Are People Born Insane or Made That Way?


Cade Campbell, Writer

The term “insane” is used in today’s society, disfiguring ideas of what is defined as insanity and what is not. Scientifically, insanity is defined as having a mental disorder which sometimes prevents one to distinguish the difference between fantasy and reality.


The term “nature” refers to an organism’s biological inheritance, whereas “nurture” refers to an organism’s environmental experiences. For a long time, scientists have struggled to come to any definite conclusion or whether it is one or the other. As the decades have gone by more and more have accepted the fact that some people are coded differently than others, such as being born with a mental disorder. It is being more widely recognized that the behavior of one is not simply defined as being caused by their nature or their nurture, but rather an interaction of the two. 


“The debate between nature and nurture in psychology is one that has been fiercely fought for millennia,” Patrick McConegly, psychology teacher, said. 


Still, it’s a widely debated topic, and people have different depictions of those with mental illnesses. Some people do not even think of them as an illness, and instead, think of their acts as a choice.


“I believe insane people choose to be insane. We all have free will no matter what limitations are on our life,” Jarrod Metcalfe (11) said. 

This non-psychological approach is one that many firmly believe in, instead of believing that every choice one makes is a conscious and avoidable choice. Others tend to lean towards biological or genetic factors to explain how one is mentally insane. 

“Usually some people––I’ve noticed––that are insane have parents that also show some mental red flags, whether or not they were insane or not,” Rachel Hatten (11) said. “They may have been near it.” 


Some psychologists, believe that, yes, it may include some nature and genetics, but it is also more than that. It is people’s surroundings.


“Personally, I think the environment people grow up in plays a greater role in their mental disorders than their genetics,” McConegly said.


Whether it is nature or nurture, it’s still a hotly debated topic (without a known correct answer) although it is more widely accepted to believe both the way one grows up. The environment they grow up in and their genetics both play a role. 


As Tim Burton said: “One person’s craziness is another person’s reality.”