The Key Factor Which Causes Depression: Genetic or Environment
Depression is a quite widespread disease of nowadays. Scientific sources and mass media already have some success in conveying to society the thought that depression is something more than negative mood that can changed by itself. It is the disease, and like any other disease, it requires treatment. Even though depression can be successfully cured, it is always the better way to prevent the disease. However, preventing depression requires at first answer the question about the causes of this disease. There are different views about this issue. Some researchers claim that the main cause of depression is genetic. Others claim that environment is more important in the context of depression. However, as it often happens, and as the studies confirmed, the both sides have correct suggestions and the both causes, genetic and environmental, are important for the development of depression.
As it was already mentioned above, there are some researchers who claim that genetic factor is the main cause of depression. For example, Lohoff (2010) noticed in the study that genetic factors play important roles in the development of major depressive disorder (MDD), “as indicated by family, twin, and adoption studies, and may reveal important information about disease mechanisms” (p. 539). As one can see, there are some studies that confirm the importance of genetic factor for the development of depression. However, not only the studies about the family, twin, and adoption show such results. England & Sim, (2009) refer to the studies of Kendler et al., (2006) and Sullivan, Neale, and Kendler, (2000), claiming that “about one-third of the risk for major depression in adults derives from genetic differences between individuals.” Moreover, the researchers even point to the specific genes that are related to the development of depression. Thus, England & Sim (2009) noticed that there are “several genetic polymorphisms have been linked to increased risk of depression in response to stress. Foremost among these are genes of the serotonin system (5-HT).” The fact that there are specific genes that take part in causing depression make the thesis about genetic as the key factor that causes depression especially strong. In any case, it must be clear that for depression, as for any other mental disease, genetic factor has quite an important role. Thus, Hyman (2000) wrote that “family, twin, and adoption studies have shown that, for schizophrenia, autism, manic depressive illness, major depression, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, panic disorder and other mental illnesses, the transmission of risk is due to heredity” (456). In this way, there is a list of many mental disorders caused by genetic factors, and it is logical that depression can be among them. Besides, as it was mentioned above, the studies found specific genes that are related to the development of depression.
However, there is one more view on this issue. As far as depression is mental health, it is related not only to the physical state of human body, including all complex process and part of it but also with the human psyche. It is known the fact that human psyche and state of the body are related. Depending on the human emotions, the body produces different types of hormones which can affect the state of the body in one or another way and causes a person’s mood. Taking this into account one can consider an environmental factor as that which causes depression, comparing it with effect on low temperature on a human body. It is known fact that if a human is under the influence of low temperature long enough, he or she can get sick. However, it is also known that the low temperature by itself is not the reason for disease. Impact of low-temperature affects the human body, in particular, reduces the immunity, and that is why risks to get sick increases after the cases of freezing. The environmental factors can have the similar relationship with the depression. Even though the negative environmental factors can not be the main reason for depression they can have a generally negative effect on the mental state of the human, thus, they become the key factor that causes depression because without their impact it could not develop. There are some studies that confirm that the environmental factors cause depression. For example, Saveanu & Nemeroff (2012) claim that “onset of mood disorders such as depression is undoubtedly impacted by stressful life events that occur in childhood” (p. 59). The authors considered the study in which the researchers paid attention to the experience of approximately two thousands women of various socioeconomic levels, and came to the conclusion that “those with a history of childhood physical or sexual abuse had an increased risk of depression and anxiety” (p. 59). The study also showed that women with a history of childhood abuse “have a four-fold increased risk of developing depression” and “early life trauma has also been shown to impact the clinical course of depression” (p. 59). Generalizing the conclusion of the study, the researchers identified four main points about patients with depression who have a history of childhood trauma. The researchers wrote that such patients have “(a) lower rates of remission and recovery, (b) longer episodes of depression, (c) a more chronic disease course, and (d) earlier onset of depressive symptoms” (Saveanu & Nemeroff, 2012, p. 59). Tese results clearly show that the life experience and environmental factors are significant as causes of depression.
However, it is not only one study that shows the importance of environmental factors in the context of depression. Beattie (2005) also identifies interpersonal relationships among the others factors that cause depression. Considering the types of interpersonal relationships that can cause depression Beattie (2005) identifies the following types: “(a) within the family, such as between the parents and between parents and children; (b) the social environment where differences in ethnicity and social class come into play; and (c) interactions between genders across age groups for both females and males.” These interpersonal relationships are quite clear as the causes of depression. The first two types are environments where a person is forced to be the most of the time. It is clear that issues in the family when it is not occasional difficulties but the permanent tensity, it will cause a permanent stressful state in which person can be vulnerable to mental disorders. The same is with another type of social environment in which a person forced to be almost every day. Interactions between genders, or, in some cases it can be within one gender, also can be significant for causing depression. Interpersonal relationships such as friendship or romantic relationships can be significant for personality; thus their breach or absence can have a negative impact on a person’s mental state, and that also can be the cause of depression. Moreover, there is one more study that confirms relation of environmental factors and depression. Peyrot et al. (2013) wrote that “stressful life-events, sexual abuse, and childhood trauma were significantly more frequent and educational attainment was significantly lower in major depressive disorder patients compared to healthy controls” (p. 94). It can be clear that there are some traumatic life-events, which can affect the mental state of a person during the whole life, especially if such events happened in childhood. In this way, the facts shown above proves that there is a strong relationship between environmental factors and depression and that environmental factors can be the factors that cause depression.
As one can see from the facts shown above, the both factors, genetic and environmental, are important for the development of depression. In fact, this is the correct answer on the question about the key factor which causes depression – the both of them. One can notice that it is not only the compromise found between two opposite but the fact confirmed by the scientific studies. Thus, Saveanu & Nemeroff (2012) wrote that between genetic predisposition to depression and the impact of early traumatic experiences during critical phases of development there is a strong relationship. The researchers noticed that even though early life stress increases a risk of depression, “there are important differences in the way individuals respond to the same stressful event, and these differences may be explained in part by genetic factors” (Saveanu & Nemeroff, 2012, p. 60). In this way, the authors claim that the both factors – genetic and environmental are important for the development of depression. Some researchers paid attention to the specific impact of the genes and noticed that “the short form of the gene triggers a more intense activation of the amygdala, also known as the cerebellar tonsil, a brain structure involved in emotions and in the recognition of danger signals” (CNRS (Délégation Paris Michel-Ange), 2011). The researchers also noticed that “the activity of the amygdala varied according to not only to the form of the gene, but also to the type of mental activity” (CNRS (Délégation Paris Michel-Ange), 2011). They came to the conclusion that “the stress experienced during the year also affected the influence of the gene on the activation of the amygdala – such “genetic-environmental” interaction being itself modified by the individual’s mental activity” (CNRS (Délégation Paris Michel-Ange), 2011). In this way, an importance of impact of both, genetic and environmental factors are confirmed by the facts shown above. England & Sim (2009) also come to this conclusion writing that that gene-environment correlations contribute to outcomes and appeals to the example when “genetic factors may influence a depressed person’s parenting styles as well as the offspring’s heritable traits so that the child’s genotype and rearing environment are correlated.” In this way, the authors show the importance of the genetic factors. However, they also pay attention to their correlation with environmental factors, writing that “youth with particular heritable characteristics evoke reactions from others and select or create experiences that are congruent with their heritable characteristics—processes that might increase the likelihood of depressive outcomes under relevant conditions” (England & Sim, 2009). Carola et al. (2008) also pay attention to the correlation between the genetic factors and environmental factors. They used scientific approach and paid attention to the functions of gene, writing that “alterations in hippocampal gene expression and function underlie at least part of the interaction between 5-HTT and rearing environment and point to a role for this structure in the increased anxiety and depression-related behavior that is a risk factor for major depression” (Carola et al., 2008, p. 845). This result shows the correlation between the genetic factors and environmental factors in the context of the depression on the level of chemical processes in the human body. Considering the correlation between genetic and environmental factors one can see their close correlation. On the one hand, the genetic factors cause some predisposition to depression. On the other hand, without some environmental factors, this predisposition can never develop. However, in some cases, the impact on the only one factor – genetic or environmental can be enough for development of depression.
In this way, the above was considered the different views on the issue of the key factors which cause depression. There are different views about this issue. Some researchers claim that the key factor is genetic and show evidence to confirm this statement, including the studies which pay attention to the chemical processes in human body. Other researchers claim the key factor is environmental and confirms their statement with the studies which considered the different groups of people and came to the conclusion that people who felt an impact of negative environmental factors have a higher propensity for depression. However, as the one more type of the studies shown the both factors have high importance for developing of depression; thus the both factors can be key.
Beattie, G. (2005). Social Causes of Depression. Personalityresearch.org. Retrieved 31 August 2017, from http://www.personalityresearch.org/papers/beattie.html
Carola, V., Frazzetto, G., Pascucci, T., Audero, E., Puglisi-Allegra, S., & Cabib, S. et al. (2008). Identifying Molecular Substrates in a Mouse Model of the Serotonin Transporter × Environment Risk Factor for Anxiety and Depression. Biological Psychiatry, 63(9), 840-846.
CNRS (Délégation Paris Michel-Ange). (2011). Depression: Combination of environmental, psychological and genetic factors. Sciencedaily.com. Retrieved 31 August 2017, from https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111103143518.htm
England, M., & Sim, L. (2009). Depression in Parents, Parenting, and Children: Opportunities to Improve Identification, Treatment, and Prevention. Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Retrieved 31 August 2017, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK215119/
Hyman, S. (2000). The genetics of mental illness: implications for practice. Bulletin Of The World Health Organization, 78(4), 455-463.
Lohoff, F. (2010). Overview of the Genetics of Major Depressive Disorder. Current Psychiatry Reports, 12(6), 539-546.
Peyrot, W., Middeldorp, C., Jansen, R., Smit, J., de Geus, E., & Hottenga, J. et al. (2013). Strong effects of environmental factors on prevalence and course of major depressive disorder are not moderated by 5-HTTLPR polymorphisms in a large Dutch sample. Journal Of Affective Disorders, 146(1), 91-99.
Saveanu, R., & Nemeroff, C. (2012). Etiology of Depression: Genetic and Environmental Factors. Psychiatric Clinics Of North America, 35(1), 51-71.
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1. Background of the Great Depression
2. Economic Impact of the Great Depression
i. Failure of the stock market
ii. “Small scale farmers disadvantaged”
iii. Business and industry failure
vi. Human suffering
vii. Increase of government’s economy regulation
viii. Growth of macroeconomic strategies
ix. Homelessness, discrimination and racism
xi. Creation of dust bowls
xii. Illness and starvation
3. Overview of Stock Market Crash
4. How people bought products on margin
5. How trouble came up
6. Causes of the Great Depression
i. World-wide and domestic factors
6. Summary of the effects of Great Depression
8. Works Cited
The Great Depression
The great depression is an immense tragedy that took millions of people in the United States from work. It marked the beginning of involvement from the government to the country’s economy and also the society as a whole. After almost a decade of prosperity and optimism, the US was now exposed to a period of despair. The day when this happened is referred to as Black Tuesday, and it is the day when the stock market crashed. That was the official date when the Great Depression started. The stock market prices crashed to an extent that there was no hope for them to rise again. A long period of panic struck, and there was darkness in terms of stock market prices. Many people tried as they could to sell their stock, but, unfortunately, no one was ready to buy. The stock market that had for long been viewed as a path to wealth and richness was now a sure path to bankruptcy (Martin 106).
Economic Impact of the Great Depression
Failure of the stock market. The stock market was not the only one that was affected; actually, that was just but the beginning of the Great Depression. In effect, it was unfavorable for the clients whose money was already in the markets for investment: many banks had done that and that meant a huge loss to the clients. It was also a double loss in that though the clients lost their money, the banks were forced to close down. This is because they directly depended on the stock market. When this happened, it caused much panic even to other people, and this is what made them go to the other banks that were open to withdraw their money. This kind of massive withdrawal had a major effect in that it caused the banks to close too. What is more, it was a disadvantage to those who did not withdraw their money because of not reaching the bank on time. After the banks closed, people went bankrupt and could not claim anything whosoever.
Business and industry failure. Industries and businesses were highly affected too. This is because they were also working hand in hand with the stock market. Since the stock market had closed down, this meant that their savings and capital were lost. This affected the labor in the businesses since they had to cut on the number of workers who worked in the corresponding companies. Employees’ wages were also affected because any business could not pay them again as required. The stock market issue also affected the customers in that they stopped buying and spending on luxurious goods. This influenced greatly the companies that produced these commodities in terms of sales and also getting profit. The companies too had to close down (Martin 98).
Farmers. The Great Depression affected the farmers in a very adverse way. Though they always survived other depressions that they encountered, this one was a big challenge to them. Most of the farmers were situated at the Great Plains before the Great Depression took place. The territory was affected so badly by drought and dust storms which were horrendous in nature. They created a situation that was referred to as the Dust Bowl. The farmers were used to overgrazing, and now this had to combine with the effects of drought leading to a blow to the farmers. The latter were even left without food and crops for their animals. This is because the grass that the animals could feed on had already dried up and disappeared in the long run. The loose dirt was picked by the whirled wind, and topsoil got exposed. The farmers were left without crops as the wind picked up everything on its way (Martin 200).
Small scale farmers disadvantaged. Small scale farmers were more disadvantaged than the large scale farmers. They turned out to have a small piece of land on which they had to get their daily bread. Some of these farmers asked for tractors from their respective governments, and thus, they were made to pay some amount to cater for those. The hit that the farmers went through could not enable them to pay their debts. They could also not make it to feed their families, not mentioning themselves. Some of the farmers had also capitalized on the stock market and bank. Since the stock market was affected, and as a result, the banks too, the farmers suffered as well. Losing their investments and crops influenced greatly the way they related with each other and had an impact on their contribution to the economy of the land. The country lost a lot of laborers and this led to the deterioration of the country’s economy.
Unemployment. Many people lost their jobs during this time of the Great Depression. Having lost their jobs, it was very difficult for people to bring food on the table. Families were even forced to sell their houses and move to apartments. Others were made to move in together since the standard of living was going down day by day. Paying rent was now a very hard thing to achieve. It was even complicated for people to separate or divorce. This was the time when the rate of separation and divorce went down. This is because everyone needed the other to contribute, especially in paying the rent. Due to ego, men who had already lost their jobs felt ashamed even to walk in the cities, and, therefore, they were forced to stay in their homes. If at all the wives and the children were working, they felt that their status was challenged. Even in this situation, the two categories aforementioned were forced to go looking for jobs. This time, women were even accused of taking the man’s place after getting a job.
As a matter of fact, it was hard to get jobs locally because every part of the country had been affected. Many people were seen on the roads looking for jobs. Many people could not afford luxurious goods like cars, and thus, very few cars were seen on the roads. A lot of the cars were on sale since maintenance costs were unaffordable. The majority of teenagers were affected as they were the people who were seen on the roads walking up and down looking to get some job (Martin 187).
Older men, women, and families at large were on the rails too. They would be seen boarding trains just to cross and see whether they could get some occupation. Every time there was a job opening, many people applied for the position and chances for employment at such. Those who could not get the job would end up living in shanty towns which were outside the town. The houses in such places were made of affordable cheap materials like newspapers, wood, mud, cardboard, and iron sheets. Farmers who could no longer afford their previous lives would be found in western California. This is because of the agricultural opportunity rumors that came from that area. It is true that there were periods of agricultural opportunities. The farmers were nicknamed as Okies and Arkies.
The Great Depression took place during the reign of President Herbert Hoover. The citizens always blamed the governing President, though he always talked about optimism. Some of the shanty towns which were far from big cities were named after him – for instance, Hoovervilles. Interestingly, newspapers used to cover people sleeping in the streets were called Hoover Blankets. What is more, even bad looking broken cars were referred to as Hoover Wagons (Martin 134).
Human suffering. The Great Depression had a huge impact in that it caused human suffering. It took a very short time, and the levels of living went down drastically. People started borrowing from each other just to survive. Unemployment increased since industries could not take employees anymore. They could not afford to pay the people what they deserved. Research shows that at least a fourth of the labor force in all the industrialized countries could not work anymore (Martin 145). The industries could not satisfy them in terms of wages. This was noticed in 1930, and the total recovery was only realized by the end of that decade.
End of international gold standard. The Great Depression is seen as a cause of international gold standard. There was no money to invest anymore, and it was evident that the interest rates went down too. There was also the introduction of floating rates, and people stopped using the fixed exchange rates. On the other hand, there was an expansion of the welfare state and labor unions in 1930. Union membership went to an extent of doubling between that year and 1940. This was a result of extreme unemployment and the National Labor Relations Act which was passed in 1935. All this led to collective bargaining. The US took an extra mile of coming up with unemployment compensation. This also included the survivors’ and old age insurance. This was incorporated in the Social Security Act the same year. Its aim was to cater for the hardships that the citizens were going through in 1930.
Increase of government’s economy regulation. The rate at which the government regulated the economy increased substantially. The focus was mostly on the financial markets. Different bodies to carry out this function were established. These included the Securities and Exchange Commission which was established in 1934. The main role of these institutions was to control and regulate stock issues in the stock market, especially with regard to the new products. The Banking Act went ahead to come up with deposit insurance, whose role was to work with the banks by prohibiting them from underwriting. Deposit insurance was not so popular in the world up to the Second World War. This time it was able to work effectively, hence achieving its mission and objectives.
Growth of macroeconomic strategies. The aim of the latter was to fight the economic upturns and downturns. As a matter of fact, different strategies were established to fight the Great Depression. An increased focus on how the government spend, tax cuts, and expansion of the monetary fund were some of the ways to fight the the phenomenon under consideration. The government was also trying to work to its best so as to fight unemployment. The banks were also working against recessions.
Homelessness, discrimination and racism. Many people had lost their jobs and it became even hard to get rent for their houses. They had to move to shanty areas which also were not very affordable. Others could not afford anything to cover their heads. This led to building the Hoovervilles. Since so many people were unemployed, there was a huge competition in the job market. Very few could get jobs, and those who did were not paid according to what they delivered. Under the circumstances, discrimination grew and African Americans could rarely get a job. Racism was an issue at that time. Americans were more aggressive as they noticed that there were shrinking opportunities to get a position. The African Americans, Asian Americans, and Hispanics were the people who suffered the most. This is because of the discrimination and racism that were going on. Again, the whites were claiming the jobs which were paying poorly, hence occupying the opportunities that these minorities had before Hoovervilles.
It is evident that in any country there are different levels of people as far as their income is concerned. Where people live is different depending on what one eats. The lifestyle generally depends on what the person earns…
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