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Does Mental Illness Run in Your Family?


SillyMe

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My family is so screwed up... Dad has severe OCD/GAD, brother is schitzophrenic, sister is a recovering alcoholic, mom is just insane.... I'm pretty sure the mental illness goes back further beyond the generations of my mother and father.... Do any of you - who suffer from some kind of mental illness - come from a "normal" family...?? Just curious.....

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I think that would be pretty rare. I look back on all my strange aunt's, uncle's and grandparents since I've learned about being mental and have a whole new understanding of what may have contributed to their behavior. I think the conventional wisdom is that you are who you are because of the way your parents raised you or that you were screwed up by something that happened to you. After becoming a parent I'm totally convinced that we all come prewired and a lot of that is inherited genetically.

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I always thought my family was normal... that is until I was dx'ed and suddenly realized that the depression that I say my mom and uncle and grandfather, etc., deal with was not normal.

But I think its weird that although its probably genetic (and from both sides of my family), many of us in my family manifest our mental illnesses differently. Like my uncle has had several major depressive episodes in which he crashes, gets help and goes on meds for like one month, then gets better and stops the meds and is fine again. I, on the other hand, am just kind of always depressed, with some times that are worse than others. And my mom gets angry and annoyed and miserable to be around when depressed, while I just get reclusive and very anxious. I just think its weird that everybody deals with it differently.

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Mental illness doesn't run in my husband's family. It casually strolls and visits as many relatives as possible ;)

My Hubby is BP, one of our sons is autistic, the other is possibly bipolar. One of hubby's sisters is BP, and so is his older brother (though he is in total denial). One of his sisters who is NOT MI has a daughter who is being carefully observed for mood disorders and she is only 6. Another non-MI sister has a son (around 13) they are concerned about..possibly depression.

His mother never had any diagnosis per se, but there is definitely something wrong with that woman. His dad has depression episodes though he would never talk about it.

Then if you also start adding in the alcoholics who may be undiagnosed MI self medicating...well, they are all just pretty much nuts.

My family has its share of unique individuals as well, but I don't know if it is MI or PTSD. Two Uncles were in Nam, and my grandfather was an abusive dick.

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It's pretty common for stuff to run in families, though how common varies with which disorder.

Maternal grandmother - took every medication under the sun, diagnosed with bp at least once

Paternal grandfather - alcoholic

Mother - depression

Paternal uncle - alcoholic, what looks like undiagnosed chronic depression

Father's mother's brother - alcoholic

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I have one of those families where everyone pretends to be normal, in spite of the following:

Birth father: alcoholic, depressed, suicidal

Great-grandmother: suicide

Mother: anxious, possible mood disorder

Grandmother: anxious to the point of not leaving the house, no dx

That's leaving out the people who are really weird but undiagnosed.

Except for my father and me, no one in my family has ever seen a psychiatrist.

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There is very little MI in my family - but then, both the maternal and paternal sides are the sort to supress discussion of such distasteful things as emotions ;)

Mum's sister has recurrent depression, but she's the only one other than me to be diagnosed. There is speculation that my mother's father had some depressive issues (but naturally we never spoke of such things....), and that my dad's mother may have had some flavour of bipolar (apparently she had quite dramatic fluctuations of mood). Sadly, both these grandparents are dead, so I can't quizz them or judge for myself.

Apart from that, they seem to be an entirely sane bunch!

xx

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Mental illness doesn't run in my husband's family. It casually strolls and visits as many relatives as possible ;)
Well-put, WZ! Can I borrow this when referring to my own nutso family? baw haw haw!

My answer: a resounding YES.

lily

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Yes.

On my father's side it is rather rampant:

I have a cousin who tried to off himself via impaling on a 7 ft steel pipe -- he's BPI.

Then I have the schizophrenic uncle who was in the middle of the busiest street in Tulsa trying desperately to kill as many cars as possible with his BARE HANDS.

Then the run of the mill drunks, etc...

My siblings were all spared except for their children -- most are dx'd on the autistic spectrum with two being bipolar as well (the neice and nephew I work with all the time).

And my 1/2 brother was BPI but he offed himself last summer.

So yeah. Mental illness didn't just run through our family, it came through with an assault rifle too.

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My Mom's dad tried to kill himself at the age of 60-something and was an alcoholic his whole life. My Dad's dad could never hold down a job and was severly overweight (I'm thinking depressed, my dad tends to agree). Dad has probably been depressed for most of his adult life, but lives with it. My mom is way ADD and has that enabling thing rockin'. And repression all over.

I just got all the crap from both sides and I am hoping that if it all just funnels through me my family and descendants will be spared.

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I've often wondered how much of our dx's are a result of passed down DNA and how many are a reaction to our families MI. Nature vs Nuture. I tend to think the anxiety and stress disorders are more of an enviromental result than from brain cooties passed down. It doesn't make them any easier to deal with though.

Croix

(the above is entirely an Opinion, Not a doc, Feel free to disagree)

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As far as I'm aware I'm the only one with BP, but both my parents and my brother have sufferered with depression to some extent. My parents understand hypomania a little, particularly when they were younger, though not enough for it to be a problem for them. However, I wouldn't be surprised if my mother was Cyclothymic.

I feel like I've got everybody's mood swings amplified.

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No one except for one aunt who had post-partum depression. Only one alcoholic my grandma's brother. My sister has some serious lifestyle issues that are psychological, but nothing substatial for a diagnosis. I'm not to sure what's up with one cousin. I guess I'm pretty lucky that my family is mentally healthy. Though they all frustrate me so much that I don't think of them as not crazy.

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My mom has some serious anxiety issues.

My father is a pathelogical liar.

My sister is in the process of being diagnosed - possibly BP.

Hey, If anybody out there with a normal family responds to this thread, then, can you let me know what it's like?

-Sub

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my family, with the exception of my grandmother, always seemed pretty normal up until I was diagnosed, and then it all sort of opened up. I guess it was that age, too, when you realize it's not normal to have a biological grandfather whose only communication is a $100 for Toys-R-Us every year.

my mom and her siblings are pretty normal, with some depression, a little anger management, some anxiety, and once-heavy drug use. my grandmother is crazy, but no one can figure out the exact flavor, although it's probably bipolar. but she's been depressed enough to try and kill herself in front of her kids, so... eh. she's okay now, just on a general low-level mania constantly. my grandfather is a recluse who just can't seem to communicate very well. above them there's a lot of suicide attempts, and suicides, and OCD, and general feminine unrest that's usually contributed to the era they lived in.

we had to do a psychologically unrest family tree [edit: while I was in partial hospitalization], and I'm pretty screwed. people tend to go really crazy in college, I can't wait. ;)

and my dad's family? cancer, heart disease, heart attack, high blood pressure / cholesterol, etc. if the mental illness doesn't get me the physical will.

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Mother: severe anxiety and alcoholism

Father: just like Submerged's he is a pathological liar

Sister 1: panic attacks and alcoholism

Sister 2: Serious binge drinking problem

Mother's brother: Alcoholic and drug addict

Mother's father: Died from alcoholism and all his brothers were alcoholics and his father too

Mother's Uncle: PTSD from World War Two - he was a POW in Japan, later committed suicide

Mother's Mother: Narcissistic Personality Disorder, took every tablet under the sun and had ECT for no apparent reason, the doctors kicked her out of the psych hospital when they discovered she was perfectly sane (albeit the most selfish woman you would ever meet). Came back to bite her in the ass when she went psychotic from withdrawing from Dalmane when it was banned over here. She spent 3 months as a genuine psych in-patient.

Mother's Aunts: 2 of them experienced schizophrenia and both drowned themselves

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The hypothetical autosomal dominant gene guano1 runs down my mother's side of the family.

My mother is what I like to call batshit NOS, which of course is due to the gene guano1. I'm not sure I could apply any label to her. Her official diagnosis is BP-rapid cycling. Very verbally abusive, pathological liar, paranoid, manipulative, ignorant... ahh yes how we love our mothers.

Her father was a suicide, as was his mother, and her mother, and probably so forth (history is shady as far as I know). There's also alcoholism salted and peppered all over.

I do believe that my younger uncle (Mom's younger brother) on that side has MDD, and is on SSRIs for it.

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