Causes of Emotional Distress – Richard Bentall’s work on-line

The Social Origins of Psychosis

Many of the presentations from the Soteria Network Conference, Derby, UK are now available on-line.

I would like to draw your attention to these slide based on 763 research reports from around the world on the causes of psychosis: The Social Origins of Psychosis from Richard Bentall and his team at Liverpool University.

Click on the link and then click on Richard Bentall – Be aware that the slides can take a minute or so to load – it is well worth the wait.

It appears that emotional distress and hence what is known as mental illness is due to what happens to us, and so far as anyone can tell there is no direct link to our genes.

This probably comes as no surprise if you have been bullied and abused.

Recognising bullying as a cause of mood disorder (Part 1 of 4 on bullying)

I was thinking about how bullying has been identified as a factor in the onset of psychosis and bipolar disorder. Then I remembered two articles I wrote about bullying in 2006 and thought these were worth republishing. These are about bullying sometimes being subtle and unseen and where the line might be between… well see what you think to this first one of the two…

Cruel to be Kind – Roger Smith 2006

“Singing involves giving pleasure: you can’t.” – Simon Cowell

“You dress better than you sing and you got dressed in the dark.” – Simon Cowell

This morning an email arrived from a friend that included a question about a straight talking judge on TV talent shows.

“So what do you think of Simon Cowell?”

During the day I found myself coming back to this question about Simon Cowell. I am aware that most TV audiences either love him or hate him because of his brutally honest comments. Fortunately, Simon has years of experience, is respected around the world and is mega-rich, so he can easily afford to speak his mind. But it leaves me wondering if maybe the world would be a better place if more of us dared to be more honest.

Then these words from the 1979 song by Nick Lowe came into my head:

“Cruel to be kind in the right measure
Cruel to be kind it’s a very good sign
Cruel to be kind means that I love you”

I just do not see Simon as, Mr Nasty. There are times when people need to be told the truth about themselves and sometimes such a message only seems to get through when delivered in a brutally honest way. I see Simon as cruel to be kind. Like in the song this must be a good thing providing it is, “in the right measure”.

In the work place, school or even at home this cruel-to-be-kind behaviour can be mistaken for bullying. There is a massive difference though as the bullies are either not seeing, or not caring about the hurt they are causing. Bullies also tend to be unaware of that their cruelty leads to stress that in turn can lead to poor work performance, absenteeism, depression and even suicide. There is a very serious side to the divide between not-bullying and bullying. It is this that will be discussed in the next issue.

Next time: Invisible bulliesDo you see bullying at work?

Now we know bipolar is not a genetic disorder…

The idea that mental illness was caused by bad genes was put forward by the Nazi party in 1936. Their propaganda, prior to World War II, altered opinions around the world and being such a simple concept it has stuck.

Science has not helped the situation by describing bipolar disorder as heritable, because it is influenced by the environment. It is now known that the Nazi idea was based on bad science. The heritable observations were entirely due to the environment, such as what was going on in the home that all family members were experiencing

All genetic studies to date:

1)      show no link to genetics

2)      environmental factors are the major cause of psychiatric problems

3)      fail to be repeatable

It turns out anyone can be diagnosed/labelled with bipolar disorder regardless of their genes. Genetics is not at all relevant to bipolar disorder. This has been proven by looking at all the published studies across the world.

On Friday 11th November 2011 Professor Richard Bentall presented a summary of evidence to date for the causes of psychotic illnesses. Major studies around the world have again and again shown that genetics are not significant.

Here is an example of how the myth been perpetuated: Four siblings were all diagnosed with schizophrenia and this was presented as evidence for a genetic link even after it was discovered that they had been repeatedly sexually abused by their father, with sexual abuse being known to be a major factor in developing psychosis regardless of a person’s genetic make-up.

Examination of 27,572 research papers has shown the following are all significant factors, sexual abuse, physical abuse, bullying, being of a very different skin color compared with the bulk of the population, being a homosexual, bisexual or trans-gender person in a place where people are not tolerant of such differences, diet, being from a poor family in a rich community, stigma of almost any kind, use of illegal drugs, use of legal drugs, living in a city. There will be other causes. This research did not show genetics to be a significant factor.

It has recently been found that the false teaching of genetics as a possible cause of mental disorder increases stigma and makes life more difficult for sufferers. This can be explained in the idea that, it is easier to live next door to a neighbor who seems to be struggling mentally due to stress, as most of us have experience of this, but it is difficult to relate to a neighbor who you believe has a faulty brain from birth. It will seem that they will always be different from you and you will not be able to help them.

There is no doubt at all that absolutely anyone can be diagnosed as having bipolar disorder regardless of race/genetics. Just look at the bipolar people we know – there is a complete spectrum.

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