Genetic Investigation Behind Depression

In recent news, scientists are seeking 20,000 Australians that have been treated for clinical depression to step forward and take part in what is being labelled 'The world's largest study into genetic factors around Australia'.

The Australian Genetics of Depression study is taking a detailed look at the how and why of what leads our genetic structure to cause, or have a disposition toward, clinical depression.

More often than not, the genetics of an individual are not taken into account when treating depression. This can lead to months of trialing different medications until a suitable anti-depressant is found. It is common for those starting on new medications to be left feeling tired, agitated or even feeling ill to the point of nausea and vomiting.

Understanding the "genetic architecture" of depression will help to solve this problematic situation, says co-investigator and mental health campaigner Professor Prof Ian Hickie, AM from the Brain and Mind Centre at the University of Sydney.

"In psychiatry we have really suffered because we've been stuck with clinical categories that don't predict very well the response to treatment," Prof Hickie told AAP.

Clinical depression will affect one in seven Australians in their lifetime.

It is a severe pathophysiological syndrome that changes the body's whole physiology.

"It isn't a simple reaction to an unfortunate life event or difficult circumstance, so it's not transient period of low mood," said Prof Hickie.

"The amount of disability and impairment and loss of employment and impact on family is very high right now, so that's really what we want to change through more effective treatments," he said.

To volunteer for the Australian Genetics Study click through to here: