Mental Illness in Female Writers
This paper endeavors to explore the theories behind the causes of mental illness, particularly in the case of female writers.
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The following paper examines how mental illness in women has historically been attributed to biological and genetic factors. This paper also examines the last century’s research that has given credence to psychosocial factors having an impact on a person’s mental state. The lives of Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Sylvia Plath will illustrate how oppression by patriarchal society can contribute to the disturbance of a brilliant mind.
“Mental illness is defined as a cluster of disorders initiating harsh disturbances in thought, emotion and interaction. This garners significantly weaker capacity for handling with the usual demands of life. (http://www.namimass.org/whatis/illness.htm, 1) There are many causes of mental illness. The biological factors comprise mood swings, reproductive health situations, thyroid activity and how our sleep and activity is controlled. In some cases depression can be hereditary. “There is a 25% rate of depression in the first-degree relatives (mother, father, siblings) of people with depression and greater prevalence of the illness in first-degree and second-degree female relatives.” (Blumenthal, 1996, 2). However, causes of mental illness do not manifest as biological or genetic explanations alone.”