Mental illness and Genetics

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There is no scientific proof that Mental illness is caused by genetic deficiencies in DNA.


  1. Chemical psychiatry has only two causes (etiologies) of mental illness: chemical imbalances and bad DNA. Their cure is always drugs.
  2. The chemical psychiatry industry and all mental health officials will tell you that mental illnesses can be traced down to the DNA level. They make it sound like they have seen the mental illness gene under a microscope! What they don't tell you, is that this is a theory and a guess!
  3. The reason they believe mental illness is caused by genetics is because they reject the spiritual side of man. They view man as a pile of chemicals and nothing more. This is called chemical psychiatry and it represents the 99.9% of all mental health theory.
  4. They theorize mental illness is caused by bad DNA because they have done social studies and noticed that mental illness runs in families. The problem with this is that many things unrelated to DNA run in families, like tastes in food, religion, they way you celebrate Christmas!
  5. Reginald Bibby, a sociologist with the university Lethbridge, Alberta, has long documented that the most significant factor in determining religious denominational affiliation, is the church the parents attended. Religion runs in families. But so does mental illness, anxiety, depression, alcoholism, poverty, divorce and high school drop outs. We understand why we would never look for a genetic cause for denominational affiliation, poverty, divorce or why entire ghettos have 90% drop out rates. So why would we look for a genetic cause for anxiety and depression? Genetic studies that are supposed to "prove" a genetic cause for mental illnesses are done by a verbal sociology survey, not an electron microscope in a scientific laboratory. The "science" and "proof" of a genetic cause for mental illness is when psychiatrists ask: "is there a family history of depression or anxiety in your family? The problem with this, is that anxiety and depression are learned responses to how to deal with life's everyday ups and downs.
  6. "Medicine is becoming an increasingly molecular discipline, and in none of its specialities is this change causing more of a stir than in psychiatry. This is because psychiatry has been dominated, for many years, by subjective approaches to mental illness that are as far as one can get from quantitative science. No wonder psychiatrists have been unsettled by the realization that the next major advances in their field are bound to come [ie still in the future] from genetics and molecular biology." (The Biological Approach to Psychiatry, Samuel H. Barondes, The Journal of Neuroscience, June 1990)
  7. "I am constantly amazed by how many patients who come to see me believe or want to believe that their difficulties are biologic and can be relieved by a pill. This is despite the fact that modern psychiatry has yet to convincingly prove the genetic/biologic cause of any single mental illness. However, this does not stop psychiatry from making essentially unproven claims that depression, bipolar illness, anxiety disorders, alcoholism and a host of other disorders are in fact primarily biologic and probably genetic in origin, and that it is only a matter of time until all this is proven. This kind of faith in science and progress is staggering, not to mention naive and perhaps delusional. (Against Biologic Psychiatry, Dr. David Kaiser, Psychologist, Psychiatric Times, December, Dec. 1996, Vol. XIII, Issue 12)
  8. In 1621 AD, Robert Burton wrote a book called The Anatomy Of Melancholy which described mental illness as caused by the mind which then in turn affects the brain, heart and other organs. He notes that different people handle common everyday life events in vastly different ways. The melancholy are unable to deal with these common life events without anxiety and loss of sleep. Burton further states that mental illness happens in family groups and is hereditary. He notes that it is not the physical body that transmits the disease, but the manner, personality, temperament of the mind. It is clear that through all ages mental illness runs in families. But so does religion. Just as religion can be learned so too mental illness: "it being an hereditary disease : for as he justices . . . Such as the temperature of the father is, such is the sons; and look what disease the father had when he begot him, such his son will have after him . . . Now this doth not so much appear in the composition of the Body . . . but in manners and conditions of the Mind". Burton shows that the etiology of mental illness is upbringing. It is easy to see why Burton's book was a standard text that was widely distributed over two centuries. (The Anatomy Of Melancholy, Robert Burton, 1621 AD)

A. The myth that "bad genetics" cause mental illness:

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  1. "Biologic psychiatrists often use the standards of empiricism to answer their critics, in effect saying that their claims are scientifically "proven" and thus unassailable, clearly a tautological argument. I would further add that in my view many of the claims of biologic psychiatry do not even hold up to their own standards of empirical science, for example their claims about the biologic and genetic basis of many mental illnesses." (Against Biologic Psychiatry, Dr. David Kaiser, Psychologist, Psychiatric Times, December, Dec. 1996, Vol. XIII, Issue 12)
  2. "biological determinist claims that bad behavior (usually about sex or violence) is genetically caused can be guaranteed generous and uncritical media attention, even by science journalists whose knowledge of contemporary genomics ought to have made them more alert to its problems." (Hilary Rose, "Spot the Infidelity Gene," Guardian Unlimited, December 1, 2004.)
  3. "Although the initially reported chromosomal localizations of genes responsible for manic-depressive disorder (Egeland et al., 1987) and schizophrenia (Sherrington et al., 1988) have been questioned (Byerley, 1989; Kelsoe et al., 1989), the genetic approach is bound to succeed ultimately." (The Biological Approach to Psychiatry, Samuel H. Barondes, The Journal of Neuroscience, June 1990)
  4. "Scientifically, the only conclusion that can be reached from studying the pattern of occurrence of a disorder in a pedigree [in a family] is an inversion of biological psychiatry's logical error: If there is no familial pattern, one can rule out an inherited cause. If there is a pattern of family transmission, on the other hand, there may be a purely inherited cause, a purely environmental cause, or a mixture of the two" (Pseudoscience in Biological Psychiatry, Colin A. Ross, M.D., & Alvin Pam, Ph.D., 1995, p. 89).
  5. "This doctrine [alcoholism is a disease] has been adopted throughout the chemical dependency field including Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). despite the fact that it has no scientific foundation and is logically incorrect. ... The idea that alcoholism is genetic is the leading example of the effective marketing of pseudoscience by biological psychiatry. ... There cannot be a gene for alcoholism, and alcoholism cannot be a biomedical illness, for logical reasons... American researchers typically ignore the work of Robin Murray, the leading British expert in the genetics of alcoholism; Murray found no difference in rates of alcoholism for MZ [mono-zygotic, or identical] and DZ [di-zygotic, or non-identical] twins, effectively ruling out a genetic hypothesis if these results are replicated by other researchers" (Pseudoscience in Biological Psychiatry, Colin A. Ross, M.D., & Alvin Pam, Ph.D., 1995, p. 96.)
  6. "The belief that schizophrenia is a specific organic disease or a group of organic brain diseases has never been confirmed. We have been on the verge of confirming it since the dawn of modern psychiatry, and we are still on the verge" (Pseudoscience in Biological Psychiatry, Colin A. Ross, M.D., & Alvin Pam, Ph.D., 1995, pp. 193-194).
  7. "Unfortunately what I also see these days are the casualties of this new biologic psychiatry, as patients often come to me with many years of past treatment. Patients having been diagnosed with "chemical imbalances" despite the fact that no test exists to support such a claim, and that there is no real conception of what a correct chemical balance would look like. Patients with years of medication trials which have done nothing except reify in them an identity as a chronic patient with a bad brain. This identification as a biologically-impaired patient is one of the most destructive effects of biologic psychiatry." (Against Biologic Psychiatry, Dr. David Kaiser, Psychologist, Psychiatric Times, December, Dec. 1996, Vol. XIII, Issue 12)

 B. Psychiatrists theorize that "bad genetics" cause mental illness:

  1. "But recently, materialistic explanations of religion and spirituality have gotten out of hand. Influenced by this materialistic prejudice, popular media jump at stories about the violence gene, the fat gene, the monogamy gene, the infidelity gene, and now, even a God gene! The argument goes like this: evolutionary psychologists attempt to explain human spirituality and belief in God by insisting that cave dwellers in the remote past who believed in a supernatural reality were more likely to pass on their genes than cave dwellers who didn't. Progress in genetics and neuroscience has encouraged some to look, quite seriously, for such a God gene, or else a God spot, module, factor, or switch in the human brain. By the time the amazing "God helmet" (a snowmobile helmet modified with solenoids that purportedly could stimulate subjects to experience God) in Sudbury, Canada, became a magnet for science journalists in the 1990s (the Decade of the Brain), materialism was just about passing beyond parody. Nonetheless, materialists continue to search for a God switch. Such comic diversions aside, there is no escaping the nonmaterialism of the human mind." (The Spiritual Brain, Mario Beauregard Ph.D., Neuroscientist, 2007, p xiv)
  2. Notice that they are saying that it is still theoretical and that in the future they expect to be able to "pin-point" DNA that causes mental illness: "Consider that, up until the present, psychiatric genomics has been limited to studies of chromosomal link-age wherein a putative gene for a disorder could be roughly localized to a given region of a chromosome. The burgeoning understanding of the human genome taking place will lead to a complete identification of the "correct" sequence, as well as to an understanding of genetic variation among humans. In many humans, a single base or single nucleotide is modified, and it is a combination of knowing the entire genetic code and determining aberrations in individuals with disease that will allow the pin-pointing of specific genes associated with psychiatric disorders." (Textbook of Psychopharmacology, Schatzberg, Nemeroff, 2002 AD, p 53)
  3. "The latest deadweight dragging us closer to phrenology is "evolutionary psychology," or the science formerly known as sociobiology, which studies the evolutionary roots of human behavior. There is nothing inherently wrong with this enterprise, and it has proposed some intriguing theories, particularly about the evolution of language. The problem is that evolutionary psychology suffers from the scientific equivalent of megalomania. Most of its adherents are convinced that virtually every human action or feeling, including depression, homosexuality, religion, and consciousness, was put directly into our brains by natural selection. In this view, evolution becomes the key--the only key--that can unlock our humanity." Jerry A. Coyne, Evolutionary biologist, "The Fairy Tales of Evolutionary Psychology," New Republic, March 4, 2000)


  1. There is no scientific proof you can see in a microscope that mental illness is caused by bad DNA. This is a myth.
  2. The only reason the Chemical psychiatry industry hypothesizes a link between DNA and mental illness is because of social studies of identical twins and families. The problem with this, is that many things not related to DNA run in families like religion.

By Steve Rudd: Contact the author for comments, input or corrections.

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