Genetic and environmental factors and onset mechanisms

It should be stressed, however, that the very same behaviours may be found among individuals with genetic as well as with idiopathic mental retardation, which probably means that these behaviours are not only the product of genetic factors but that other factors may be the cause as well. Among other things the process of psychosocial development and interactional patterns with the surroundings can effect the onset of a particular behaviour. Apparently genetic characteristics can influence the psychosocial development which then can be decisive for the onset of particular interactional patterns and particular behaviours. The question is: Do these behaviours play a role in the onset of the aforementioned psychiatric disorders associated with these genetically based syndromes, and if so how do they do this? Or, does a genetic disorder have a more direct role in the onset of a particular psychiatric disorder?

For a better understanding of how specific psychiatric disorders evolve among these individuals it is necessary to make a scheme of the onset mechanisms involved in each psychiatric disorder. It is important to take account of the genetic disorder, the developmental processes, and the interaction patterns with the surroundings in which particular behaviours may play an important role. If one takes all these factors into consideration it may be expected that in certain cases particular psychiatric disorders have a specific aetiology. An example is self-injurious behaviour which is currently considered to be a 'challenging' behaviour, but according to various professionals in this field warrants being seen as being a specific psychopathological phenomenon. However, there are also examples in which the connection between genetic and psychiatric disorder appears to be more direct. An example is the velocardiofacial or Shprintzen syndrome. (4 45ยป

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