While no one is saying that mental illness is predetermined by genetic predisposition, the results of this study are striking in that they have found a consistent genetic indicator across a spectrum of disorders that were previously thought to be unrelated.
Given environmental circumstances, outside stimuli is still plays as large a roll as ever in determining risk for developing any type of mental illness, genetic predisposition nothwithstanding. So if you suffer some type of great loss in your life, and you have failed to develop adequate coping skills, your chances of going through depression are going to be heightened regardless of your genetic lineage.
What I find interesting about the study is that the genetic predisposition was consistent across this certain spectrum of disorders. The researchers point to a specific signaling system in the brain that can have abberations that will ultimately give rise to the development of mental illness.
Perhaps all of mental illness can be reduced to a biological tendency towards no specific mental illness, but then given life circumstances, learned behaviors, and environmental stimuli, one might develop a specific mental illness in response to that confluence of outside factors.
Going forward it will be interesting to see how these signaling systems are flagged for more specific subsets of behaviors. But no matter what is discovered, I would not discount your ability to drive your own destiny just yet. Your mind is still the most complex system known in the universe, and one that we are only just beginning to understand in the only the most elementary of ways. Stay tuned...
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