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Factors Causing Mental Disorders


A mental disorder can be defined as a significant clinical behavioral or psychological syndrome that happens to an individual. It is linked with a present distress or a disability with an increased risk of suffering, death, pain, disability or any significant loss of freedom. The effects of mental disorders are apparent and pervasive; including suffering the loss of freedom and life opportunities, negative impacts on several aspects of life and others. Mental disorders affect the work satisfaction and performance, complications in law, the institutions of healthcare and complicate the intensive scientific research into some causes and cures. Suffering, the loss of functioning and a perceived threat are being among the personal and social experiences that can lead to mental health services (Ainsworth & Baker, 2004). People with mental disorders experience anguish, confusion and, for some degree, they are unable to carry out their normal life.

Factors Causing Mental Disorders

Any mental disorder results from the variety of factors, which may be the complex of several factors. Factors may combine in complex or reciprocal ways so that people exposed to the same factors may not develop the same disorder. Similarly, different people exposed to different factors may develop a similar mental disorder. According to Friedman (2001), mental disorders can result from genetic influences on a set of brain functions that control the person’s thoughts and emotions, psychological disruptions in hormones such as testosterone and vasopressin,  malnutrition, stress and many others. Environmental factors such as the poor parental care, bad maternal nutrition, the maternal exposure to alcohol, tobacco and other drugs. Such causes are preventable.

The majority of mental disorders have a biological component. This means that a person suffering from such a disorder may have an abnormality in a brain structure or any function, through some genetic or environmental vulnerability; for example, the exposure to alcohol. In addition, there are some researchers who argue that the neurotransmitter imbalances may cause some mental disorders. However, when biochemical abnormalities are found among patients with mental disorders, it is hard to tell whether they are the causes or results of any illness or other consequences. Despite this, the progressive research has been made in unraveling the biochemistry of affective disorders. Neurotransmitters play a vital role of transmitting nerve impulses across a gap found between neurons. The main neurotransmitters include: dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine. Kiesler (1999) has noted that neurotransmitters that activate neurons lead to some disturbances of mood, emotions and thoughts.

There are the genetic disorders that can be inherited. For example, a bipolar disorder is inheritable. When a parent is diagnosed with the disorder, there is a probability that children will develop a disorder. The risk is twelve percent higher in such a child as compared to all other children. There are certain alterations in the chemical composition of genes carrying the hereditary information or the sequence of letters in the DNA. This process is known as an epigenetic change. These genes are directly inherited by children. In case a parent is mentally ill, hereditary information will be encoded in the chemical structure of the DNA may be normal. However, it functions abnormally due to epigenetic changes. Psychological explanations have also been offered as the factors causing some mental disorders. An individual conflict, stress and trauma may lead to the development of mental disorders. Brain impairment as mentioned earlier is caused by trauma. A car crash and a bullet wound are the perfect examples of traumatizing situations.

A mental disorder can result from the postponed exposure to some physical, chemical and biological agents including the second hand cigarette smoke. Health problems are linked to some lifestyle behaviors such as excessive alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking, unprotected sexual intercourse and inadequate consumption of fruit and vegetables.

There are many mental disorders. Their causes vary from one disorder to the other one. Anxiety is a mental disorder that is caused by so many factors. For example, “psychoactive drugs can markedly arouse intense psychomotor stimulation and numerous manifestations of anxiety”, which includes generalized anxiety as well as panic attack disorders (US Department of Health and Human Services, 1995). Stimulants and marijuana use “can prompt the emergence of anxiety symptoms” and “hallucinogenic drugs can cause intense emotional excitement and subsequent anxiety” (US Department of Health and Human Services, 1995). Stimulants like cocaine and amphetamines lead to the potent psychomotor stimulation. Intoxication by stimulants, including intoxication by caffeine, can lead to autonomic hyperactivity, motor tension, hyper-arousals, and panic attacks. Besides, chronic usage of stimulants can be provocative to the onset of compulsive behaviors as well as obsessions. “Acute stimulant withdrawal typically involves an agitated depression” (US Department of Health and Human Services, 1995). This is often accompanied with anxiety and sometimes with panic attacks.

Depressants, such as benzodiazepines and alcohol, can lead to an acute sedative-hypotonic withdrawal (US Department of Health and Human Services, 1995). Cessation of chronic opioids’ usage (heroin and/or methadone usage) can result into an acute opioid withdrawal. Such acute withdrawal from depressants can be followed by intense anxiety signs, such as autonomic hyperactivity, motor tension, hyper-arousal, depending on the tolerance degree (US Department of Health and Human Services, 1995).

Most drugs with hallucinating effects act as stimulants besides causing sensory and perceptual alterations. If the doses are low, sensory and perceptual effects dominate; if the doses are extremely high, stimulant effects take control. Hence, high doses of hallucinogenic drugs can lead to anxiety as well as panic disorders like other stimulating drugs (US Department of Health and Human Services, 1995). Although the effects of using hallucinogenics are pleasant, a good number of people may suffer from intense anxiety and even panic due to their usage. Some people may be scared by the sensory distortions, while others may be scared if the symptoms and experiences become permanent. Marijuana has the most sedative and hallucinogenic characteristics. It can cause numerous mood related disorders. “Acute marijuana intoxication” can involve periods of anxiety as well as panic (US Department of Health and Human Services, 1995). This is normally witnessed in individuals who have yet not become used to the effects of marijuana.

Stress is a mental disorder that is brought by a lot of factors. People view a concept of stress in many different ways. It is an internal response of the body to some external stimuli. Factors causing stress can be temporary or permanent. It can be caused by the daily activities such as schooling, working and even by people being around us. This is some of the reasons why stress is said to be a condition involving the psychological and psychological responses. The responses result from a transaction between an individual and an environment fostering the perception of beliefs. Every human being experiences some kind of stress. As a matter of fact, a certain amount of it is necessary for a good performance. Actually, stress improves the individual’s performance.

The causes of stress are divided into two categories: such psychological factors as sleep, fatigue, muscular tension; and such environmental factors as physical and social events. The social and environmental stressors can range from mild to terribly serious causes. For example, failing in an exam is a soft stressor. Meanwhile, being raped and robbed can cause a severe kind of stress. When one fails in the exam, he or she becomes quite anxious for some period of time. Later, one may forget about this incident after having passed it. In the extreme cases, i.e. as being raped, the incident causes the immense stress. Thus, it may have some lasting effects as a post - traumatic stress disorder. Post-traumatic stress can also be triggered by other traumatic experiences.

The environmental causes of stress occur externally; while the psychological reasons are derived from within. Another example of a mental disorder is depression. This is a mood disorder being secondary to a general medical condition with depressive features. It is substantially characterized by a prominent depressive mood or a loss of interest. The overwhelming majority of depression reasons occurs in the first stage of depression. A cause of depression is a result of any life event. It occurs due to some emotional changes and a feeling of helplessness of being unable to change the life conditions or feelings on everything that annoys.

It is widely recognized that the causes of depression and bipolar disorder are related to the changes at the neurotransmitter levels. However, the specific reason of the shifts in a neurotransmitter is yet to be identified. These conditions are not triggered by another physical or mental disorder. There are many physical illnesses or disorders as well as side effects of medication, which can result into depressive symptoms.

Retardation is a mental disease that has affected the lives of many people. There are several illnesses that can lead to the mental delay especially in a developing fetus. The most common ones include: syphilis, toxoplasmosis, rubella and others. There are also some severe diseases that produce the post-infectious encephalitis, which can cause the mental retardation in children, i.e. meningitis, rubella and chicken pox. Among all these illnesses, only rubella is reasonably controllable. Intoxication is also another factor that triggers the delay in a developing fetus. It can be brought by poisoning due to the maternal consumption of alcohol.

Genetic anomalies produce the clinical retardation in varying degrees of severity. The best known of these is a Down syndrome. It usually comes from the abnormal number of chromosomes. Perhaps, more than eighty percent of the known genetic reasons of mental delay are attributed to chromosomal anomalies. However, the clinical retardation can derive from the single-gene mutations.

It is estimated that one percent of the adult population in the United States of America experiences the persisting mood swings. A bipolar disorder is a heritable mental illness. Dse Regulations I circadian rhythms probably cause the affective and behavioral symptom patterns being described in the current Western psychiatric nosology as bipolar disorders1 and 11. Bipolar appears to be related to several issues that are associated with birth. Child birth acts as a psychological cause of bipolar.

A panic disorder is a mental illness that mostly affects teenagers. The variety of causes has been linked to the panic disorder. Today, most experts believe that panic disorder is caused by both psychological and biological factors. It is a complex illness because an actual combination of causes varies from one individual to another one. These reasons possibly interact and overlap with each other. The biological causes of this disorder are based on the individual’s heredity and brain chemistry. Heredity is passing down traits from parents to their children. Features are transferred from adults to their kids via genes in the blood. This is one way of showing how the disorder is being inherited. Many people without a family history of panic disorder also inherit the conditions.

Chemical imbalances in the brain can also cause a panic disorder. A part of the evidence is based on the certain medication that relieves some people’s symptoms of the disorder. Most of psychological causes are connected with stress in the person’s life experience. A lot of researches have shown that most people suffering from this disorder recall the stressful, unhappy and traumatic events. An example of such an experience is losing a parent at an early age. The major life changes can act as the powerful triggers of anxiety. A molding experience may be positive or negative. The anxiety comes from the adjustments that are made due to changes. A lot of people with panic disorder report of a radical life change a month before the first panic attack. The influence of some repeated or extended periods of stress plays a vital role in the development of panic disorders. Stress tends to appear when it is stretching out without any relief for many years. Relationships and divorce are some of the factors that can cause a permanent stress.

There are so many different kinds of phobia mental disorder. However, they share not much in common. Phobias may have the similar causes because the underlying reason of any fear may be remarkably the same. Not all psychiatrists agree on the reasons of phobia. Different theories have been proposed. Many psychologists believe that the fearful behaviors can be learned over some time. A person learns to be afraid of an object or an event because he or she connects the feelings of fear, anxiety and tension with some objects or events. Phobias can also be triggered by unconscious desires. These wishes are the desires that are unknown to mind. Phobia can also be caused by any trauma or an extremely upsetting event. This all often occurs in the childhood, thus, having a lasting effect on a person.

Eating disorder is also a mental illness. It is crucial to understand its causes. There are some psychological factors that cause such illnesses. Many women often try to lose their weight through dieting. Some of them usually have the normal weight before dieting. Clearly, the vast majority of girls that try to lose their weight do not develop the anorexia Nervosa. One of reasons for this is that dieting contributes to binge eating. As a result, this leads to the weight gain.

Autism Spectrum Disorder is also a mental related disorder. The reasons are actively researched to find out everything about this disorder. In most cases of the patients diagnosed with this disease, there is no cause identified. It is possible that there may be more than a pone cause or a combination of reasons. However, there is no any single cause. Actually, it is agreed that this is a mental disorder, and it has no psychological reason.

The causes of Schizophrenia have been researched for a terribly long time. The findings confirm that there are some biological, social and psychological factors  working to  cause and worsen all forms of this disease. The research also shows that this disorder runs in families. For instance, in one case study, sixteen percent of children with a problem in a family suffer from schizophrenia; while only two percent of kids with normal parents suffer with this disorder. The search for biological causes of this disorder also focuses on some abnormalities in the structure, functioning and chemistry of brain that tend to appear among people with schizophrenia. The numerous brain studies have shown that many patients that suffer from this disorder have fewer tissues in thalamic regions, prefrontal cortex and some subcortical areas (Thackery & Harris, 2003).

The shrinkage of tissue in these regions leads to the corresponding enlargement of brain fluid filled areas that are called ventricles. The brain areas, in which anatomical has been found, are active in the emotional expression, thinking and informational processing. The expression of a genetically transmitted predisposition of brain abnormality may be enhanced by such environmental factors as a maternal drug used during pregnancy, the lack of enough oxygen and other complications during birth. The psychological processes and social cultural factors can contribute to the appearance of Schizophrenia and influence on its cause.

These factors include the maladaptive learning experiences, dysfunctional congestive habits and some stressful family communication patterns. For example, criticism by family members, which is sometimes referred to as an expressed emotion, is associated with more severe symptoms. Schizophrenia patients that live with family members are critical and unsupportive or emotionally over-involved. They are especially similar to relapse following the improvement. Family members with a negative altitude may be a source of the increased stress, hence, increasing the chances that disruptive or odd behaviors will persist or worsen.

Some personality disorders are chronic. However, they are also not so severe. They are considered as the dysfunctional styles of living. They are mental illnesses that affect all areas of functioning starting from childhood and going on through adolescence. As for the causes, some studies have suggested that a genetic predisposition is one of them. Genes appear implicated in nearly all disorders. However, the available evidence suggests that the generic contribution of antisocial behaviors starting in adolescence or adulthood is modest.

A schizoaffective disorder is also a mental disorder. Scholars believe that this illness may be triggered by the imbalance in neurotransmitters, particularly the neurotransmitter dopamine. These imbalances may be due to genetic factors, i.e. the early effects of the environment on the developing brain. Another mental disorder is the ADHD. It has a number of causes. Some of them are genetic, while others are not. The following factors may cause the disorder. Parents exposing themselves to drugs and alcohol and some prescribed drugs can transfer this problem to their children (Susser, 2006). Genetic factors include children being born with a predisposition towards the symptoms of the ADHD or depression. Other kids in the same household being not predisposed might not develop the same problem. There are certain environmental contaminants contributing to the development of symptoms among certain kids. A need for the strong attachment from family members can contribute to the symptoms of the ADHD. Family problems and instability or the disorderly home can be the contributing factors for some people. Isolation and desperation for friendship can also lead to the symptoms of the ADHD (Sutton, 2009).

Over the past decade, there have been the discussions and explanations for Alzheimer’s disease. The symptoms of this illness may result from several processes in the human brain (Sutton, 2009). Knowing how these processes fit together and in which order they occur is a formidable challenge. One certainty about this disease is that it is associated with the formation of plagues and tangles, particularly in the parts of the brain. They control memory and other crucial cognitive functions. Great uncertainty remains as to what leads to these alterations. It is also not clear whether the development of plagues and tangles is a cause of the neuron death or these changes are a result of other underlying processes. They cause neurons to die and produce these abnormalities in a neural tissue as a product.


Following the discussion above, there so many factors which cause mental disorders. There are certain reasons that trigger more than one illness. Meanwhile, there are other ones that are only restricted to a certain mental disease. All these illnesses are linked with some dangers. If they are not sorted, they can result to death even.