Causes of mental illness

What are the causes of mental illness

Page Content
  1. Introduction
  2. The biological factors involved in mental illnesses
  3. Psychological factors which may contribute to mental illness
  4. Environmental factors which might contribute to mental illness



The causes of mental illness can be complicating and diverse. A lot of mental illnesses are caused by biological, environmental, and psychological factors.

The biological factors involved in mental illnesses


In the brain the there are special chemicals these are called neurotransmitters. The purpose of these neurotransmitters is to assist the brain's nerve cells to communicate together.

When the neurotransmitters are not balanced or not functioning properly, messages might not travel to the brain in the correct manner, as of result of this mental illness symptoms develop.

Additionally, injury and defects in some areas are connected to various mental conditions. Additional biological factors which might play a part mental illness development include bad nutrition and exposure to toxins like lead as well as the following


There are some infections which are connected to mental illness development, worsening of mental disorder symptoms and brain damage.

For example scientists at Columbia University in 2006 stated that as much one fifth of schizophrenia cases occur because of prenatal infections.

Bipolar disorder, ocd (obsessive-compulsive disorder) and autism have been connected to parasitic, viral and bacterial infections.

These infections can

  • Put our own brain cells under attack
  • Cause immune reactions which hinder the development of the brain
  • Directly affect our brain


Numerous mental disorders run in families, which suggest that it is passed from parental genes to the children's genes.

Numerous scientists and doctors believe lots of mental illnesses are connected to irregularities in multiple genes rather than just one. This would explain why someone would inherit the susceptibility but not necessarily develop the condition.

However interaction of the genes and environmental stressors and psychological trauma can trigger or influence the mental illiness in a person who has inherited susceptibility to the disorder.

Psychological factors which may contribute to mental illness


There are several psychological factors that can contribute to mental disorders they include

  • psychological trauma like physical, sexual and emotional abuse suffered as an adult or as a child
  • A loss of a parent at an early age
  • An inability to communicate to others

Environmental factors which might contribute to mental illness


Stressors which can cause an illness in those who are susceptible to mental illness include
  • Divorce, relationship breakup, death
  • Changing schools or jobs
  • Feelings of anger, low self esteem, loneliness or anxiety
  • Poverty and unemployment
  • Pregnancy and birth

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