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Am J Psychother. 1984 Jul;38(3):329-40.

Genetic factors in depression and suicide.


There is a large body of evidence implicating a genetic factor in major affective disorder, particularly bipolar type. Studies of family risk, of twin concordance, and of adoptees and their families have contributed to this consensus. In the case of suicide, completed or attempted, the evidence is less clear. Twin studies have been based on a small number of pairs and have been inconclusive, and family and adoption studies have not yet satisfactorily separated suicide risk from risk for depression. Biological studies involving neurotransmitter levels suggest that suicide even without depression may be uniquely characterized, and there have been reports of associated brain-wave dysfunction. The interacting role of psychological or biological precipitating factors with the genetic component of psychosis or personality disorder still needs further clarification.

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