People in the healthcare industry have much reason to be humble. Not only is it difficult to treat various illnesses, we also struggle profoundly in the area of diagnosis and aetiology (causes). The human body is so profound and complex. So various health-illness models have been proposed and obviously they all fall short in different ways.
If physical health/illness itself is shrouded in mystery, one can imagine the amount of struggle in understanding psychological health/illness and the complex spill-overs/interactions (psycho-somatic) between both.
The bio-psycho-social model is helpful to an extent, in neatly synthesizing the potential causes and contributors to psychological illness.
- Biological Causes
Brain chemistry, habituated neural pathways, Genetics, Glandular system, Viral/Bacterial infections, Nutritional deficiencies, Sleeplessness etc.
- Social Causes
Trauma, poor socialization, abusive-neglectful home life, Stress, Bereavement/Loss, Job loss, Discrimination/Bullying, Homelessness, Poverty, etc.
- Psychological Causes
Self-esteem, coping skills, sense of identity, chronic negative self-talk, temperament etc.
- Personal Choices
The consequences of sinful or foolish decisions on a spectrum from isolated bad choices with significant emotional-relational implication to addiction.
- Spiritual Causes
Sin, Excessive Guilt, Bad theology (wrong understanding of God), Spiritual attack
It’s often a complex combination and interaction of at least a few of the above.
We hurt people when we make complex questions simpler than they actually are. We also hurt people when we, individuals or churches, are silent on important areas of life. The church is uniquely positioned to address the subject of psychological illness.1
Are our Churches ready?
- Towards a Christian Perspective on Mental Illness by Brad Hambrick.