Health - Wellness
Why People Experiencing Multiple Mental Illnesses Is
So Common
In 2020, 52.9 million adults were affected by a mental health disorder, along with 14.2 million adults who were diagnosed with more severe cases of mental illness, as per the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). With many cases beginning in early adolescence, comorbid diagnoses of multiple mental health disorders are common.
By comparing thousands of donated genetic samples, researchers were able to identify correlations between anorexia nervosa and OCD; bipolar disorder and schizophrenia; and major depression and anxiety. Some were observed to be strong, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, which were found to share 70% of their genetic similarities.
Over 150 genetic variants were found to be present across various mental disorders, 20 of which had been previously undiscovered. While the exact role that these genes play in the development of mental illness is unknown, lead study author Andrew Grotzinger believes their team has made a step in the right direction toward better understanding their genetic makeup.
"This study is a stepping stone toward creating a diagnostic manual that better maps on to what is actually happening biologically," Grotzinger elaborated. Further commenting on the significance of their findings, Grotzinger feels the research can lend patients a better understanding of mental illness overlap.