Causes of Mental illness is being discussed in this article.Mental Illness is defined as prolonged departure from the individual’s normal standard of thinking, feeling and acting.”The term mental illness refers to a wide range of mental health conditions, ie disorders that affect mood, thought, and behavior. Examples of mental illnesses include depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders and addictive behaviors.It is a prolonged departure because there are many conditions in which there are temporary departures from the normal standard of thinking, feeling and acting which are not called insanity. Thus, in intoxication one neither thinks, feels nor acts as when sober, but this condition is not accounted insanity, and the individual is fully responsible in the eyes of the law for his conduct.
There are about 450 million people worldwide who suffer from mental disorders. People who are often subject to social isolation, low quality of life and high mortality. Mental disorders, including schizophrenia, depression, anxiety disorders, anorexia and nerve bulimia, alcohol and alcohol abuse and obsessive-compulsive disorders are an important public health problem.
In the delirium of fever, due to over-heating of the blood, its too rapid circulation, and its conveying deleterious or poisonous substances to the brain, the individual is temporarily deprived of his ability to think, feel and act normally. It is true of shock, a blow on the head, fright, an epileptic convulsion, fainting (from loss of blood, or heart failure), and apoplexy, that there may be temporary loss of consciousness and the mind does not act naturally; but the individual thus suffering is not regarded insane. Insanity may develop in consequence of injury, in consequence of the delirium of fever, in consequence of the loss of blood, in con-sequence of apoplexy or epilepsy; but the condition itself is not an insane condition.*
The definition speaks of the individual’s normal standard. This means that every case is a law unto itself; that there is no fixed standard of thinking, feeling and acting. It cannot be said, for example, because one does not act under certain conditions as his neighbor acts, because he does not show the same amount of feeling that his neighbor manifests, or because he does not think in the same lines that his neighbor thinks, that he is insane and the other sane. In giving an opinion as to whether insanity exists, it is necessary to compare the person’s present with his former habits of thinking, feeling and acting.The “ departure” may display itself in complete change in characteristics, tastes and tendencies, in simple perversions of the feelings and judgments, or in an exaggeration of natural traits of character.
Causes OF Mental Illness.
These are as numerous as the causes of disease in general. They may be classified for convenience as follows:The word insanity means literally “ unsoundness,” but it is the medical, not the literal, meaning which is here given. Indirect physical, and emotional causes, about 14. per cent.*Indirect physical, and emotional causes, about 14. per cent.*Vicious habits, about 25 per cent.Constitutional and evolution causes, about 25 per cent.
1. Direct Physical Causes.
These are such as affect mental operations through direct action upon the brain: as a blow on the head; injury; hemorrhage; disease of any kind, as cancer, consumption, Bright’s disease; child-bearing and its attendant perils; prolonged nursing, etc. In each of these there is a direct action upon the brain, either from violence, through increase or diminution of its blood supply, through deleterious substances carried in the blood, or through altered nervous sensations going from the part affected to the brain.
2. Indirect Physical, and Emotional Causes.
Under this head are grouped: fright; shock (not from injury, but mental shock); grief; care and anxiety; business failure: trouble of all kinds; domestic infelicity; disappointed affections; the feigning of insanity; etc. Causes such as these affect the brain indirectly through the physical system. The man who has failed in business, for example, loses sleep over it; he does not take the proper amount of exercise, perhaps through fear of meeting acquaintances and having his troubles brought vividly before his mind; his appe-tite is impaired—he takes food indifferently, or refuses it altogether.
He has actual dis-relish for food— this because his changed habits of life have brought about disorder with the emunctories of the system— the bowels, kidneys, skin and lungs. What food he takes is imperfectly digested and badly assimilated. The blood supply to the brain is insufficient and impoverished in quality. Sleep is troubled by painful dreams, it does not rest him, and the process of repair which constantly goes on in the brain during sleep in the normal state is not carried on naturally during the period of emotional strain.
Eventually, through all these causes, he loses his ability to think, to feel, to act naturally, and there comes to be a prolonged departure from his normal standard in these respects,constituting insanity is impaired—he takes food indifferently, or refuses it altogether. He has actual dis-relish for food this because his changed habits of life have brought about disorder with the emunctories of the system— the bowels, kidneys, skin and lungs. What food he takes is imperfectly digested and badly assimilated.
The blood supply to the brain is insufficient and impoverished in quality. Sleep is troubled by painful dreams, it does not rest him, and the process of repair which constantly goes on in the brain during sleep in the normal state is not carried on naturally during the period of emotional strain. Eventually, through all these causes, he loses his ability to think, to feel, to act naturally, and there comes to be a prolonged departure from his normal standard in these respects,—constituting insanity.
3. Vicious Habits.
Under this head are classed: intemperance; opium, chloral and cocaine habits; sexual excess; self-abuse; and all habits of life which directly undermine the physical constitution, and thus affect the brain.*
4. Constitutional and Evolutionary Causes.
Under this head come all causes of insanity which operate because of some innate defect in constitution or development of the individual. Here hereditary tend-*It will be observed that vicious habits are, after all, but direct causes; but for convenience and clearness they are separately considered.One inherits a susceptibility, so-called, to mental disease from intemperate, vicious, insane, or delicate ancestors. His nervous constitution is unequal to the task of carrying him through certain inevitable crises in development. There is known hereditary tendency to mental disease, either remote or immediate, in about fifty per cent, of all cases under treatment in large institutions. Probably if the facts were invariably discover able, the percentage would be found vastly greater.
Among the constitutional and evolutionary causes are
The pubescent period is that during which the boy or girl passes to manhood or womanhood. At this period the organs of reproduction take on development, and a change in the characteristics of the individual occurs. Certain desires, aspirations and tendencies not before felt are then first ■experienced. It is a critical time in the life of the individual, and, unless he or she is well organized, mental overthrow is apt to occur. A form of disease known as recurrent mania frequently develops at this stage of life. The age at which pubescence is established varies in different climates. For this climate it is approximately from 13 to 16 years.
Possibly the individual may have passed safely the pubescent period, having inherited sufficient nervous strength to carry him beyond this •first physiological crisis, but at the next developmental period—that of adolescence—he breaks down, without direct assignable cause, or from some cause which would be insufficient to produce insanity in one well constituted. The adolescent period comes at the age of 30 to 35.The mile-stones Pubescence and Adolescence may be left behind in the march of development, and the individual go on mentally well until the change of life—the so-known Climacteric Period. This change in a woman takes place at the age of about 45; in the man, between 50 and 60. It marks in both a stationary plane. The period of development is past, and those organs which took on activity at the time of the pubescent epoch begin to cease active functioning.
About fifteen years later—in the woman of 60, and the man of 70—Senile changes (those due to old age) make their appearance, and mental and bodily feebleness ensues. Frequently mental feebleness reaches such an extreme that insanity is said to exist.
Causes of mental disorder may be conveniently grouped under one of the four heads above mentioned. In every case the natural constitution of the individual figures to a greater or less extent. It is true of the direct and indirect physical causes, as well as of vicious habits, that a cause feeble in its intensity may produce a disturbance of balance in one not well organized, whereas one having a good nervous inheritance and strong mental equipment may be able to resist the cause and retain his integrity of mind.
Signs and symptoms of mental illness
Signs and symptoms of mental illness may vary, depending on the particular disorder, circumstances and other factors. Symptoms of mental illness can affect emotions, thoughts and behaviors.
Signs And Symptoms of Mental Illness
Thoughts confused or reduced concentration skills
Excessive fears or worries
Extreme mood changes with important stages of ups and downs
Significant fatigue, even without doing anything
Detachment from reality (delusions), paranoia or hallucinations
Inability to cope with daily problems or stress
Extreme guilt feeling
Alcohol or drugs
Important changes in dietary habits
Compulsive sexual desire
Excessive anger, hostility or violence