Emotion and Physiology

    One of the most frustrating things about dealing with people who are mentally ill is trying to convince them that their beliefs are wrong. Often these people cling tenaciously to the most outlandish beliefs. 

    There is evidence that there are physiological imbalances or disturbances in people who are mentally ill.  Many people believe that these physiological imbalances are the cause of mental illness.  If this is so then the question becomes how do physiological imbalances cause people to develop irrational beliefs and how do they lead people to hold on to these beliefs with such tenacity.  The following cycles present some of my ideas as to possible causes.   They are based on the idea that a physiological disturbance can create a disturbed emotional state which affects how the mentally ill explain events and leads to the development of a belief system. 

    The tenacity with which the mentally ill cling to these beliefs may be partly explained by evidence they accumulate to support it.  This evidence is really not solid evidence but rather an accumulation of events to which they have given a slanted interpretation.   In the case of paranoia once there are several events for which one has a paranoid interpretation a conspiracy theory of some sort is formed tying the events together.   Once one is convinced of a conspiracy against oneself then the paranoid explanation of events becomes more plausible and one tends to believe it.  The need to defend oneself against the perceived threat may actually increase the tenacity with which one believes in the threat.  In other words part of one's effort to fight off the threat may include fighting off arguments of those who say the threat does not exist.

Paranoia Physiology Cycle

Depression Physiology Cycle

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