The Evangelical Universalist Forum

The Missing Gene: Psychiatry, Heredity, And the Fruitless Search for Genes

Just ordered me a copy. I’ll keep you informed. This is a Psy.D. who shows that they haven’t even come close to proving psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia, Bipolar, Alcoholism, depression etc. are genetic. I know that nobody in my family has my schizoaffective. It’s my belief that these psyc. disorders are caused by environmental factors. These factors affect the chemicals in the brain.

What causes psychiatric disorders to appear? Are they primarily the result of people s environments, or of their genes? Increasingly, we are told that research has confirmed the importance of genetic influences on psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, autism, and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
This timely, challenging book provides a much-needed critical appraisal of the evidence cited in support of genetic theories of psychiatric disorders, which hold that these disorders are caused by an inherited genetic predisposition in combination with environmental agents or events. In fact, the field of psychiatric genetics is approaching the crisis stage due to the continuing failure, despite years of concerted worldwide efforts, to identify genes presumed to underlie most mental disorders.

The belief that such genes exist is based on studies of families, twins, and adoptees. However, the author shows that these studies provide little if any scientifically acceptable evidence in support of genetics. In fact, researchers initial “discoveries” are rarely replicated. As this becomes more understood, and as fruitless gene finding efforts continue to pile up, we may well be headed towards a paradigm shift in psychiatry away from genetic and biological explanations of mental disorders, and towards a greater understanding of how family, social, and political environments contribute to human psychological distress. Indeed, Kenneth Kendler, a leading twin researcher and psychiatric geneticist for over two decades, wrote in a 2005 edition of The American Journal of Psychiatry that the “strong, clear, and direct causal relationship implied by the concept of a gene for … does not exist for psychiatric disorders. Although we may wish it to be true, we do not have and are not likely to ever discover genes for psychiatric illness.”

The author devotes individual chapters to ADHD, autism, and bipolar disorder. Looking specifically at autism, despite the near-unanimous opinion that it has an important genetic component, the evidence cited in support of this position is stunningly weak. It consists mainly of family studies, which cannot disentangle the potential influences of genes and environment, and four small methodologically flawed twin studies whose results can be explained by non-genetic factors. Not surprisingly, then, years of efforts to find “autism genes” have come up empty.

This is an important book because theories based on genetic research are having a profound impact on both scientific and public thinking, as well as on social policy decisions. In addition, genetic theories influence the types of clinical treatments received by people diagnosed with psychiatric disorders. Yet, as the author demonstrates, these theories do not stand up to critical examination.

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If distinct genetic patterns can’t be tied to the disorders, then personal experiences are most likely crucial in their emergence.

Heavenly Father, I come before You as Your child, in great need of Your help. I have physical health needs, emotional needs, spiritual needs and interpersonal needs. Many of my problems have been caused by my own failures, neglect, and sinfulness, for which I humbly beg Your forgiveness. I also as You to forgive the sins of my ancestors whose failures may have left their effects on me in the form of unwanted tendencies, negative behavior patterns and a predisposition towards sin. Heal me, Lord, of all these disorders. With Your help I sincerely forgive everyone, living or dead members of my family lineage, who have directly offended me or my loved ones in any way, or those whose sins have resulted in our present sufferings and disorders. In the name of Your Divine Son Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit, I ask You Father, to deliver me and my entire family lineage from the influence of evil.

Free all members of my family tree, including those in adoptive relationships, and those in extended family relationships, from every contaminating form of bondage. By Your loving concern for us, heavenly Father, and by the shed blood of Your precious Son, Jesus, I beg You to extend Your blessing to me and all my living and deceased relatives. Heal every negative effect transmitted through all past generations, and prevent such negative effects in all future generations.

I symbolically place the cross over the head of every person in my family lineage and I ask you to let the cleansing blood of Jesus purify every aspect of my family. Send protective angels to encamp around us and administer to us Your Divine healing power, even in areas of genetic disability.

After further study I’ve come to hold to a genetic predisposition for schizoaffective along with environmental factors. I know of no one in my family but me that has it but I now see that it could have been generations before me or a spontaneous mutation in my genes. Genetic diseases and disorders are the result of anomalies in a gene or an entire part of the chromosome of an individual. They may arise due to spontaneous mutations or may be inherited from the parents