Mental Illness Mostly Caused by Life Events Not Genetics, Argue Psychologists

Mental illness is largely caused by social crises such as unemployment or childhood abuse and too much money is spent researching genetic and biological factors, psychologists have warned.

Over the past decade funding bodies like the Medical Research Council (MRC) have spent hundreds of millions on determining the biology of mental illness.

But while there has been some success in uncovering genes which make people more susceptible to various disorders, specialists say that the true causes of depression and anxiety are from life events and environment, and research should be directed towards understanding the everyday triggers.

Peter Kinderman, Professor of Clinical Psychology at the University of Liverpool, told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “Of course every single action, every emotion I’ve ever had involves the brain, so to have a piece of scientific research telling us that the brain is involved in responding emotionally to events doesn’t really advance our understanding very much . . .

“It detracts from the idea that trauma in childhood is a very very powerful predictor of serious problems like experiencing psychotic events in adult life, so of course the brain is involved and of course genes are involved, but not very much, and an excessive focus on those issues takes us away from these very important social factors” (Read more from “Mental Illness Mostly Caused by Life Events Not Genetics, Argue Psychologists” HERE)

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