What is Mental illness, What causes it ?

Mental health represents a state of well-being wherein individuals recognize their own capabilities, effectively manage the everyday challenges of life, maintain productivity, nurture positive relationships, and contribute to their communities. Conversely, mental illness can be understood as a state of suboptimal functioning, obstructing one's capacity to cope with stress, engage in productive living, or foster healthy relationships. Unfortunately, the term "mental illness" has acquired negative connotations in recent times, inadvertently creating a barrier between those in need of assistance and those capable of offering it.

Many people struggle to believe that conditions like depression or other mental illnesses have a mix of biological, social, genetic, and environmental causes. Mental health problems are often seen as personal weaknesses or as reactions to life's challenges. However, it's important to understand that our thoughts and behaviors are influenced by a combination of biology, social interactions, genetics, and our surroundings.

Our brains interpret the world around us, but how we perceive it can be influenced by our genes and how we've grown up in our society. Our thoughts and actions are controlled by the activity of our brain's cells, which can be affected by both our genes and the things we experience in our daily lives. What we like, what we're passionate about, and our life goals are all a result of how our brain's cells work, which is shaped by our social interactions and what we're exposed to.

Our brain cells communicate through chemicals called neurotransmitters, which can be affected by our genetic makeup and external factors. Changes in these communication pathways can lead to changes in our thoughts and behaviors that are hard to control. Medications help by adjusting these chemicals, leading to changes in behavior. Additionally, talking therapies can help correct abnormal brain networks influenced by a mix of genes, social interactions, and environmental factors.

It's important to understand that people dealing with depression don't want to be sad, those with alcohol problems don't choose addiction, and individuals with anxiety don't want to feel constant fear. It's not something they can just "snap out of," and it's not a sign of personal weakness. Asking someone facing these challenges to simply overcome them trivializes their struggle and makes them feel guilty.

The best approach is to seek professional help, recognizing that mental health is a result of a complex interplay of biology, social interactions, genetics, and the environment. Addressing these factors is crucial for effective treatment and support.

 Just like a genetic predisposition, poor dietary habits and a sedentary lifestyle can lead to diabetes, A complex combination of biological, psychological and social factors lead to mental illness . There is no such thing as a "weak mind".
Learn how stress can lead to illness here.

Psychiatry is a medical speciality, like surgery, general medicine and paediatrics. It involves the study, diagnosis and management of mental illnesses and distressing conditons, pertaining to both the mind and body. Misconceptions about psychiatric illness and treatment have some how prevented help seeking behaviour in those who need it the most. This Wall has to go, wherin visiting a psychiatrist should no longer be taboo, and people should be able to openly and freely discuss mental health issues. There are lot of misconceptions about how the brain functions and a lot of people who take advantage of such misconceptions. Please make sure that you take help from a qualified mental health professional.