From The Conversation:
“…people who hold biogenetic (biological and genetic) explanations of mental health disorders tend to have some negative perceptions of those who experience them. They view these people as relatively dangerous, unpredictable and unlikely to recover, and seek greater distance from them.
…biogenetic explanations reduce empathy among clinicians… The clinicians consistently reported feeling less empathy for clients whose problems were ascribed to biogenetic causes.
People who believe their problems have biogenetic causes tend to opt for biomedical treatments… In recent decades, lay people’s explanations of mental health problems have become increasingly biogenetic. This is contributing to steep increases in the use of psychiatric medication and declining rates of psychotherapy… Clients who attribute their mental health problems to biology tend to believe that they have limited control over their problems.”
Quite a nasty triple threat – implications for the person experiencing mental illness, their treatment providers and the perception of that individual within society. But…
We cannot ignore the scientific evidence that neurobiological and genetic factors contribute to mental health problems. To do so would be to throw the psychiatric baby out with its bathwater. But we need to be mindful that biogenetic explanations have a dark side when it comes to treatment, as they do for public stigma.
The challenge for clinicians and clients alike is to overcome the tendency to view suffering individuals as broken mechanisms. Mental health problems have a biological component, but that fact does not dissolve the person’s subjective experience and individuality. (emphasis added)
There are links to, and perhaps a cautionary tale for, Explaining Pain here.
P.S. The title? From Stevie Wonder’s Blame It On The Sun, seemed apt for the subject matter;
Wish I could tell you,
What I am feeling
But, words won’t come for me to speak
But I’ll blame it on the sun
The sun that didn’t shine
I’ll blame it on the wind and the trees