Evolutionism and mental health


Dr. Achotegui is a professor of evolutionary psychology and psychiatry at the University of Barcelona since 2005 and has also taught on this subject at Ramon Llull University. He is the author of the book “Mental disorders an enigmatic linked to evolution” (see the books section of this website).

Evolutionary psychology and psychiatry is a recent branch of the mental health area that answers a whole series of questions that are frequently asked about why evolution continues to maintain, from generation to generation, the propensity to suffer from mental disorders, despite the sufferings and disabilities that result in a considerable number of people.

The answer is that natural selection has chosen to preserve a huge amount of types of psychic functioning that have been useful throughout evolutionary history, a great psychodiversity, instead of possessing a few types of behaviors. Because in an unpredictable world that is constantly changing, it is more adaptive to keep in the genetic code a large repertoire of behavioral possibilities that have been useful at some point in evolution (although some of them are dysfunctional in today’s world), to be tied hand and foot to a few adaptation strategies.

However, as a result of this operation, each subject must do a great job to integrate the entire range of behavioural possibilities. And that process of integration and maturation lasts the whole life of the subject, especially up to 20 years, and requiring a means that facilitates and helps him to realise that integration, which not always unfortunately occurs. Not always the family, society help.