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Question of the Day

Eric J. Nestler, M.D., Ph.D. - Brain & behavior expert on anxiety
September 11, 2013

No. An individual’s risk for a syndrome as complex and variable as depression or anxiety is due to a large number of factors, including genetic, environmental, and presumably epigenetic. Also, depression and anxiety are not as heritable as other forms of mental illness (e.g., schizophrenia, bipolar disorder) and indeed most offspring of people with depression or anxiety avoid these syndromes. Our hope and expectation is that by better understanding the many types of disparate factors that combine to cause depression or anxiety, it will be possible to better identify those at risk and intervene to prevent the illness.

Eric J. Nestler, M.D., Ph.D.
Scientific Council Member
Nash Family Professor of Neuroscience
Chair, Department of Neuroscience
Director, Friedman Brain Institute
Mount Sinai School of Medicine

Huda Akil, Ph.D. - Brain & behavior research expert on depression & anxiety
Q My daughter is a risk taker and very social, but my son seems shy and more tentative about trying new things. Based on your research, should I be more worried about him developing depression?
A Thank you for the opportunity to clarify this point. The majority of... More >
Rachel G. Klein, Ph.D., Scientific Council Member, 1995 NARSAD Distinguished Investigator Grantee, 2004 Ruane Prize for Outstanding Achievement in Child & Adolescent Psychiatric Research, Professsor of Psychiatry, New York University Child Study Center, Expert on Childhood mental illnesses including ADHD and anxiety
Q My 10-year-old daughter is showing signs of anxiety. Can this become a full-blown anxiety disorder?
A If the anxiety is within what is generally expected when a child is under... More >