Are genes to blame for mental illness?

Are genes to blame for mental illness?

Most of the time the blame for psychiatric diseases is inadvertently put on the stresses of life. As a result, the role of biological vulnerability in increasing the risk of developing mental disorders remains neglected and less discussed among the medical fraternity and the common masses. Since the brain is one of the most complex parts of the body, it is necessary to comprehend the way the interaction between biological, psychological and social factors affects it. Therefore, one cannot pinpoint the exact reasons for the rise of mental disorders.

With the availability of a large number of studies, it is becoming clear that mental illness is not a personal weakness, a character defect, or simply a matter of will and self-discipline. In fact, many mental disorders appear to be strongly associated with genetics.

Mental disorders having genetic roots

Though there are many other mental disorders that have a genetic basis, the below-mentioned mental health disorders appear to be strongly associated with genetics according to many research studies:

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD): Though people had been aware of the inherited nature of OCD for a while, it was only the definitive study conducted in 2000 that determined a strong connection between an individual having an OCD family member (or several members) to developing OCD at a young age. In 2010, another study revealed the possible chromosomes that might be responsible for OCD. However, heredity is only part of the picture and OCD can also be caused by environmental factors.
  • Schizophrenia: This is one of the toughest psychiatric problems to diagnose and treat, but it is increasingly believed that it develops due to an underlying chemical imbalance in the brain that can be inherited from relatives. There does not seem to be a single “schizophrenia gene,” but instead a distinct cluster of genes that causes different types of schizophrenia.
  • Bipolar disorder: Although chemical imbalance is one of the risk factors that increases the chances of development of this disease, a plenty of environmental factors also seem to play a key role. Despite the absence of accurate findings, it is largely well understood that heredity does seem to play an important role in the development of this disorder, such that if a person has a twin with this disorder then his or her own risk of developing this disease increases by 89 to 93 percent.
  • Depression: In 2011, a large study identified one chromosome that might be a trigger for the possible development of depression. Around 40 percent of the sufferers who have sought help seem to have at least one close family member with the same problem. This number maybe even higher as not all people going through depression get help for their condition and others may not realize that their relatives have the same condition.

The importance of finding out the genetic link to mental illness cannot be overstated. By comprehending the association between genetics and mental illness, people with such disorders would be able to make informed choices to curb any consequences on their children. It would also help parents in understanding their children’s behavior early on and providing answers to the patients on why they feel a certain way. By undertaking further research, there is a possibility of curing mental illnesses that have genetic basis. However, as of now, we are significantly far from understanding all the genes involved.

Path to recovery

Mental health is the key to healthy relationships and emotional well-being that contribute to the advancement of the community or society. Mental illness is a condition that influences a person in the way he or she thinks, feels, behaves and relates to others and to his or her surroundings. When mental disorders remain untreated, people going through such problems are is often unable to cope with life’s daily routines and demands.

Although the symptoms of mental illness can range from mild to severe, it is crucial to get immediate help. If you or your loved one is suffering from mental illness, contact the Colorado Mental Health Help representatives who can guide you on a wide range of mental health treatment centers in Colorado offering evidence-based treatment. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-899-5063 or chat online with our experts for advice on the best mental health rehab in Colorado.