Mental illness is a combination of factors

by Dr. Alan Kadish NMD

The concept that mental illness is solely dependent on ones genes or exposures is fraught with misconception. With the newest findings we know that a combination of many factors leads to an outcome.

Let’s explore some well known examples. During menopause the change in hormonal levels can result in mood lability. Common and not thought of as a mental illness, but certainly changes ones behaviors. If you consider that the environment is causing changes in our hormones via hormone disruptors clearly this behavior is far more than just and inevitability of time. For men the circulating testosterone levels can be also adversely influenced by environmental hormone disruptors.

An what about that bonk on the head. Regardless of how long ago and to some extent even how much you changed the way your brain works. There are therapies for concussions and clearly it’s not a genetic issue.

There are genetic predispositions for some and typically they need a trigger to cause a disruptive result. If your genetics place you at risk for a mental disorder, would it not be prudent to know this and then take any and all efforts to decrease the level or even the trigger ? Consider the now very well known changes in lack of folic acid. Mental changes are a typical response, yet simple testing of your genes may be more than adequate to know that a bit of methyl folate, an inexpensive, safe and over the counter vitamin can make all the difference.

At the Center of Health we have seen many significant changes in our patients when triggers, ranging from food colorings to classes of medications, from hormone disruptors to carcinogens are removed, most people experience a very significant positive change, often times in mood and behaviors.

Time for an in depth check of your situation, both genetically as well as “medically” ? Call us at the Center 541.773.3191

 

Study: Influence of Genetics on Mental Health Depends on Environment
The same genes can make people more sensitive to their experiences, “for better of for worse,” psychologists argue.

By Tanya Lewis | July 20, 2016

The same genes could make a person feel happy or depressed, depending on their environment. Combining research on genetics and cognitive biases—our mental “filters” for interpreting the world—will contribute to a greater understanding of mental disorders and could lead to improved therapies, Elaine Fox of University of Oxford and Chris Beevers of the University of Texas at Austin suggest in a perspective published yesterday (July 19) in Molecular Psychiatry.

“We suggest that while no gene ‘causes’ mental ill health, some genes can make people more sensitive to the effects of their environment—for better and for worse,” Fox said in a statement.

Fox and Beevers reviewed studies on both mental health genetics and cognitive biases, attempting to explain how the two work in concert to influence mental health.

Studies show that cognitive bias can greatly influence sensitivity to one’s environment, Fox and Beevers reported in their perspective. For example, inducing a negative attentional bias can increase a person’s response to a stressful situation, whereas reducing the negative bias can decrease that person’s stress response. However, the small size and assumptions of these studies has limited their importance, according to Fox and Beevers.

Likewise, genetics studies have identified variants, such as the serotonin transporter-linked polymorphic region (5-HTTLPR) short (S) allele, which make people more sensitive to their environments. People with this S allele are more likely than people with the long (L) variant to develop psychiatric disorders after experiencing adversity in childhood, studies have shown.

“There is a lot of research about these biases, and a lot of research about genes that may make people susceptible to mental ill health,” Beevers said in the statement. “However, we suggest that it could make more sense to bring together these two areas of research.”

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Dr. Kadish is an unusual physician often referred to as a "doctor detective". His expertise is the evaluation and treatment of complex disorders, typically after other physicians have been stumped, is renowned. He provides care for all family members and has additional training in autistic spectrum disorders and chronic complex diseases.