Chemical imbalance, hereditary or situational?

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I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression when I was 23, I'm now 45, and still dealing with it. Psychiatrists, therapists, and family doctor all stated that it's due to a chemical imbalance in the brain, and hereditary factors. Sometimes I believed that, other times, not so much.

On the hereditary side of things, there's 3 generations, that I know of, that have anxiety, depression, or both, and that's just on my mother's side. Not everyone is afflicted, but there's a good amount that are. Can this be attributed to chemical imbalances, or poor coping skills, which would make it situational?

Sometimes I think "chemical imbalance" is a band-aid excuse doctors hand out so they don't have to go into details. However, the psychiatrist that I've been seeing for almost 20 years isn't the kind of doctor that gives a quick reason or excuse to your issues just to get you out of the door, yet she stands firm in the belief that my issues are due to chemical imbalances, and hereditary factors. I prefer to have proof for many things in life, so of course I wish there was a test that could prove or disprove the diagnosis of anything.

I'm curious to know everyone's opinion about all of this, especially your take on belief or non-belief of chemical imbalances.

Thanks much, Kim

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  • Posted

    Difficult to know for sure, I read somewhere that it's a learned behaviour so if your parents were anxious you would pick it up or if your home life as a child was unsettled that you became anxious as a result but both my parents suffer anxiety of some kind and also my grandparents so a genetic thing could also be a contributing factor to my life long anxiety. But I don't rule out a chemical imbalance that's nothing to do with my genes, it's just because.....like you can have an illness like any other.

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    • Posted

      I have relatives that I've barely or never seen, but have found out they had been affected too. It's like we're sprinkled throughout the family for at last 100 years at least. My mom was affected by it, but didn't get diagnosed until she was 62, because she was hard headed, too proud, and kept super busy. Her mother definitely had really bad anxiety, but back then there was no term for it except maybe mad or insane. When I was diagnosed, I didn't know of anyone else in the family that had anxiety, depression or both, because it was so well hidden. As time went on, and information passed down, they came out of the woodwork. Maybe because it's less taboo now.

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    • Posted

      Therefore there is evidence it's genetic. My father had anxiety disorder. Not that anyone knew it at the time. It was only  later, after he had passed away and I myself began to suffer from it, that I recognized it in him. His Mom had migraines, he had migraines, I have migraines. I believe there is another "link"

      Yes it's less taboo now because it is dressed up as stress which no one shies away from admitting. At one time so-called "stress" terrified sufferers for fear of being labelled "mental" and so it was hidden as best as the sufferer could hide it

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    • Posted

      My grandmother would have been 100 this year, but she was one that definitely had at least anxiety. She would get really bad, so my grandpa would brush her hair to help her calm down. He would also spring things on her instead of telling her in advance, because she would get so worked up that she'd get sick and couldn't go. He would say "Everybody get packed up, we're going fishing ", and that left my grandma with no time to worry about it.

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    • Posted

      I'm somewhat in the same boat, because I've become very recluse, and have stopped driving due to panic attacks. Something like a planned camping trip won't bother me, because it's on some land we own in the country, and it's very serene. I absolutely love nature, so there's comfort there. When it comes to things such as meeting someone my husband works with, or anything I'm not familiar with, I can't do it. I've always liked the comforts of home, but used to be outgoing, now it's all just closing in. Hopefully it can be stopped before it gets worse. Does the sertaline help with the agoraphobia?

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    • Posted

      It helps to a certain degree, yes. But effort is needed when dealing with agoraphobia. Situations we can easily  escape, so to speak, are far easier to deal with. The trap is running away from places where panic strikes us. It's hard to stay and see it through, there's the unfounded fear of passing out, making a fool of ourselves, which never happens by the way.

      The problem is running home, staying home is the easiest escape method but the one that allows agoraphobia to become firmly entrenched.

      And thus our world becomes smaller and smaller until we are confined to home.

      I too love nature smile And even as a child loved home, and was often curled up reading a book

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    • Posted

      I'm an avid reader as well. No electronic device can beat the feeling of a book in your hands.

      I'll get the best nights sleep if there's a thunderstorm, or a heavy rain storm. The sound of the rain hitting the house lulls me to sleep quickly, especially if I have some windows open and can smell the rain. Ahhh, the simple pleasures of life. smile

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    • Posted

      every once in a while our thrift store hands out big paper shopping bags and says we can fill the bag with books....for $5. It's amazing how many you can get in one of those bags.eek

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    • Posted

      I used to have one of those little machines that made all those cool sounds, rain, waves, storms, etc. Wonder what happened to that? i have to get another one. tv on low helps sleep, but not like these sounds you mentioned.
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    • Posted

      I sleep with a fan on all year round, because of the white noise. I also pop in my earbuds, and listen to an app on my phone that has a variety of nature sounds. Of course I always choose the rain. smile

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    • Posted

      White noise! Huh! You should hear my Stephen snore! I swear it registers on the Richter Scale! Don't know about ear buds...I need cement pouring into my eardrums to block it out...The  only kind of multi-tasking that man can achieve is snoring and farting at the same time!

      Wedded bliss, huh?

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    • Posted

      I was just on the inhale when I read this, Helen. I laughed so hard I couldn't catch my breath...so went to choking, then gasping, and finally to tears. I don't know if my mortality rate is going up or down...but it is sure a great ride.

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