This looks like one of the best commentaries I’ve seen debunking the theories that claim mental illness is purely genetic. It’s a bit long and dense and so I had a friend pick out the good parts for me. I’m still too impaired to read most of what I post here in full and sometimes I need help. Thanks to biopsychiatry trying to fix my brain that didn’t need fixing I’m pretty impaired now due to iatrogenesis. And I’m trying to do all I can to keep others from ending up where I am.
I’m still skilled at the perfunctory work of finding damn good articles though and I seem to truly be able to pick them as I was thrilled with what my friend presented me in her distillation presented below.
The genes don’t fit — New Statesmen
It’s lazy to assume that our health and happiness are moulded more by genetic inheritance than by the way we organise our societies. Scientific determinism isn’t the path to human progress.
On a wider plain, evidence is mounting that it is social factors, not genes, which explain why some groups suffer more from depression than others. In developed nations, women and people on low incomes are twice as likely to be depressed as men and the wealthy. Yet when their DNA is tested, neither women nor the poor are found more likely to have the variant. Worldwide, depression is least common in the Far East. Yet a study of 29 nations found the variant to be commonest there (in China, Japan, Korea, Singapore, Taiwan). The degree to which a society was collectivist rather than individualistic partly explained depression rates, not genes, according to Joan Chiao (et al) in Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.”
Here are convincing reasons, as I wrote in my book The Selfish Capitalist, for supposing that free-market (what I call selfish capitalist) economics are a leading cause of high levels of mental illness. Using data from a very reliable 2004 World Health Organisation study (the World Mental Health Consortium), I found that the prevalence of mental illness is twice as great in New Zealand and the US as in six relatively unselfish, capitalist, mainland western European nations (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain). If you include other studies for Australia, Canada and the UK, the average level of mental illness for all the English-speaking, selfish capitalist nations is 23 per cent of the general population, against 11.5 per cent for continental European countries. This cannot have anything to do with genes….
…Equally, physical or sexual abuse greatly increases the risk: the younger the maltreatment, the greater the harm. Thirteen studies have shown that at least half of all those diagnosed as schizophrenic have suffered some form of physical or sexual abuse, and it is increasingly being reinterpreted as a form of post-traumatic stress disorder rather than a genetic problem (see Models of Madness, edited by John Read, Loren Mosher and Richard Bentall)…
…The political implications of all this are awesome. Yet few politicians seem to have any knowledge of any of this research, partly because science journalists seldom write about it and partly because it so conflicts with the basic assumptions of the ruling elite. read the article