What Can Cause a Mental Illness is Social Problem?

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Updated: Aug 17, 2023
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Whenever someone hears the word “mental illness,” they automatically assume the worst, and those individuals are seen as different. The term comes with a negative connotation, dating back to the Stone Age. The limited knowledge of mental illnesses was documented in the early 1500s. There might have been studies on mental illnesses, but no tests were conducted for correct treatment. These people have been seen as outsiders instead of ordinary individuals. There are many factors that could cause an individual to be born with a mental illness or develop one later in life.

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Unlike physical illnesses, mental illnesses cannot be diagnosed with a blood test or x-ray. Kirsten Weir (2012) asked the questions, “Are mental illnesses simply physical diseases that happen to strike the brain? Or do these disorders belong to a class all their own?” (p.30). Whether these are diseases that strike randomly or have specific causes, there is a definite need for more research to help eliminate these causes.

The primary causes of mental illness can be loosely categorized into three groups: biological factors, psychological factors, and environmental factors. Each type of treatment might also contribute different causes towards mental illnesses. The term “biological factors” refers to the biological or genetic variations that disconnect an individual from the neurotransmitters in their brain or cause a chemical imbalance. These are factors that someone can be born with or develop later in life due to a disease. People without mental illnesses often view certain mental illnesses differently. By this, I mean that people have self-devised conclusions that different types of mental illness are caused by varying factors. In a study, Link, B.G., Phelan, J.C., Bresnahan, M., Stueve, A., Pescosolido, B.A (2017) asked people which mental illness is related to which factor, “For schizophrenia and major depression, the second most commonly endorsed cause was a chemical imbalance in the brain” (p.1330). Schizophrenia is based on genetics, and it can be passed down from generations. Still, this doesn’t guarantee the illness always gets transferred, but the chance of inheriting the illness is higher.

Schizophrenia can develop in a person spontaneously or be brought on by stress, among other factors. There is not just one focus area when dealing with mental health. Other aspects such as environmental factors, family history, and childhood circumstances should also be considered. There will not be much information on mental illnesses if the only area studied is the brain (Weir, 2012, p.30). To understand more about mental illnesses, professionals need to delve deeper into the patient’s brain and background. Apart from biological causes, there are also psychological causes of mental illnesses. Research has proven that stress plays a significant role in mental disorders. According to Calcia, M.A., Bonsall, D.R., Bloomfield, P.S., Selvaraj, S., Barichello, T., & Howes, O.D. (2016) in their article in Psychopharmacology, “Large-scale epidemiological studies have shown that stress, both early in childhood and later in life, predisposes one to the development of mental health problems in adulthood” (pp.1637-1650).

When the word “stress” is mentioned, it typically refers to the stress children experience while adapting to new situations: attending new schools, moving homes due to divorce or lack of finances. The stress that people encounter in adulthood could range from handling schoolwork at university to uncertainty about choosing a life path, which could significantly burden their lives. When a stressor enters someone’s life, their behavior may start to alter and could become more agitated, hostile, or even elicit aggressive feelings. Many people face stress related to school, work, or other aspects of life, but the type of stress that could potentially lead to mental disorders is incredibly severe. This kind of stress can give rise to anxiety and compulsive disorders.

Different types of stressors impact certain parts of the brain. Examples of such stressors and the brain areas they affect include repeated social defeat, prolonged restraint, and prenatal stress, which can adversely affect the hippocampus (Cilia, M.A. et.al., 2016, pp.1637-1650). This information was gleaned from studying stress and neuroinflammation. The study tracked brain activity in response to varying stressors in an individual’s life. Subjects without severe stressors showed less impact on their hippocampus compared to those with traumatic stressors. Further research is being conducted to determine which brain areas are affected and the kinds of treatments that can most effectively address mental illnesses. Finally, it is worth noting that environmental factors significantly contribute to some mental illnesses.

Some of these factors include a hostile or dysfunctional family environment, substantial changes in one’s life, or a stressful change in scenery. Life changes can be particularly hard for some people to handle, leading to stress and anxiety. Studies have been conducted on epigenetics, which could help establish the link between mental illness causes and biological factors (Weir, 2012, p.30). In the brain, molecules called genetic markers bind to DNA, capable of activating or deactivating genes. These markers may not impact an individual’s current lifestyle, but they could affect future generations. The aforementioned study accounted for environmental factors, including social isolation, food and water deprivation, and social defeat.

Although these tests were not performed on humans, the stressors had similar effects on the test subjects’ brains as they would have had on a human’s. The stressors that shape someone’s life greatly influence their development as they age. Childhood experiences tend to linger in people’s minds into adulthood. Environmental incidents can have a longstanding effect on a person and their psyche. Treatments are designed to assist mentally ill patients, although some treatment plans may not be suitable for certain individuals. Therefore, these treatment plans consistently need to be adjusted to best suit the patient and their needs. Factors like dosage, type of medication, and combination of medications are frequently altered in the treatment of the mentally ill. The most suitable medication for a patient will depend on their specific type of mental illness and their body’s response to the medication. Commonly used medicines include antidepressants, anti-anxiety medication, mood-stabilizing medications, and antipsychotic medication, which are used to help soothe patients or prevent them from becoming overly agitated or despondent.

These medicines, just like all others, come with side effects. However, someone who does not take the correct medicine could exacerbate their mental illness. People with mental illnesses often refrain from taking their medicine because they do not like how it makes them feel. The medicine could make them tired, cause headaches, and make them dizzy. Some illnesses should not be treated with drugs but rather with psychotherapy. This method is a form of talking therapy. Some individuals’ problems could be rooted in something that happened when they were younger; they need to talk it out to find the root of the problem and better cope.

Mental disorders have many different causes, which are loosely categorized into biological causes, environmental causes, and psychological causes. Using the term loosely when discussing these categories indicates that one cause could fall into two categories, or it could be one that does not fit into any group. Different treatments may cause different symptoms in patients or produce varied outcomes. Although mental illnesses have been a topic of study for quite some time, there still is not enough information as to how they are caused or what can cure them. There should not be a negative connotation associated with the term mental illness. These individuals have a chemical imbalance or a stressor in their life. They did not choose to be this way; all they want is to be accepted in a normal society.

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What Can Cause a Mental Illness is Social Problem?. (2023, Feb 03). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/what-can-cause-a-mental-illness-is-social-problem/