Mental Disorder: A Sad Yet Beautiful Science of Epigenetics and Mental Wellness

Anju Bisht

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Mental illness may not be as notable as other disabilities but can have fatal consequences. It is the leading cause of disability around the world. WHO recent reports conducted for the NCMH (National Care Of Medical Health), stated that at least 6.5 percent of the Indian population suffers some kind of serious mental disorder, with no discernible rural-urban differences.

 

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Although the scope is still limited, the pent-up or increased stress, anxiety, and lifestyle choices driving mental health issues, is strong. Due to the changes in the environment, a person with a healthy mind can show the symptoms of mental illness. Factors like change in air quality, the financial strain, work-related stress, interpersonal relationships, poor diet, lack of exercise, and all other possible modern-day issues. The impact of these factors on an individual’s well-being is usually undermined.

 

 

If a person who is healthy and mentally well faces the environment changes (defined above) they start to get into the SIAD (Stress-Inflammation-Anxiety-Depression) chain, as a result, the first generic response of your body is the development of inflammation in response to environmental stress- that is abnormal excretion of cytokines (body’s defense mechanism to ward off a physical stressor).

 

 

And, if the inflammation is not controlled (lifestyle change), it develops into psychosomatic stress or stress (affecting both mind and body). Causing nagging headache, bloating and breathlessness feeling. If this persists it becomes chronic, more epigenetic changes (DNA modifications) take place in the body, leading to chronic anxiety (coupled with further DNA modifications). Eventually, there would be a feeling of being overwhelmed, your breath loses its anchor from the mind, and improper breathing results in poor oxygen absorption and circulation, resulting in digestive issues (that chronic constipation feeling).

 

 

When the stomach goes amiss the vagus nerve that connects gut to the brain then registers the chronic stress-Anxiety in the Central nervous system-almost coding the brain to believe it is now going to be in this state due to the reversible connection.

 

 

As we enter the vicious cycle of chronic stress and anxiety, the persistence of the same for longer will lead to another chain of DNA modification signals the brain to enter into the state of depression.

 

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