Anxiety about certain things can be hereditary
In the good news/bad news file today is news that the field of epigenetics seems to be proving that the behavior of your parents can affect you and your future choices/responses at the genetic level. This might be good news to some, offering a new explanation for certain addictive behaviors, anxiety or depression issues or other apparently psychological phenomena. It might be bad news to others, suggesting that their own addictive behaviors, anxiety or depression issues, etc. might be laying genetic foundation blocks in place for their future offspring. Either way, it’s interesting.
Here’s an excerpt from Dana Smith’s recent article about epigenetics for The Atlantic. Check it out, and click the link below it to continue to the full article.
Epigenetic research is a hot-button topic at the moment, generating a lot of attention in both scientific studies and the media. Epigenetics is the ability of genes to be influenced by our experiences, altering our genetic make-up in real time. By changing the chemical signals that course through your brain and body, you can actually turn genes on or off, a process that can then influence your future actions. Thus, in some ways, epigenetics can be thought of as the bridge between nature and nurture—your behavior and environment affecting your biology, and vice versa.
For example, smoking cigarettes when you’re young can prime your brain to find other addictive substances, like cocaine, more rewarding later on. This happens by increasing the expression of a certain gene that is involved in the brain’s reward system. This change can then heighten your responses to other drugs and increase your future risk for addiction.
Now it appears that these epigenetic changes not only affect our own behaviors, but that they can also be passed down to future generations.