the biological,  developmental and sociocultural components that combined work together to cause mental illness  

It is important to understand the biological,  developmental and sociocultural components that combined work together to cause mental illness

Genetics, injury and trauma, and hormonal fluctuations all contribute to psychopathology. Alzheimer’s, bipolar disorder and depression all have been found to have genetic tendency to run in families. Trauma to the temporal lobes in a traumatic brain injury can cause memory loss and personality changes (Sadock, Sadock and Ruiz, 2015).  Estrogen and progesterone fluctuations during menopause and menarche can cause mood swings and hypothyroidism has been known to cause depression (Sadock, Sadock, and Ruiz, 2015). Imbalances of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine cause depression and psychosis.

Having a genetic predisposition for an illness like bipolar or schizophrenia does not mean that a person will necessarily manifest that illness (Butcher and Kendall, 2018). Environmental factors like marijuana use or emotional trauma and stress can trigger the gene to be expressed ( Butcher and Kendall, 2018). Delayed or absent bonding between mothers and babies can cause reactive attachment disorder and is thought to be a cause of borderline personality disorder ( Butcher and Kendall, 2018). Reactive attachment disorder is very common in babies from Eastern European orphanages because they do not get the skin to skin contact that allows them to bond (Butcher and Kendall, 2018). 

Cultural competence is vital in accurately assessing for mental illness. In Asian cultures, mental illness is socially unacceptable so they often present with somatic complaints like sleeplessness, irritability, headache and GI upset, that fall under a label formerly referred to as neurasthenia, now called shenjing shuairuo (Schwartz, 2002). In Western cultures, these symptoms would fall under the category of anxiety or depressive disorders, but patients are not likely to seek help for a mental illness but they treat shenjing shuairuo with rest, healthy food and mild exercise (Schwartz, 2002).


Butcher, J. N., & Kendall, P. C. (2018). Introduction to childhood and adolescent psychopathology. In J. N. Butcher & P. C. Kendall (Eds.), APA handbook of psychopathology: Child and adolescent psychopathology., Vol. 2. (pp. 3–14). American Psychological Association.

Cheung, F. M., & Mak, W. W. S. (2018). Sociocultural factors in psychopathology. In J. N. Butcher & J. M. Hooley (Eds.), APA handbook of psychopathology: Psychopathology: Understanding, assessing, and treating adult mental disorders., Vol. 1. (pp. 127–147). American Psychological Association.

Schwartz, P.Y. (2002). Why is neurasthenia important in Asian cultures? Western Journal of Medicine, 176(4), 257

Sadock, B. J., Sadock, V. A., & Ruiz, P. (2015). Kaplan & Sadock’s synopsis of psychiatry (11th ed.). Wolters Kluwer.


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