News just in: a revolutionary idea brought about by a recently uncovered connection between anxiety, depression, OCD, and other mental health issues, suggests that mental health conditions are due to a single cause. Naturally, this is creating massive shock waves within the health community.
Mental Health Affects Us All
“Mental health conditions, including everything from depression and phobias to anorexia and schizophrenia, are shockingly common”
Life is not all plain sailing, and everyone of us have gone through the spectrum of mental health woes: anxiety, low mood, feeling down, sad, worried, and even paranoid. And while most of these unwelcome conditions are usually just fleeting, if they continue, or get worse, our lives can quickly spiral out of control, negatively affecting not just us, but our family, loves ones, and work colleagues.
Should We Lump All Mental Health Conditions Together?
Even people who are not medically qualified, can understand the drawbacks to not connecting the dots. And many of us have seen that mental health issues can be interrelated. So how is a mental health problem diagnosed? Well, the procedure usually kicks off with a medical diagnosis: “a mental health professional evaluates the symptoms, and determines which of the hundreds of conditions listed in psychiatry’s classification bible, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, best fits,” after which, the patient is given specific treatment tailored to their circumstances.
And while this process appears to be an obvious approach, the question as to whether it is in fact, the right one, has now been put forward. Anke Hammerschlag, a well known neuroscientist at Amsterdam’s Vrije University, notes: “For millennia, we’ve put all these psychiatric conditions in separate corners, but maybe that’s not how it works biologically.”
The P Factor
Things are changing: research methods are becoming more cutting-edge, and there is now more and more persuasive evidence, that Hammerschlag is on the right path. The latest studies indicate that: “instead of being separate conditions, many mental health problems appear to share an underlying cause, something researchers now call the “p factor”.
Time For A Shake Up
As a result, this important discovery is potentially set to drastically alter the way in which mental health conditions are diagnosed and treated, thus attributing more focus on symptoms rather than labels, and providing more general treatments. Moreover, it explains: “puzzling patterns in the occurrence of these conditions in individuals and families. Rethinking mental health this way could be revolutionary.” And this sentiment is reiterated by the renowned behavioral geneticist at London’s King’s College, Robert Plomin, who notes: “I don’t think there are such things as [discrete] mental disorders.”
So What Causes Mental Health Issues?
As you can imagine, there is a broad spectrum of causes, and it seems likely that in many cases, these are due to an intricate mixture of different elements – although we are of course, all unique, so some individuals can be more affected by certain factors. The New Scientist gives more information on this incredibly complex condition, which needs to be addressed in a far better way than it is now…