Brain disorders Not really Why network structures

Why and when I was reading this

I was doing a deep-dive into the nature of psychiatric disorders.

Key takeaways

  • Despite massive efforts, we don’t have solid explanations of psychiatric disorders from Reductionism
  • If mechanisms are transdiagnostic, the genetic or neurobiological level of explanation can never give us a good understanding of them.
  • The authors argue that we should apply a Network theory approach to psychiatric disorders instead.

…the intense search for the biological basis of mental disorders has not resulted in conclusive reductionist explanations of psychopathology.

Despite finding neurobiological and genetic correlates to psychiatric disorders, they have not been translated into convincing reductive explanations of mental disorders.

There is currently no compelling evidence for the viability of reducing mental disorders to unique biological abnormalities, both in terms of enhance etiological understanding and of improving the effectiveness of interventions. Given this absence of compelling evidence, it seems sensible to entertain the possibility that explanatory reductionism is wrong; i.e., that mental disorders are not brain disorders, that they do not have a privileged description at the level of (neuro)biology, and that we will never find out “what mental disorders really are” through neuroscientific and/or genetic research.

Network approach to mental disorders

  • Mental disorders are “massively multifactorial in their causal background”
  • Many mechanisms that sustain disorders are transdiagnostic
  • Mental disorders require pluralist explanatory accounts