Here’s an article a friend passed along that highlights a new study on the challenges of tracking down the cause of different types of mental illnesses. A 2003 study linked a gene mutation that interrupted the neurochemical seratonin increased the risk of depression. The new study seems to refute that claim, or at least temper it quite a bit. Here’s one quotation:
Study Refutes Depression Gene Finding – Yahoo! News: “Scientists have had an unusually tough time linking specific genes with different psychiatric illnesses, such as depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. The likely reason: The genetic and environmental interactions are both more subtle and more complex than in many other diseases, said Keith A. Young, vice chair of research at the Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science.”
The “cause” of depression is elusive and tricky. Biochemical, situational, and spiritual elements can all come into play. How to unravel the mystery? We, of course, may never be able to completely unravel it. As Lutherans, though, we are blessed with an understanding of God’s world that takes into consideration all of these factors, and does not see them as contradictory. I can look at mental illness, recognize the physiological causes, but also see how my life affects it, and how my spiritual life impacts and is impacted by it.
One thing is for sure. It’s not as clear as a broken leg.