• Question: If animals can develop serious mental disorders what do you think the main cause would be? Trauma, or could it be something to do with chemical imbalance in the brain ?

    Asked by anon-250599 to NathanK, Jennifer, Alex on 16 Mar 2020.
    • Photo: Nathan Kindred

      Nathan Kindred answered on 16 Mar 2020:

      Good question! Although it is debated in the field whether animals can develop actual mental disorders they can certainly show symptoms (e.g. depressive-like symptoms) and behave negatively in response to adverse experiences. We don’t know for sure what causes mental disorders, but trauma and stress are known to be risk factors for mental health issues and we know that animals show similar stress responses to humans. Additionally, we know that in many mental disorders in the brain there are chemical imbalances, though it could be that trauma leads to these imbalances.