Is It Mental Illness or Adaptation?

I came across an article in Forbes by Alison Escalante titled Researchers Doubt That Certain Mental Disorders Are Disorders At All based on a paper by biological anthropologists.  I so appreciate the conversation and the points that were brought up. I find that half of what I do while working with clients is validating their experience, and the behaviors they developed to adapt to a traumatic environment they lived through or were exposed to.  They state:

“Taken together, the authors posit that anxiety, depression and PTSD may be adaptive responses to adversity. “Defense systems are adaptations that reliably activate in fitness‐threatening situations in order to minimize fitness loss,” they write. It’s not hard to see how that could be true for anxiety; worry helps us avoid danger. But how can that be true for depression? They argue that the “psychic pain” of depression helps us “focus attention on adverse events… so as to mitigate the current adversity and avoid future such adversities.””

Please click the link below to see the full article in Forbes:

Researchers Doubt That Certain Mental Disorders Are Disorders at All

Original Paper Article based on:

Mental health is biological health: Why tackling “diseases of the mind” is an imperative for biological anthropology in the 21st century by Kristen L. Syme, Edward H. Hagen