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Frequently Asked Questions - Causes Of Psychiatric Illnesses
FAQs - Causes Of Psychiatric Illnesses

Psychological problem is not a sign of weakness. It occurs due to changes in the brain chemicals called neurotransmitters due to various influences. They can affect any person irrespective of age, sex, education, financial status or social support.

The person affected by mental illness may appear physically well but the symptoms change the person’s nature making him talk & behave differently. Due to the changes in a person’s identity, black magic/ possession by evil spirits became the belief of communities. Scientific advancements have helped us understand that mental illnesses are due to an interplay of biological (genes & brain),psychological and social factors and they affect the three realms of Emotion, Thinking & Behaviour.


We can easily understand the cause of medical illnesses like tuberculosis or malaria. Since we could not understand what goes wrong in mental illnesses, lot of superstitions & religious beliefs provided the explanation. There is no visible or measurable abnormality in mental illness unlike other medical illnesses which added to the mystery of cause of such illnesses. In similar fashion, people look for reasons in “Pitrudosh”, and “Karma” instead of accepting the illness and working on treatment.

Many of us have a tendency to attribute our difficulties and shortcomings to the supernatural and the mystical resulting in superstition. The same happens with mental illnesses.


In major mental illnesses, the impairment is so severe that one cannot work objectively on such advice. One has to accept medical and psychological treatment with an open mind. You cannot exercise with a broken leg!

These are likely to be symptoms of an unwell person. Some such episodes may be temporarily aborted by “Tantrik” rituals.

Usually, such symptoms are due to unresolved conflicts. Hence, these are repetitive unless treated with medicines and psychotherapy.

In some people, the biological and genetic factors predominate, leading to the occurrence of a mental illness even in the absence of identifiable stressors. Presence of a direct relation to stress is not necessary for illness to occur.


Mental illnesses develop due to multiple reasons. Hereditary factor is one of them. Genes confer a vulnerability to mental illness. The vulnerability may or may not result in illness depending on several other external factors. Thus, development of mental illness is not dependent only on family history.


Each one of us would respond differently to a given stressor. A mental disorder is defined by a cluster of symptoms lasting for a long duration of time (weeks) which incapacitates our ability to work and interact socially. Treatment attempts to restore normalcy which in turn helps to fight stress.Treatment gets priority irrespective of the cause. If a bone is broken, we don’t debate on the cause in order to fix it!

Just as medical illnesses can afflict anybody, mental illnesses can affect any person irrespective of age, sex, education, financial status or social support. High intelligence does not confer protection against mental illnesses. Even a doctor who is knowledgeable about mental illnesses is not immune to them.

It is hypothesized that stress can produce long lasting changes in the biology of the brain, so that even when the problems are long gone, the changes persist. So, one may utilize all the resources & cope during the stressful period but experience symptoms later due to the effects of cumulative stress and exhausted reserves.