Mental Issues Are Not Just In Your Head

Mental health is becoming recognized more every day in different cultures. Diagnosis of mental health has histortically transitioned from being considered barbaric to becoming medical conditions. Now, we're looking into spectrums of mental disorders. Nonetheless, the DSM-V continues to operate using specific criteria diagnosis that can be interpreted subjectively at times. Professionally, however, and more recently in academics, psychologist have begun treating mental illnesses with a more holistic approach. They have come to realize and accept that most people with mental illness have multiple factors contributing to the illness. Some common defaults assumptions are that biology is the driving factor or maybe the person's parents made their child develop an illness. But, mental illnesses are more complex than the brain's structure and our parenting, and they are definitely not something you can think away in a heart beat. Coping in a healthly way with (or maybe even overcoming?) a mental illness is a challenge. This is due to the many factors influencing our development and thus our mental health (in a similar way to physical health). 

Biological factors 

Let's start with the basics– biology. Our brains are definitely an important part of how we develop; however, keep in mind that environmental factors are also important to our development. Nonethless, we are still influnced by our genetics, hormone production, prenatal development (womb environment), phenotype, and brain strucutral development. Sometimes these factors are more influential over other, and sometimes not; this depends on the illness as well as the individual. 

Psychological factors

This is your higher cognitive self that cannot fully be reduced to brain structure. One major part is your personality– how you behave and react consistently in a variety of situations. You can think of aspects of personality as being OCEAN (openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism). Also, such things as trauma and learning can affect your psyche. This can aid or hinder someone with development or redution of a mental illness. 

Cultural factors 

Culture is that sneaky influence that can really drive us in certain aspect. Of course, the other factors are an influence, but culture surrounds us in every day life. Culture includes such things as the following: attitudes, belief, language, customs, ritual, behavior, faith/religion, food, art/drama/music, and probably more. Some have speculated that the fast pace of the U.S. could be a cultural factor pushing anxiety onto people in order to keep up. 

Social/Familial Factors 

Similar to the cultural factors, social factors surround us in every day life and everywhere we go, unless you isolate yourself (which would also be influencing your psyche). However, social and familial factors are more personal and come from those you are personally in contact with versus strangers and society as a whole. Family and friends are vital to our mental health since we are social creatures. Those closest to us, especially, can either help us cope with an illness or they can push us further into the disease and evoke worse symptoms.