, in particular, to their sons, says Dr. Paul Ramchandani of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom.

The findings of a news study indicate that when fathers suffered psychiatric conditions such as major depression, drug or alcohol addiction or post-traumatic stress-disorder (PTSD), their offspring were exposed to a higher risk of developing mental health issues. And boys appear much more vulnerable to the effects of their fathers’ disorders, the scientists found. Sons of men who were abusing alcohol were at an increased risk of serious behavioral problems and substance abuse at a later time in life.

The Oxford research team was not surprised at the amount of research that has been conducted on mothers as, in general, they provide the majority of childcare, especially at an early age of a child. However, the experts feel that the role of the father has always been “under-emphasized” and that they influence children’s development much more than it may seem.

Paternal depression in the postnatal period, 8 weeks after the birth of a baby, has been associated with a child developing behavioral and emotional issues at a later time, 10 per cent to 20 per cent. An estimated 3 per cent to 6 per cent of men suffer from major depression, and 2 per cent of men suffer from a generalized anxiety disorder, and children with these parents have now much higher, compared to previous years, chance of suffering from these conditions themselves. “I think the main message is that mental health problems affecting fathers are important, partly because of the impact on the men themselves, but also because they can impact on families, including children,” said Dr. Ramchandani, and added that men are generally less likely than women to seek help for their mental health problems, but it is critical that they do so.

It was found in previous investigations that there was a connection between alcohol abuse in fathers and an increased risk of behavioral disorders in kids, where children were behaving aggressively and destructively. Paternal alcoholism is also associated with a greater risk of mood disorders, depressive symptoms, poor performance at school, low self-esteem and problems when it comes to relationship forming and development. Children and teenagers whose parents have bipolar disorder are almost 10 times more likely to develop those same conditions and 3 to 4 times more likely to develop other psychiatric conditions, compared to children whose parents do not have any mental problems, suggests a study.

According to the experts, among the reasons involved might be genetic susceptibility, as well as environmental factors and upbringing. Fathers in poor mental health may not, for instance, be able to provide their child with the emotional support they need. They may also be experiencing financial difficulties and, therefore unable to support the family, which leads to another set of problems, the researchers point out.

As an advice, Dr. Ramchandani suggested that addressing fathers’ psychiatric problems may be of a great help for many families. The scientists say that they do not obtain any proven evidence to definitely declare that things will be better for the children if their fathers underwent treatment. However, based on the new findings, it seems likely that children will do much better if they know that their dads are doing well.

I truly appreciate you guys and dolls, please continue to support me , here on my blog “Talking with Donna” by liking, sharing, following and rating.

Thank you and ” Remember if you or someone you know are dealing with mental health issues please get help and know you are not alone.”

Also go listen to my podcast which gives you mental health information followed with a meditation at the same name… you got it… “Talking with Donna” which can be heard on:, Apple Podcast, Google podcast, Spotify, Overcast, PocketCasts and RadioPublic.


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