My posts so far have been inclined towards the plethora of social and interpersonal issues impacting mental health. The more I delve into these issues, the more it seems to me that there ought to be something more than genes that leads to the manifestation of mental illness. If mental illness was a mere matter of tweaked neurochemicals, we should have been much closer to developing cures for them....but this should have been equally true if they were just about disturbed psychological and social mechanisms.
A walk down the evolution of the causes of mental illness throws in varied conceptions for the manifestation of mental anomalies: faulty parents, faulty genes, faulty families, faulty pregnancies, and faulty thresholds...combining together to make an enormous faulty jumble of yarn, the threads of which still needs to be unraveled by experts. The blame game has veered dangerously from psychological extremism to biological determinism. So, while millions of stricken families in the 1950s and '60s reeled under the stigma and guilt of the highly criticized theories of cold parenting and peculiar communication patterns cited as potential causes of mental illness, in the '90s, genetic studies of questionable methodologies started building their arsenal of biological determinism of mental illness. These dichotomous camps gradually started towards an amalgamation of their viewpoints to emerge with what we today call the biopsychosocial perspective of mental illness; something that I had briefly touched upon in a previous post. The absolute answers, however, still remain elusive, partly due to the enigmatic nature of the human brain/mind. Researchers today are focusing on the minute details which might account for the diverse etiology of mental illness...right from specific genetic material, to specific cognitive mechanisms and pathways, to specific social exchanges in a bid to join the scattered pieces together. But how does this research meaningfully connect together to give a holistic view, a view that might explain most of the experiences of mental illness?
It would be ideal if advances in research answer the questions that are most bothersome for consumers. However, most practitioners themselves are fuzzy about the latest research and lack the skills or initiative to bridge the gap in the knowledge that patients have about their illnesses. Meanwhile, with this lack of guidance and unhappy with merely popping pills under the guidance of their doctor, consumers seek information from often-unreliable sources, which compounds the problems. What are the avenues we need to explore to bridge this gap between consumer knowledge and optimal service delivery? How do we ensure that research makes an impact on contemporary clinical practice? Does anybody have any insight into these questions?
P.S.: Its great to hear feedback from readers, so if you have any view on these questions, please leave your comments so we can turn this into a dialogue.