Family history predicts severity of mental illness

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A new study published in the July issue of General Psychiatry reinforces and adds to the concept of family history as a predictor of psychiatric disorders. According to the study, family history not only predicts psychiatric disorders but also predicts the severity and important features of those disorders. According to Barry Milne, PhD, of the Universityof Auckland, the findings were expected as there were already so many studies that show the link. An analysis of findings from the 1972 to 1973 Dunedin Study birth cohort revealed that family history of alcohol dependence, anxiety disorders, and major depressive disorder predicted greater impairment, more recurring course, and greater use of treatment services. The authors of the study mentioned that an understanding of the accuracy and details that family history provides about mental health could be used by physicians in creating prognosis as well as in the planning of treatment strategies. Click here to read an article from Forbes that discusses the study more.

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