What Causes Mental Disorders?
Mental disorders affect many families. Unfortunately, unlike with common physical illnesses like heart disease or diabetes, there’s no single gene switch responsible for creating mental illness.
Mental health conditions are caused by numerous factors, including unreasonable fears (anxiety disorders) or extreme mood shifts (bipolar disorder). Additional causes could include childhood trauma, life events that are emotionally draining or long-term stress.
Research supported by the National Institute of Mental Health is uncovering genes linked to mental disorders and understanding how those genes interact with their environment, potentially leading to better screening and tailored therapy solutions.1 This may lead to improved screening methods as well as more personalized treatment approaches for each individual patient.
Genetic factors can have an enormous effect on how nerve cell circuits function and strengthen certain connections in the brain, as well as the balance of neurotransmitters that regulate communication among neurons.
Mental illness often runs in families, yet it’s important to note that family histories only increase your risk and do not guarantee you will develop one. Researchers still do not understand all of the genetic variations which put people at higher risk for mental illnesses, though those identified so far might account for only part of your susceptibility.
Scientists discovered, for instance, that variations on two genes that control calcium flow into brain cells contained disease-linked variations on chromosomes 3 and 10; these genes have been linked with depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and anxiety disorders.
Scientists previously believed that mental disorders resulted from both genetic and environmental influences. While this theory remains relevant today, certain genes seem to increase your chances of depression or schizophrenia more readily than others.
Life experience and environment both play an essential part in whether someone develops mental illness. Family history plays an essential role; for instance, your chances of mental disorder increase significantly if close relatives have one.
Traumatic experiences like the death of a loved one or natural disasters may also increase your susceptibility to mental illnesses like depression. Lacking trust among community members and not feeling as though life has meaning can increase the chance that mental disorders occur; air pollution is another environmental factor which could play a part in this.
Many mental illnesses are caused by chemical imbalances in the brain, specifically changes to neurotransmitters that lead to depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
Researchers are still uncovering what causes mental illness, with findings suggesting genes do play a part in some disorders. Studies also demonstrate that individuals who have close blood relatives with mental illnesses are more likely to be susceptible to their own similar conditions.
Infections or toxins may also contribute to mental health problems, including dementia and depression in some instances of AIDS, while streptococcus infections like babesiosis as well as alcohol can have devastating consequences for mental health.
Mental illnesses should be recognized as legitimate medical conditions. Much like heart disease, diabetes or any other chronic illness, those suffering from mental illnesses can benefit from medical intervention – not their fault and not due to lack of character or poor upbringing; stereotypes regarding people living with mental illnesses should not exist.
No one knows for certain what causes mood disorders, though they often run in families. Knowing someone with depression increases the odds that you might develop it as well. Other risk factors could include early life trauma like physical or emotional abuse; experiencing dangerous events like war that lead to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD); long-term substance abuse linked with anxiety, depression and paranoia; as well as infections caused by Streptococcus bacteria or certain viruses affecting brain function.
Diabetes and certain forms of cancer can significantly impact one’s mood, as can hormonal fluctuations leading to premenstrual dysphoric disorder and postpartum depression. Cognitive-behavioral or interpersonal therapy is often effective at helping manage symptoms while improving relationships and functional abilities; medication may also play a part in some instances. Electroconvulsive therapy and transcranial magnetic stimulation have also proven helpful with some mental health disorders like schizophrenia.