The Beginnings of Mental Illness

Highest Standards, Nationally Recognized:

Mental Illness

In some cases, the signs of mental illness appear subtly and over time. We may not even realize we have a mental illness until it’s front and center in our lives. From the day we are born to the present day in our life, there are a number of different factors that can influence the way a mental illness develops, as well as how we manage it over the years. By understanding these factors, you’ll be a step ahead in recovery.

Social Environment

Our social environment can have a tremendous impact on our mental health. Previous studies have discovered that low social status and low social support are linked to poor mental health, which is a clear example of how social environments can impact our well-being.

If we don’t have many people around us who are loving and supportive, we may find it more difficult to balance our mental, physical, and spiritual health. Our interactions with caregivers, friends, and other adults influence the way we view ourselves, others, and the world. As human beings, we are social creatures who thrive on love, support, and inclusiveness – and so this is an important factor to take into consideration.


For many years, we have known that mental illnesses can be passed down from generation to generation – especially disorders like schizophrenia and bipolar personality disorder (BPD). Specifically, first-degree relatives with mental illness (such as your parent, grandparent, or sibling) or even second-degree relatives (including nieces, nephews, aunts, or uncles) can increase your odds for developing a mental illness as well.


Aside from our social experiences and family mental health history, trauma can play a significant role in the development of mental illness – even if a traumatic event occurred many years ago. Research has shown that not everyone who has gone through trauma develops post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). But many who do must work through a variety of cumbersome symptoms such as flashbacks, nightmares, difficulty sleeping, angry outbursts, dissociation, and more.

Chemical Imbalance

Chemical imbalance is a common topic in the world of mental health recovery, and scientists have spent decades trying to figure out its role in a person’s life. While there is much controversy over this topic, it’s true that your brain can produce too much or too little of certain chemicals, which can have a direct effect on your mood and perceptions. As studies have found, our brain experiences millions (some say even billions) of chemical reactions – making it even more challenging to pinpoint exactly how these imbalances are linked to mental illness, which is why treatment is crucial.

Life Circumstances

While some people might believe that certain life events are behind them, these events can still impact their mental health unknowingly. Consider whether or not you have dealt with a challenging situation, and how that event may still be impacting you. There are a number of life circumstances that can take a major toll on your mental health, including:

  • Divorce (yours or your parents) or a difficult breakup
  • Moving far away from friends and family members
  • Losing a job
  • Experiencing dysfunction within your family life
  • Making a big life decision
  • Bullying
  • Health/medical issues
  • Losing a loved one (person or pet)

As these types of events are happening, we may not even realize they are having such a strong effect on us until it’s too late. For example, we may think that we’ve moved on from losing a beloved family member, but we are still so angry and upset deep down inside about losing them that we somehow sink into a state of deep depression over it. It can be hard to tell sometimes because the symptoms of mental illness may only be temporary – but they may develop into something more.

Seek Help Today

While learning that you have a mental illness can feel as if you’re in a dark tunnel with no way to turn, it’s crucial to understand that the sooner you seek treatment, the greater your likelihood of recovery will be. Millions of people have worked diligently towards their healing and restoration and found the tools they need to help them succeed.

Much of the way we cope with the challenges we face today are derived from learned behaviors when we were kids – after watching how our parents, friends, and family members dealt with difficult situations, we may have picked up our own unhealthy tactics. These coping mechanisms may include shopping, overeating, not eating enough, gambling, using sex as a distraction, abusing substances, and more. These behaviors are linked to self-medication, which is when we attempt to take recovery into our own hands through unhealthy means.

We can’t always pinpoint the direct causes of mental illness, as we are each complex human beings with so many different factors at play. However, treatment can ground us and help us work through our deep-rooted issues.

If you’re ready to seek help, speak with a professional from Avalon Malibu today. It’s never too late to begin your recovery journey.

Avalon Malibu is a world-renowned mental health and substance abuse recovery center. Our team of specialists is here to get to know you, understand your unique needs, and design a treatment plan that addresses your mental health issues in a way that you can appreciate and value. We can help you develop the tools you need to overcome life’s obstacles and be on the road towards happiness, health, and well-being. Call us today at (844) 857-5992.

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