Eli5 people having adhd and other mental illnesses

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My main question is… Can people be predisposed to having ADHD depression anxiety and other mental illnesses or is it a condition of circumstances

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It is predominantly genetic, so yes, a person can be genetically predisposed.

Source: 4 generations of ADHD, bipolar disorder and autism in the family, myself diagnosed ADHD in late 40s.

Both? You’re also asking about very different things.

ADHD is…badly named. Basically it’s an issue where serotonin is taken back up more quickly than most which means that it’s much more difficult to activate the reward mechanism in any lasting sense. As a result people find that they cannot remain content on one task often and when they do find one they can, they tend to do so obsessively. It’s not that well understood yet, there is definitely a genetic component but there’s also evidence that your environment and behavior growing up can impact these things OR at least cause similar problems.

Depression comes in several flavors. There are environmental/behavioral flavors where someone just doesn’t get the happy chemicals often due to where they are or how they live, which can be treated by lifestyle changes or maybe treated with drugs that get them up to a baseline that allows them to make those changes. There are also versions related to a simple genetic issue in how the “happy chemicals” are manufactured and managed in the brain which leads to chronic depression and the inability to truly treat it long term without medication. So you’ve got some genetic issues, some environmental issues that lead to lifelong problems and some people that truly just need to go touch grass more often but haven’t done so (for whatever reason) in so long that their mental state no longer allows them to build good habits without therapeutic and/or pharmaceutical intervention.

Anxiety and “other illnesses” also open a host of other circumstances and issues. They all involve the brain not quite working like baseline normal, but the causes are WIDELY varied. Some recent research even indicates that the state of your gut microbiome can impact things like depression, so literally your diet and which gut bacteria it encourages can affect your mental health. So…yes, it’s definitely both nature and nurture, genetic predisposition exists can be ameliorated or exacerbated by environmental or behavioral factors or those factors can even override disposition.

It’s complicated and poorly understood at this point but something isn’t connecting or managing properly. It is notable that ALL current research shatters any concept of a mind/body duality and reinforces that behavior and environment strongly impact mental health as well as genetics. That casts a lot of current issues like the obesity epidemic and its nutritional and sedentary roots into a very concerning light.

It can be a combination of all the things you asked about. To be honest, we still haven’t figured out all the causes. You mention several disorders that may have both genetic and environmental influences. I am not sure what you mean by “condition of circumstances”.

Brain and mind health are difficult to understand and despite many decades of research, we still don’t understand them well (much like cancer, despite all of the research).

To answer your question more directly, Yes, you can be predisposed to ADHD, depression, and/or, anxiety. But WHY you are predisposed to those conditions is a matter of debate (inheritance/genetics versus environment) – we still haven’t figured this out yet definitively.

edit: these conditions are known to involve several neurotransmitters in the brain such as dopamine, serotonin, and/or norepinephrine (not an exhaustive list). Don’t believe anyone who tells you with ‘certainty’ that it is only one of these. We simply don’t fully know what causes these conditions.

ADHD and Autism run in my family. They are both mostly generic.

Depression appears to run in families too, but I am not sure if that is genetic or just the effect and circumstance.