• Question: Are mental illnesses genetic?

    Asked by 356genp37 to Remsha, Oliver, Lisa, Kieran, Fiana, David on 7 Nov 2018.
    • Photo: Fiana

      Fiana answered on 7 Nov 2018:

      Great question! Mental illness comes from a combination of genetic and environmental factors. So this means that genetics only contribute a certain percentage (different for each illness) to the risk of getting the mental illness. The other factors, environmental factors, make up the rest of the risk. Now these environmental factors aren’t environmental in the sense of the weather and climate. Environmental is just the word we use for things that a person has been exposed to throughout life. I hope this makes sense be sure to ask if you have any other questions on this!

      Fiana 🙂

    • Photo: Remsha Afzal

      Remsha Afzal answered on 7 Nov 2018:

      As Fiana explained before, you cant pin it down to one thing! its a combination! The development of mental illness is rarely, if ever, caused by a single factor. When scientists and psychologists look at the causes of different mental illnesses they look at: biology (neurochemistry, brain structure, and genetics), environment like lifestyle events and childhood, and the interaction between these.

    • Photo: Oliver

      Oliver answered on 7 Nov 2018:

      What is also interesting is where negative traits, such as mental illness, can be sometimes found to be linked with positive traits, such as creativity, for instance, looking at research into exploring associations at a genetic level in some cases (eg. schizophrenia and bipolar disorder with creativity may share genetic roots). It is also important to note how at different times, some normal traits were termed as ‘mental illness’ and used as justifications for forced ‘treatments’ and even elimination, due to a misguided belief that they had ‘bad genes’.