There is no one cause of mental illness or mental health problems. It is most likely several factors coming together. For example, we are learning that many of the major mental illnesses involve chemical imbalances in the body.
Mental health problems are:
- biological: linked with problems with chemistry in the brain or other body system
- psychological: linked with issues with thought or emotion
- social: linked with life events and stresses
Mental health professionals look at all three of these when they design a plan for dealing with the problem or illness.
According to research, biological factors that may affect whether someone becomes seriously mentally ill include:
- damage done before birth
- birth trauma
- viral infection
- brain chemistry
Genetics may play a part, too. Studies show that close relatives of someone with schizophrenia or an affective disorder (like bipolar disorder) are much more likely to have the same illness. However, people don’t inherit the illness itself. They just inherit the tendency to get it.
Psychological and social factors could include:
- lack of support from relationships
- child abuse
- family violence
- major changes in life
- Death of closed one