SRS Parents divorce, Alcoholic parents, Abuse, Cause of Mental Illness

Discussion in 'On Topic' started by METALLlC BLUE, Dec 5, 2004.

  1. Do You Have Alcoholic Parents?

    One in five adult Americans lived with an alcoholic while growing up. Child and adolescent psychiatrists know these children are at greater risk for having emotional problems than children whose parents are not alcoholics. Alcoholism runs in families, and children of alcoholics are four times more likely than other children to become alcoholics. Most children of alcoholics have experienced some form of neglect or abuse.

    A child in such a family may have a variety of problems:

    1: Guilt: The child may see himself or herself as the main cause of the mother's or father's drinking.
    2: Anxiety The child may worry constantly about the situation at home. He or she may fear the alcoholic parent will become sick or injured, and may also fear fights and violence between the parents.
    3: Embarrassment: Parents may give the child the message that there is a terrible secret at home. The ashamed child does not invite friends home and is afraid to ask anyone for help.
    4: Inability to have close relationships: Because the child has been disappointed by the drinking parent many times, he or she often does not trust others.
    5: Confusion: The alcoholic parent will change suddenly from being loving to angry, regardless of the child's behavior. A regular daily schedule, which is very important for a child, does not exist because bedtimes and mealtimes are constantly changing.
    6: Anger: The child feels anger at the alcoholic parent for drinking, and may be angry at the non-alcoholic parent for lack of support and protection.
    7: Depression: The child feels lonely and helpless to change the situation.​

    Although the child tries to keep the alcoholism a secret, teachers, relatives, other adults, or friends may sense that something is wrong. Child and adolescent psychiatrists advise that the following behaviors may signal a drinking or other problem at home:

    * Failure in school; truancy
    * Lack of friends; withdrawal from classmates
    * Delinquent behavior, such as stealing or violence
    * Frequent physical complaints, such as headaches or stomachaches
    * Abuse of drugs or alcohol; or
    * Aggression towards other children
    * Risk taking behaviors
    * Depression or suicidal thoughts or behavior ​

    Some children of alcoholics may act like responsible "parents" within the family and among friends. They may cope with the alcoholism by becoming controlled, successful "overachievers" throughout school, and at the same time be emotionally isolated from other children and teachers. Their emotional problems may show only when they become adults.

    Whether or not their parents are receiving treatment for alcoholism, these children and adolescents can benefit from educational programs and mutual-help groups such as programs for children of alcoholics, Al-Anon, and Alateen. Early professional help is also important in preventing more serious problems for the child, including alcoholism. Child and adolescent psychiatrists help these children with the child’s own problems, and also help the child to understand they are not responsible for the drinking problems of their parents.

    The treatment program may include group therapy with other youngsters, which reduces the isolation of being a child of an alcoholic. The child and adolescent psychiatrist will often work with the entire family, particularly when the alcoholic parent has stopped drinking, to help them develop healthier ways of relating to one another.

    For more information click the link under reference. You'll find more information at that website if you look around.


    (1)FamilyManagement.Com - CHILDREN OF ALCOHOLICS
  2. What Causes Illness and Mental Illness?

    I am studying research on Chronic Lyme Disease so that I can continue to arm myself with the latest research from the most affluent minds of our time. This article is by Dr. Robert Bransfield M.D. He is a Psychiatrist who also happens to be one of the top Lyme Disease specialists in the country. This article is general, and tries to answer the subject title question. What causes illness and mental illness?

    I will begin by providing a definition of what a Psychiatrist is so that everyone understand what point of view this doctor is coming from:

    (1)Psychiatrist: A physician (an M.D.) who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of mental illness. Psychiatrists must receive additional training and serve a supervised residency in their specialty. They may also have additional training in a psychiatric specialty, such as child psychiatry or neuropsychiatry. They can prescribe medication, which psychologists cannot do.

    According to the American Psychiatric Association: "A psychiatrist is a physician who specializes in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental illnesses and substance use disorders. It takes many years of education and training to become a psychiatrist: He or she must graduate from college and then medical school, and go on to complete four years of residency training in the field of psychiatry. (Many psychiatrists undergo additional training so that they can further specialize in such areas as child and adolescent psychiatry, geriatric psychiatry, forensic psychiatry, psychopharmacology, and/or psychoanalysis.) This extensive medical training enables the psychiatrist to understand the body's functions and the complex relationship between emotional illness and other medical illnesses. The psychiatrist is thus the mental health professional and physician best qualified to distinguish between physical and psychological causes of both mental and physical distress."

    Now onto the article. I will break the article down as it is very long. Every few days I will provide a piece of the article. References and Sources are included at the bottom of each section.

    What Causes Illness and Mental Illness?​

    Robert Bransfield, MD​

    Introduction: The Search for Awareness

    Curiosity is a fundamental part of human nature. We are motivated to understand, predict, and impact the world around and within us. Our desire to understand is increased whenever we see behavior that is contrary to our concept of normal and logical human nature. A recurrent and basic question in psychiatry, philosophy, law, ethics, and theology is:

    How much of our mental functioning is impacted by conscious free will or by other factors, such as instinct, prior learning, environment, or pathological processes?

    Our attempts to answer this question create a cascade of other related questions. As we strive towards a higher level of insight, we are restricted by the limits of creativity, technology, and the organization of information. Based upon differences in our background, experiences, style, and perspective, we all start our search for answers from different perspectives. This search for the “light at the end of the tunnel that illuminates the path from whence we came” is sometimes painfully slow as it sometimes diverts into tangents and blind alleys of investigation. Pulling together many different groups, individuals, and sources of information in a unified direction is one of the greatest challenges in the field of health.

    I feel the pursuit of insight is often hampered by five common problems—a tendency to maintain the status quo, even when there is evidence to the contrary; a grandiose view that there is greater insight than actually exists at this point in history; a mistaken belief that consciousness is more powerful than emotions and controls all of our actions; an erroneous belief that we are the dominant species on this planet; and an excessive reliance upon a simple cause and effect paradigm rather than implementing a systems approach to problem solving.

    Maintaining the status quo gives a comfortable sense of structure. People are creatures of habit and it is difficult to change beliefs, social structure, and institutions that are based upon prior views, even when found to be incorrect. As a result, progress is often accomplished at a significant price.

    It is often difficult to replace excessive confidence in current knowledge with a healthy degree of humility.

    It is interesting to read historical documents on philosophy, science, medicine, and the nature of man. Sometimes there is great insight, but that insight is also mixed with the bias that exists at any particular time and place. Current writings will be viewed in a similar manner in the future. There is a need to continue developing a scientific structure that will integrate the most solid knowledge of the past with the flexibility to incorporate the newest discoveries of the present and the future.

    Man is not the dominant species of this planet. Plants, dinosaurs, and other predators appeared to be dominant at different times throughout evolution. We mistakenly consider the very large to be the dominant over the very small. However, the small prey upon the large, just as the large prey upon the small. Maybe there is no dominant species; instead, we all live with a complex interdependence. It may be difficult to adjust our thinking to the possibility that microbes may be an equally significant part of the ecosystem. If we open our minds to the possibility that we are the prey and chronically persistent stealth microbes are more dangerous than acute infections, it allows us to view health and diseases from an entirely different perspective.

    Although the recognition of cause and effect relationships has been very useful in the advancement of science, it is only useful when there is a fairly simple cause and effect relationship. A different model is needed when we deal with situations in which an interaction of multiple causes can result in multiple outcomes. A systems approach is effective when more complex cause and effect relationships exist. With the use of this model from an evolutionary perspective, complex information is organized into two dimensions—time and space. In the time dimension, we recognize a sequence of events occurring at different points in time, beginning with remote contributors from evolution, and progressing to the most proximate events. In the space dimension, we recognize these simultaneous interactive processes occurring in the hierarchy of the smallest and the largest interactive systems.

    The following section reviews some of the basic concepts of systems theory:

    Systems Theory

    "Constantly regard the universe as one living being, having one substance and one soul; and observe how all things have reference to one perception, the perception of this one living being; and how all things act with one movement; and how all things are the cooperating causes of all things which exist; observe too the continuous spinning of the thread and the contexture of the web. All things are implicated with one another, and the bond is holy; and there is hardly anything unconnected with any other things. For things have been coordinated, and they combine to make up the same universe. For there is one universe made up of all things, and one god who pervades all things, and one substance, and one law, and one reason.” Marcus Aurelius

    A system is an organized structure of mass and energy existing in a dimension of time and space. More than a collection of parts, once organized, the system has properties that are not present when the parts are separate.

    All things can be viewed as a system and/or as part of a system, composed of systems and interfacing with other systems. Systems show a circular and cyclic quality to their functioning. Certain principles apply to all systems while other principles are unique to specific types of systems. All are interconnected and affect other systems to varying degrees. All systems are constantly changing and are in dynamic balance with each other.

    Systems theory summarizes concepts that apply to all systems. (1) The proof is self-evident from observation and testing the applicability of systems theory to all systems. Systems theory is useful when approaching complex problems. Most of us use a systems approach for problem solving, although it is rarely labeled as such. Systems theory is quite logical and is compatible with our experience; however, it can be neither proven nor disproved by the traditional scientific method.

    Some basic concepts:

    • A system contains a structure of organized components of similar and/or different types.
    • No system exists in isolation. A system interfaces with other systems that may be of a similar or different type.
    • The functioning of a system affects multiple other systems and is affected by multiple other systems.
    • With the possible exception of the universe and the smallest component of energy or matter, all systems are components of larger systems and are composed of smaller systems.
    • The constant interaction between systems results in a constant state of change.
    • When a system remains stable while there are changes in other systems, it is in a state of balance. Balance is a fundamental concept in nature.
    • Time is a significant dimension and different effects occur over time.
    • A system exerts a feed-forward effect upon a second system. This effect may be stimulatory (positive) or inhibitory (negative). The second system may then exert a feedback effect on the first system, which may be either stimulatory or inhibitory. Stimulatory feedback may increase the initial effect, while inhibitory feedback may decrease the inhibitory effect.
    • Modulation occurs when the feedback or feed-forward is a complex combination of different positive and negative effects.

    Systems have evolved over a dimension of time. When we look at the structure of a system, it may appear illogical. As we study the history of how systems have evolved the current and future structure and functioning of systems are better understood.

    The combination of a systems and evolutionary approach allows us to organize current information in a much more efficient manner. Such an approach is equally effective for astrophysics, biology, psychology, sociology etc.

    To acquire a valid theory of human functioning we need to understand observations of human functioning in relation to internal and external systems. An understanding of systems theory, history and the specifics of any given system allows us to understand and therefore better predict the outcome of an event. Even with such an approach, there are limits to our ability to understand and predict.

    The Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle may have broad application to many fields of science. To expand on this concept, our capacity to measure and consequently predict multiple variables has limitations.

    Some questions are very difficult to answer particularly when addressing infinity or what exists at the end of time and space continuums, if there is an end point (i.e. what was before the beginning, after the end, smaller than the smallest and larger than the largest?). These questions are approached from very different perspectives and accordingly, are subject to endless debate. Currently, we need to accept that no one can comprehend the existence or the nature of any end point of time or space.

    Since systems are very complex and impacted by an infinite number of other systems, we can never attain total predictability of effects. Such a view is an open systems model. In contrast, a closed system model assumes that everything does not affect everything, there are a finite number of variables that impact an outcome, and therefore, outcome is totally predictable. An open system model still affords us some capacity to predict. We can create a hierarchy of the system variables that appear to have greatest impact upon an event. When we organize these variables, it improves our statistical capacity to predict although we are never able to attain total predictability.

    Every event is caused by a sequence of other events. The last causative event is the proximate cause; however, more distant events may be more significant than the final proximate cause. It is helpful to understand the sequence of events since each stage is a potential intervention point.

    • An event is the result of a sequence of events over time between or within systems and causes multiple events in other systems. In addition, an event can cause a cascade of other events.

    • A cycle is a repetitive sequence of events.

    • Cycling may retain balance as a result of repetitive oscillations.

    • Spiraling occurs when there is a sequential effect that magnifies the initial effect.

    • Growth is attaining a higher level of integration.

    • A growth spiral (or growth cycle) occurs when spiraling has an increasingly integrative effect.

    • A negative spiral (or vicious cycle) occurs when the spiraling has an increasingly disintegrative effect.

    • Hierarchy can be used to rank by different criteria such as size, space, time, or the significance of causes and effects.​

    If those involved in problem solving remain open-minded and use an open, multi-system approach, we can benefit from others' perspectives and expertise. Occasionally, however, some use a closed system, a rigid, dogmatic approach to complex issues with the view that absolute truths and predictability exist. Although simple solutions to complex problems are initially comforting, they prevent us from being open to the full complexity of any given problem and may cause problems that are even more complex.

    End Part 1


    (1)MedTerms.Com - Medterms.Com Psychiatrist
    (2)MentalHealthAndIllness.Com - What Causes Illness and Mental Illness? by Dr. Robert Bransfield
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 5, 2004
  3. raded

    raded New Member

    Jul 8, 2004
    Likes Received:
    yes :hs:
  4. M4A1

    M4A1 :)

    Oct 25, 2001
    Likes Received:
    The sad thing is you can experience those without alcoholic parents. I believe myfather is an alcoholic in his own fashion. Yes some of those do apply to me, but they aren't derived stricly from his behavior. I don't always believe in pointing fingers to adress a problem because it is often a method of avoidance.
  5. Alcoholism Is A Family Disease. Why Do I Need Help? He's the Alcoholic!​

    Alcoholism is a disease that affects every member of the family [It also affects lovers, and friends], to the extent that the kids who make it into the Alateen rooms report they generally have more problems dealing with the non-drinking parent than they do the alcoholic.

    What? But I don't have a problem! He... him... he's the alcoholic! He's the one who causes all the problems! He's the one in trouble all the time ...

    True, but he's also predictable. Kids can read the alcoholic like a book. They know exactly when it's the right time to ask for extra money, or to go somewhere with their friends, and also know when it's time to make themselves scarce and get out of the way. They know the routine as far as the alcoholic is concerned. But they never know where the bedraggled non-drinking parent is coming from next.

    One minute she (or he as the case may be) is screaming at the alcoholic -- threatening him with everything from from divorce to death -- and the next minute she may be compassionately rescuing him from the consequences of his latest episode -- dutifully cleaning up his messes, making excuses for him and accepting an increasing degree of unacceptable behavior.

    The truth is the disease of alcoholism has affected her life, her attitude and her thinking perhaps more dramatically than it has the drinking spouse and she may not even realize it. Why? Because it crept up on her slowly.

    Frog In The Water

    A few years back, there was a story going around the 12-step rooms [Another name for Alanon, or A.A usually] about a frog in the water. It goes like this:

    If you put a frog into a pan of boiling water, it will jump out faster than the eye can see. But if you put the frog into a pan of water that is the frog's body temperature and then slowly turn up the heat the frog will stay in the water -- even to the point of boiling alive. Why? Because the frog does not notice the gradual change in temperature.

    Alcoholism works the same way... the heat is constantly turned up but nobody notices. Cunning and baffling! A progressive disease. It may start out with casually accepting unacceptable behavior -- Oh, he didn't mean that, he just had too much to drink last night. A few years down the road the behavior has slowly grown more and more intolerable, but it is still being accepted and becomes the "norm."

    She ends up with chaos in her own home that a few short years ago would have been unthinkable. If she looked out the window and saw the same kind of things taking place across the street at the neighbor's house, she would probably pick up the phone and call 9-1-1 to get those people some help!

    An Insidious Disease

    As that same type of behavior becomes routine in her own home, the last thing that would occur to her is to pick up the telephone and get help.She has slowly been drawn into the thinking that the alcoholic should be protected. She has learned to cover for him, lie for him and hide the truth. She has learned to keep secrets, no matter how bad the chaos and insanity all around her has become.

    Few who have been affected by the disease of alcoholism realize that by "protecting" the alcoholic with little lies and deceptions to the outside world, which have slowly but surely increased in size and dimension, she has actually created a situation that makes it easier for him to continue -- and progress -- in his downward spiral. Rather than help the alcoholic, and herself, she has actually enabled him to get worse.

    The heat increased so gradually, over such an extended period of time, nobody noticed the water was beginning to boil and it was time to jump out of the pan.

    The disease will continue to progress for the alcoholic until he is ready to reach out and get help for himself. Waiting for that to happen is not her only choice.

    The other people can begin to recover whether the alcoholic is still drinking or not. But it can't happen until somebody picks up that telephone and asks for help. There is hope and help out there.


    (1) - Why Do I Need Help? He's the Alcoholic!
  6. M4A1

    M4A1 :)

    Oct 25, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Interesting read. I don't agree with all of what he has to say. Could you post the rest so I can understand?
    • a tendency to maintain the status quo, even when there is evidence to the contrary
    • a grandiose view that there is greater insight than actually exists at this point in history
    doesn't this contradict some of what he's saying?
    • a mistaken belief that consciousness is more powerful than emotions and controls all of our actions
    • an erroneous belief that we are the dominant species on this planet
    ehhh. depends on how you look at it.
    • an excessive reliance upon a simple cause and effect paradigm rather than implementing a systems approach to problem solving.
    this is his best point
  7. Yes, growing up with dysfunctional behavior and dysfunctional parents can cause many of the symptoms and behavior I have listed - there are many things that can cause some of those things. However, in this thread I am talking specifically about the effects caused by having Alcoholic Parents, and the impact that Alcoholism has on children exposed to it.

    The post is not made to blame alcoholics for the problems of the children. Instead it is a way of trying to understand how the dysfunction of living with Alcoholism has begun to decrease the quality of life for the child, or how the parent's alcoholism has caused the child to not have their needs met, as well as not being able to gain the type of coping skills, and appropriate knowledge that they would otherwise learn if their parents were both healthy and fully functional human beings.

    Through this understanding, some children of Alcoholics who read this post may be able to enter treatment programs, and or better understand why they are as they are, and how they can begin to improve their lot thru such understanding. Help is available.
  8. M4A1

    M4A1 :)

    Oct 25, 2001
    Likes Received:

    I just don't like blanket definitions. Or how certain lines are drawn just because it's facile to do so.
  9. katibug

    katibug di ancuk

    Jun 18, 2004
    Likes Received:
    lew sterrett
    my mom is a recovering alcoholic and drug addict.
    she had me while she was a sophomore in high school.
    never lived with her though.
  10. What Causes Illness and Mental Illness? PT 2​

    Robert Bransfield, MD​

    Health and Human Health:

    Our health and our environmental health are our most valuable assets. There are often taken for granted until they are lost.

    Health and disease are concepts that are only relevant to biological systems. Organisms require a balanced ratio of resources for survival. A failure to achieve a resource causes a deficiency, while a surplus of any resource results in toxicity. A primary function of any biological system is an adaptive maintenance of a state of balance between the internal and external environment. In more complex mobile organisms, the nervous system coordinates this function of maintaining balance, even when the internal and external environments are constantly changing. In a state of health there is the pursuit of the beneficial and defenses against harmful aspects of the environment.

    Every process, including mental processes, correlates with environmental circumstances and simultaneous physiological and biochemical events within the body and the brain. Within the brain, functioning can be conceptualized as the activity of a network of nerve cells, with simultaneous complex biochemical events, and gene expression. The nature of this functioning is a result of evolution, development, learning, current perception, and judgment. The capacity to adapt correlates with the mental flexibility to adapt with the specificity that is needed for the current life situation. The greater the flexibility and the specificity of response, the greater the capacity to adapt. As more complex life forms evolved, equally more complex systems have evolved to maintain balance. However, many of the lower, more primitive systems remain. We can compare it to an ancient city where there is new construction built on top of older structures. The newer and the older functions are redundant and are interconnected with each other. The final result is a hierarchy of more complex adaptive systems existing over the lower more primitive adaptive systems.

    Human health has been defined as soundness, or balance of the mind, body, spirit, and soul. Although we live in a society that values extremes, health is, instead a state of balance (or peace). This goal can be concisely stated as:


    Within ourselves
    With each other
    With our environment​

    Mental Health:

    Healthy mental functioning helps achieve this balance. Theories to explain human mental functioning have existed for millennia and knowledge of human anatomy has existed for centuries. However, knowledge of brain physiology has mostly evolved during recent decades. 2500 years ago, Plato described a model of human functioning that is surprisingly accurate. It has similarities to both Freudian theory and our current view of brain physiology. He recognized both the concept of hierarchy as well as the constant struggle to reconcile simultaneous opposing forces within us:

    “In the case of the human soul, first of all it is a pair of horses that the charioteer dominates; one of them is noble and handsome and of good breeding, while the other is the very opposite, so that our charioteer necessarily has a difficult and troublesome task.

    Michelangelo demonstrates a remarkable insight into the anatomy of the human brain in The Creation of Adam (see addendum):

    The Creation of Adam (1508-1512) on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel has long been recognized as one of the world's great art treasures. In 1990 Frank Lynn Meshberger, M.D. described what millions had overlooked for centuries - an anatomically accurate image of the human brain was portrayed behind God. On close examination, borders in the painting correlate with sulci in the inner and outer surface of the brain, the brain stem, the basilar artery, the pituitary gland, and the optic chiasm. God's hand does not touch Adam, yet Adam is already alive as if the spark of life is being transmitted across a synaptic cleft. * Below the right arm of God is a sad angel in an area of the brain that is sometimes activated on PET scans when someone experiences a sad thought. God is superimposed over the limbic system, the emotional center of the brain and possibly the anatomical counterpart of the human soul. God's right arm extends to the prefrontal cortex, the most creative and most uniquely human region of the brain.

    *Frank Lynn Meshberger, M.D., The Interpretation of Michelangelo's Creation of Adam Basilar Neuroanatomy, JAMA #14 October 1990

    It has long been questioned whether the human mind is able to understand itself. The brain is clearly the most complex organ. Until recently, most of the brain was considered a mysterious black box, since we could not visualize the anatomy and physiology of the living brain. With new technology, we can now better understand the functioning of the brain. It is a very complex organ consisting of 100 billion nerve cells of thousands of different types, which communicate with over 100 different transmitters with a much greater number of different receptor sites at 100 trillion synapses. The functioning of the brain is regulated by approximately 40,000 genes, which are expressed to different extents depending upon the current life situation.

    Mental health needs to be defined in the context of the current external and internal environmental situation. In a state of mental health, mental functioning facilitates, rather than impedes healthy adaptation. These concepts can be incorporated with a systems approach to define mental health when mental functioning reflects the life situation and maintains balance by facilitating an adaptive allocation of resources, resulting in the capacity to:

    Experience well being, pleasure, fulfilling relationships & productive activities
    Mental flexibility to adapt to change
    Ability to recognize and contend with adversity​

    As a result of new discoveries in the field of mental health, the social and environmental sciences, there is a rapid explosion of advances on the fields related to the understanding of mental functioning. Subsequently, we are flooded with information that is difficult to organize. To acquire a truly valid theory of human functioning, we need to first define health by integrating information into the hierarchy of the many systems that effect and are affected by human mental processes. Refer to the sections that describe each of these systems:


    Pathology is the study of disease. It is sometimes very difficult to clarify the precise boundary between a state of health and a state of disease.

    While health is a state of balance, disease is instead a state of imbalance. When viewed from a multi-system perspective, there is an imbalance between the contribution to disease and the deterrents to disease (diagram). This multi-system imbalance results in a pathological cascade (diagram). To understand this process, it is first necessary to understand each component of the pathological cascade. The proximate cause of disease can be viewed as an adaptive failure. It often begins with a state of extreme imbalance and is most often the result of the interaction between vulnerabilities and a life circumstance. In some instances an extreme vulnerability alone or an extreme environmental circumstance alone many result in pathology.

    In a state of health, there is an adaptive capacity to acquire and allocate a balanced ration of the resources needed for survival. An insufficient amount of any resource results in a deficiency, while an excess of a resource or anything else in the environment may be toxic. In a pathological state, there is either a failure or a dysregulation of the capacity to acquire and allocate needed resources and to defend effectively against threats. In some instances, there may be an impaired capacity to adequately discriminate between what is harmful or beneficial and/or an impaired capacity to respond with adequate adaptive specificity. This adaptive failure may be further magnified when a subsequent cascade of events causes further adaptive failure resulting in a disintegrative vicious cycle. In nature, there is a redundancy of checks and balance, which often acts as a safeguard preventing pathological processes. In addition, many weaknesses may be compensated by other stronger capabilities. Although constant change, stress, and distress are frequent events, pathology usually occurs only when there is an interaction of a vulnerability and a life situation that cannot be compensated because there is a sequence of failures of multiple regulatory systems, which are often safeguards to disease.

    Vulnerabilities to disease may be genetic, developmental, and caused by prior trauma. There may be increased vulnerability associated with early and later life. A state of acute or chronic stress may increase vulnerability when resources are allocated to other functions. Genetic vulnerabilities must be understood in the context of evolution. Genetic vulnerabilities are far more common, while genetic defects are rare. True genetic defects, which compromise adaptive functioning without any other benefit, compromise reproductive success and tend to be rapidly reduced in the gene pool. Genetic defects are associated with a large number of rare conditions, but do not cause common widespread diseases, which affect large numbers of people.

    Genetic vulnerability to disease may be a result of the unique path of evolution or design compromises.* The unique path of evolution is determined by many unknown historical events. This has led to the development of genes, which have current adaptive value, being added to or replacing genes that had adaptive value in some prior environmental circumstance. This results in traits that may have no or little current adaptive value that are best comprehended through a greater understanding of the history of evolution.

    Design compromises are traits, which have adaptive value in certain environmental circumstances that may compromise adaptive capacity in other life situations. A failure to appreciate this concept has results in many genetic vulnerabilities being mislabeled as genetic defects. Examples of these genes include sickle cell traits and the gene for cystic fibrosis, both of which afford some protection against infectious disease.

    Developmental vulnerabilities are a result of a past environmental circumstance, which caused trauma at a critical point in development. In general, trauma associated with earlier stages of development is associated with a greater adverse impact upon subsequent development. These traumatic events may include a failure to acquire needed resources, toxic exposure, and adverse consequences of infectious disease.

    Trauma may often have a more severe impact upon the very young or very old than upon a mature adult. Trauma is sometimes associated with residual injury, which may cause dysregulation of adaptive functioning and contribute to increased vulnerability in the future. Change in the allocation of resources in the body at times of stress contributes to disease in some instances. In a state of physiological stress, there is a shift in the allocation of resources which results in decreased environmental functioning and increased immune functioning (sickness behavior.) In a state of environmental stress, conversely there is a shift towards increased environmental functioning and decreased immune functioning. These changes in the allocation of resources are mediated by an interaction of the hormonal, nervous, and immune systems. Although acute stress is often well tolerated and beneficial, chronic stress and/or a dysregulation of the stress response systems results in a prolonged imbalance in the allocation of resources which may contribute to increased vulnerabilities for functions which were compromised by a decreased allocation of resources.

    Life situations, which contribute to disease, include lack of resources, toxic exposures, environmental extremes, and competition with other organisms.

    An extreme lack of resources or toxic exposure results in obvious and well-recognized patterns of disease, while more subtle resource deficiencies and/or toxic exposure contribute to more cryptic disease syndromes. In either case, lack of resources and toxic exposure can result in increased vulnerability to other disease.

    Although man has considerable flexibility adapting to environmental extremes, there are limits and extreme environments that may contribute to disease.

    Some of our current pathology may be a result of our difficulty adapting to the changing environment caused by rapid technological changes. We are only a few hundred generations out of the Stone Age, a brief time from a evolutionary perspective, Although humans are highly adaptive and can live in a broad range of environmental conditions, technological advances have caused a rapid change in our culture and physical environment – from the Stone Age through the Agricultural, Industrial, and now the Information Age revolutions. Although these changes have had many benefits, they have also led to a rapid environmental change resulting in changing patterns of disease.

    Competition with other organisms can contribute to disease and result in trauma that increases vulnerability to subsequent disease. Some of this competition is with in our own species for resources and mates. In addition we also compete with some other species, the most significant being microbes. Microbes possess a competitive advantage because they reproduce much more rapidly than humans. This difference affords microbes an opportunity to evolve adaptive capabilities faster than humans can evolve defenses. There is a never ending arms war between our defensive mechanisms and the invasive capability of pathogens*. Some disease is the result of injury from infectious disease resulting in vulnerability to other disease processes.

    In most cases, specific life situations combined with specific vulnerabilities lead to disease. Although many pathways of disease exist, the final pathways are often events that overwhelm adaptive capacity and/or cause adaptive mechanisms to go awry, leading to a pathological cascade of events resulting in a pathological vicious cycle. The pathological process may evolve and persist in multiple systems simultaneously.

    *Nesse, Randolph. Why We Get Sick, The New Science in Darwinian Medicine, Times Books, Random House 1995.

    Mental Illness

    “The mental jail, which may be defined as the subjective experience of life without meaning, hope or love, that feels like a prison, is far more confining. Its ceiling is too low to stand tall and proud; its walls too narrow to breathe easily; its cell to short to stretch out and relax. The sentence is indeterminate. It must be deconstructed, or suicide, homicide, or severe mental illness can result. The bricks of the mental jail are usually made of guilt and shame, rage and the need for sweet revenge, depression, fear, and feelings of worthlessness……..” (Tolstoy)

    In a state of mental illness, mental functioning does not reflect the life situation and does not maintain balance by facilitating an adaptive allocation of resources, which may result in the failure to experience well being, pleasure, fulfilling relationships and productive activities and the mental flexibility to adapt to change and the ability to recognize and contend with adversity.

    “Brain-related diseases and injuries are estimated to exceed over half a trillion dollars a year in health care, lost productivity, and other economic costs.” (NIMH statistic)

    The brain regulates this allocation of resources and can be conceptualized in three fundamental regions – the cerebral cortex (cognition), the limbic system (emotional functioning), and the brain stem and hypothalamus (vegetative functioning). Cognition, emotional and vegetative functioning are all interactive systems. Some pathological conditions affect all three areas, while other conditions primarily affect specific areas.

    Dysfunction of the cerebral cortex is associated with an impairment discriminating beneficial from harmful aspects of the environment and/or an impairment discriminating adaptive responses and the flexibility to respond quickly to changing environmental circumstances.

    Dysfunction of the limbic system is associated with emotional reactivity that does not reflect the current life situation and impedes adaptation. The current mood facilitates adaptation by altering perception, processing, vegetative functioning, and behavior. In a state of health, mood reflects the life situation and facilitates adaptation (Figure 1). When threats exist, it is adaptive to experience negative or adversive mood states. Although the predominance of adversive moods is adaptive in threatening situations, their predominance in a benign life situation impedes adaptation (Figure 2). Likewise, the predominance of a positive mood in a threatening situation is also pathological (Figure 3). An inability to adequately discriminate, shift, and experience the mood which is adaptive, resulting in failures that invariably leads to predominance of adversive mood states such as fearful obsessiveness, phobias, panic, and depression.

    Dysfunction of the brain stem and hypothalamus is associated with dysfunction of the allocation of somatic resources resulting in impairments of vegetative functioning (i.e. sleeping, eating, sexual functioning, temperature control, circulation, physiological responsiveness to stress and immune function). Cognitive, emotional and vegetative functioning are all interactive systems. A dysfunctional interaction of these systems can result in pathological behavior that impairs adaptation in the current environmental situation.

    Within the nervous system, psychopathology correlates with the combination of a dysfunction of neurochemistry, altered neural architecture and altered gene expression. Conversely, therapeutic intervention correlates with a normalization of neurochemistry, neural architecture, and gene expression.

    It is important to make the distinction between psychiatric syndromes vs. the cause of these syndromes. For example, major depression is one of many psychiatric syndromes of dysfunction. It appears to be caused by a complex interaction of genetic and other vulnerabilities and a life situation possibly requiring a certain time sequence. In other instances, the same vulnerability on the same stressful life situation may contribute to causing totally different psychiatric syndromes, or no disease state dependency upon the impact of other contributory factors.

    When there is a dysfunction of the nervous system, we can partially compensate with conscious free will. However, there are limits in our capacity to compensate for some psychic or somatic limitations and impairments. It is necessary to emphasize the difference between syndromes of dysfunction and causes of pathology. Depression shall be discussed as an example of a syndrome of dysfunction, while one significant cause of mental pathology shall be discussed in Microbes and Mental Illness.

    Disease is often comorbid with other related disease entities, leading to interactive disease states. Therefore, we cannot view a disease process as a closed system. Instead, we must understand the interaction of comorbid disease processes, some of which are full syndromal and others, which are sub-syndromal. The comorbidity may be somatic/somatic, somatic/psychic, or psychic/psychic. Somatopsychic disease is caused when physical (somatic) distress causes mental (psychic) illness. Conversely, psychosomatic disease is caused when psychic distress causes somatic illness.


    (1)MentalHealthAndIllness.Com - What Causes Illness and Mental Illness? by Dr. Robert Bransfield
  11. I'm glad you found it interesting. You don't have to agree with all of it. Here in Asylum if the information is useful, then you're welcome to use it and take it. If it's not useful, or you don't agree then you're free to leave the rest. :)
  12. Let me know if anything posted is actually useful for any of you.
  13. J R B

    J R B The pink pills are for your sanity, we are buried

    Jan 21, 2004
    Likes Received:
    Nova Scotia
    Wow, this is very helpful. I have grown up with my mother being an alcoholic. Over the past 2 years, things have spiralled downward to the point where she was attempting suicide. It's been the hardest time of my life.
  14. Twinkle

    Twinkle This too shall pass

    Mar 27, 2003
    Likes Received:
    Ottawa, Canada
    The "controlled, successful overacheiver" thing is me in spades. I had to pretty much raise my younger sisters, and was always a "parent" to my parents. Who drank. Constantly. :sad2:

    I got out through sheer force of will, and I'm never looking back.
  15. civicmon

    civicmon got all my game from the streets of california.

    Feb 23, 2004
    Likes Received:
    dca -> nyc -> sfo -> san -> phl
    It's interesting but I think it's a touch too technical for me....

    I hope that this is a cut/paste and you're not typing everything..
  16. This is a cut and paste. The source is included at the bottom of each post. I'll post additional articles later which are less technical Civicmon. You didn't miss out on anything crucial in this article at least not in my opinion. :)
  17. dave steel

    dave steel My Kung Fu is the best.

    Feb 22, 2002
    Likes Received:
    Iron City
    You have brought up some good points Mike. I thought I would stick it for awhile so no one would miss it.
  18. BalkanBabe

    BalkanBabe Guest

    what if he's a controlling, abusive maniac and the beer that he drinks like water helps to turn him into a nazi?.. he's been this way since forever.. ever since granpapi passed away from lung cancer because of smoking (1983 or 84.. a year or two before i was born) .. i think he's this way cuz granpapi was like that as well and his death just made it worse.
  19. scottymcc

    scottymcc New Member

    Oct 1, 2004
    Likes Received:
    Mother Russia
    My father has a drinking problem.
  20. Were You Affected Negatively By Your Parent's Divorce?


    One out of every two marriages today ends in divorce and many divorcing families include children. Parents who are getting a divorce are frequently worried about the effect the divorce will have on their children. During this difficult period, parents may be preoccupied with their own problems, but continue to be the most important people in their children's lives.

    While parents may be devastated or relieved by the divorce, children are invariably frightened and confused by the threat to their security. Some parents feel so hurt or overwhelmed by the divorce that they may turn to the child for comfort or direction. Divorce can be misinterpreted by children unless parents tell them what is happening, how they are involved and not involved and what will happen to them.

    Children often believe they have caused the conflict between their mother and father. Many children assume the responsibility for bringing their parents back together, sometimes by sacrificing themselves. Vulnerability to both physical and mental illnesses can originate in the traumatic loss of one or both parents through divorce. With care and attention, however, a family's strengths can be mobilized during a divorce, and children can be helped to deal constructively with the resolution of parental conflict.

    Parents should be alert to signs of distress in their child or children. Young children may react to divorce by becoming more aggressive and uncooperative or withdrawing. Older children may feel deep sadness and loss. Their schoolwork may suffer and behavior problems are common. As teenagers and adults, children of divorce often have trouble with their own relationships and experience problems with self-esteem.

    Children will do best if they know that their mother and father will still be their parents and remain involved with them even though the marriage is ending and the parents won't live together. Long custody disputes or pressure on a child to "choose sides" can be particularly harmful for the youngster and can add to the damage of the divorce. Research shows that children do best when parents can cooperate on behalf of the child.

    Parents' ongoing commitment to the child's well-being is vital. If a child shows signs of distress, the family doctor or pediatrician can refer the parents to a child and adolescent psychiatrist for evaluation and treatment. In addition, the child and adolescent psychiatrist can meet with the parents to help them learn how to make the strain of the divorce easier on the entire family. Psychotherapy for the children of a divorce, and the divorcing parents, can be helpful.


    (1)FamilyManagement.Com - CHILDREN AND DIVORCE
  21. KateyKet

    KateyKet New Member

    Jun 15, 2004
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    It definately affected me negatively during the time of divorce. It went from seeing my father every day to thinking I would never see him again. It turned out seeing him once in a while, and now I talk to him every few months.

    Im really not sure how it affected my life as whole though, I would really like to know though. This happened almost 9 years ago, and I dont think about it much anymore but sometimes I do think if I would of turned out any different if I had a better family life.
  22. XPX

    XPX New Member

    Sep 14, 2002
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    My mother used to drink a bit, not completely alcoholic but she obviously drank more than normal, then shit happened and she stopped...what bothers me now that she being a hypocondriac (sp?) I get calls each month from ppl telling me the stuff she does, really frightening.
  23. I too was affected negatively by my parents divorce. My mother divorced my father after it was confirmed that he was sexually abusing me and other family members in secrecy. It was a violent divorce. Brutal language, and our entire family was torn apart. We never recovered. To this day I haven't spoken with the vast majority of my family. This was 18 years ago.
  24. SugarKill

    SugarKill New Member

    Sep 23, 2003
    Likes Received:
    my own little world
    my dad's been like he is since long before i was born. never thought too much about it, and NEVER thought he could change. but now i'm seeing more and more of his bad habits in me, a big one being drinking. :sad:

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