Causes of Mental Disorders
The causes of most mental disorders are unknown, but the dimensions are becoming more understood.
What we do know about causes:
- Several factors interact to produce a mental disorder:
- Individual intrapsychic situation
- family circumstances
- social influences
- biological and genetic factors
- Trauma and stress can be significant aggravating factors
- What initiates a disorder is usually different from what perpetuates it. What initiates and perpetuates a disorder may differ from what exacerbates it.
- A person may have a predisposition, or latent susceptibility, to a disorder which may be activated under certain conditions such as stress.
And, it is important to note:
- Not all aberrant behavior is a mental disorder. Interactions between various drugs that a person may be taking can cause problem behavior. These interactions can vary by age, sex, with various combinations of prescribed and over-the-counter medications.
Genetic factors in Mental Disorders
Based on studies of twins and adoptees:
- Disorders with a significant genetic link: Schizophrenia, Bi-polar disorder, Depression
- Disorders with a weaker genetic link: Panic attack, Obsessive-compulsive disorder
Essential Psychopathology and Its Treatment, Second Edition by Jerrold S. Maxmen and Nicholas G. Ward, pp 57-79.