How you were raised determines a lot about you. But so do genetic factors. Some mental health conditions are considered to be hereditary, while others are due to the environment you were raised in. But, which one is right, or are they both right to a degree?
The debate of nature vs nurture is one that is constantly debated, and there is no clear side that is right since both play an equal role in our development. You may have been told that your mental health conditions are hereditary, such as bipolar, schizophrenia, or even autism, but also physical health conditions are hereditary, such as various forms of cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure. While it’s true to a degree that if we have a direct family member with these conditions, the likelihood of us having them is increased, that isn’t always the case.
Rather, what about conditions such as PTSD, post-traumatic stress disorder, that form only when the individual has been through a traumatic incident? Is the likelihood of developing this condition hereditary? Of course it is. But is it the cause of the condition? No, because a traumatic incident has to occur for the individual to be diagnosed with the condition.
With that being said, do all physical and mental health conditions fit into nature or nurture? Not at all. This has to do with the fact that how we were raised plays a big role in our development. Being abused and neglected literally changes our mind and makes it harder for us to deal with certain things in life. On the nature side, if our parents had a mental health condition, yet raised us well and loved us, we may end up without any sort of mental health issue. But we will very likely be more prone to having a mental health issue. If we are prone, and our childhood wasn’t great, it was the abuse and neglect that triggered the conditions.
Both nature and nurture work hand in hand. One can happen without the other and cause problems, but they often work together. Regardless of the cause of our mental problems in the past, that’s no excuse to think that you are incapable of coping with day-to-day life and blaming your problems on others. Quite the contrary actually. Going through a mental health crisis should empower you to seek proper help to learn how to properly deal with them and overcome these obstacles. Instead, many people blame their problems on their past, other people, and their mental health state. They are unwilling to take responsibility.
Learning to take responsibility is not a sign of weakness, but rather one of strength. Learn to take responsibility for your actions and realize that the only thing that can control you, is you. You are in complete charge of your life and what happens. No one else has power over you. So even if you were raised in an abusive household, or if you had parents with severe mental disorders, these things do not define you. Rather, you define yourself.
So the question shouldn’t be if nature or nurture determines a child’s mental health status, but rather it’s nature and nurture that determine it. While there may be no way to get rid of mental health conditions since they are a part of you, learn to live with them and understand them. These obstacles are here to make you stronger and allow you to live a happy, and unique, life. Accept and love yourself and you will succeed, I can guarantee that.
Let me know how this works for you. Have a great day!
This topic was requested many years ago, but I just now got the chance to tackle it. I’m glad I waited since I have a different perspective now than I did before. I believe that both play an equal role, but back then I only thought nurture played a role, well the majority of the role. I know from my own experience that mental health issues run in the family, but my childhood wasn’t the best, so maybe the trauma brought out the mental health issues from my parents? No idea, but I’ve learned to manage this and be happier and healthier.