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Have you ever asked yourself, "How does heredity affect my mental health?" Well, it is not a simple answer, but it is an important one.

Most seniors probably remember the discovery by Watson and Crick of the DNA double-helix in the 1950s. What seniors may not understand is the related role that one's DNA plays in their very own lives. Not only does genetics or heredity influence a person's predispositions, but it also affects how they go through life, respond to situations, and the rate at which they age.

"How Does Heredity Affect My Mental Health?"--Behavioral Tendencies

One common role of heredity in affecting mental health is simple--many psychiatric disorders and self-destructive behaviors, such as alcohol and substance abuse, are linked to genetics. There are important genetic markers that parents pass on to their children, which predispose individuals to certain behaviors, thoughts, and response-patterns.

"How Does Heredity Affect My Mental Health?"--Personality

Seniors have lived long enough to notice that children often resemble their parents, whether in physical characteristics, behavior and demeanor, or personality. It is common to observe that the offspring of certain people may begin to resemble a parent at a certain phase of development. Like one's appearance, a person's behavior and personality may resemble a parent's due to unseen genetic factors.

"How Does Heredity Affect My Mental Health?"--Genetics and the Environment

Although heredity is an unseen, complex factor, it plays a role in your mental health. Just because you cannot see it does not mean that it is not there. Heredity provides the parameters or the guide-lines by which people develop. In other words, heredity predisposes people to behave in certain ways given certain conditions. It is not a determination of a person's behavior, but, along with the environment, it is a forceful factor.

Heredity, Human Development, and Aging

Genetics not only predispose people to act in similar ways due to inborn tendencies, but also affect the rate at which people develop and age. In fact, genetics not only influence a person through his or her lifetime, but also in the design of specific organs and features, such as the growth rate of the brain, hormonal regulation, and all of the neurochemistry at work every moment; and, that is true whether we are young or old.