The mass media report percentages of heritability. for various conditions. For instance autism is 90% heritable, height 80%, BMI 60%, musical aptitude 50%, depression 40%, breast cancer 30%. But these percentages are of no use to you, because they only apply to the population investigated, not in general. And they vary immensely between populations. Telling someone that their trait or illness has a specific heritability percentage is wrong.
Genetic variants and mutations can increase the susceptibility to psychiatric disorders. But the DSM does not really apply to the real world of genetically determined presentations. Hospital departments for DSM categories are outdated. Clusters of families would make better units for research into and care for severe mental disorders.
The probability of having autism is greater for an individual if it runs in their family. This suggests hereditary factors. But what do you actually inherit? What you inherit is a predisposition for a specific development of your brain. This, together with what you experience while growing up, can lead to the development of a mild to severe form of autism.
Disease can be seen as the antechamber of death.
Are there reliable tests for predicting disease? The short answer is: not for Alzheimer’s or other common diseases. Tests do exist for some specific diseases, most with known familial predispositions, such as Huntington’s disease, cystic fibrosis, Duchenne’s dystrophy and many more.
What causes your depression: serotonin or what you experience? The answer: the question is invalid! Both play a role, and are interconnected. You cannot say that one of these is the cause.
A lot of people think antidepressants are worthless. Is psychotherapy better than an antidepressant? There is no evidence for this. It seems to me that antidepressants suffer a disadvantage in our perception as compared to psychotherapy, in that their mechanism of action is quite invisible and not instinctively comprehensible.
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