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Psychological Disorders Essay

Psychological Disorders Essay


Mental Disorders

There are many diseases and disorders that may affect the human mind. Some of these are serious, while others are minor and may not even be noticed. Some of the disorders and diseases to be covered in this report are delirium, dementia, and schizophrenia, also a discussion of specific symptoms and treatments available for the different disorders.Psychological Disorders Essay


A mental illness is defined as any disease that affects a person’s mind, thoughts, emotions, personality, or behavior. For any mental illness, as in a physical illness, there are symptoms that make it possible to identify when a person is suffering from a mental disorder or illness. Some of the more common symptoms of these disorders include extreme moods, sadness, …show more content…
There are two basic terms used to describe the seriousness of mental illness that a person has.Psychological Disorders Essay The terms used are neurosis, and psychosis. A neurosis is the term used to describe a mild disorder that may cause a small amount of emotional stress, but does not cause a great deal of interference in the patients everyday life. The term psychosis is used to describe a severe mental illness that is strong enough to prevent someone from performing as they normally would. The term “insanity” is used to describe a person with a mental illness. This is not a medical term. It is actually a legal term that is used in court to try to prove a person to not be legally responsible for their actions. Psychological Disorders Essay
There are more than one hundred different types of mental illness. They are divided into ten categories. These categories include delirium, dementia, schizophrenia, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, dissociative disorders, somatoform disorders, personality disorders, eating, and finally substance disorders.
The first of these categories, delirium is when a person is not aware of their environment and can be distracted very easily or become confused. Sometimes a delirious person may not know where or who they are, their speech may be hard to follow and be very disorganized. Delirium however is not usually a long lasting illness and the person is over it in a week or so.Psychological Disorders Essay

Mental health refers to our cognitive, behavioral, and emotional wellbeing – it is all about how we think, feel, and behave. The term ‘mental health’ is sometimes used to mean an absence of a mental disorder.
Mental health can affect daily life, relationships, and even physical health. Mental health also includes a person’s ability to enjoy life – to attain a balance between life activities and efforts to achieve psychological resilience.Psychological Disorders Essay

In this article, we will explain what is meant by the terms “mental health” and “mental illness.” We will also describe the most common types of mental disorder and how they are treated. The article will also cover some early signs of mental health problems.Psychological Disorders Essay

Woman with mental health issues
Mental health problems can affect anyone at any age.
According to Medilexicon’s medical dictionary, mental health is:

“Emotional, behavioral, and social maturity or normality; the absence of a mental or behavioral disorder; a state of psychological well-being in which one has achieved a satisfactory integration of one’s instinctual drives acceptable to both oneself and one’s social milieu; an appropriate balance of love, work, and leisure pursuits.”Psychological Disorders Essay

According to the WHO (World Health Organization), mental health is:

“… a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”Psychological Disorders Essay

The WHO stresses that mental health “is not just the absence of mental disorder.”

Risk factors
Experts say we all have the potential to develop mental health problems, no matter how old we are, whether we are male or female, rich or poor, or which ethnic group we belong to.

Almost 1 in 5 Americans experiences mental health problems each year (18.5 percent). In the United States, in 2015, an estimated 9.8 million adults (over 18) had a serious mental disorder. That equates to 4.8 percent of all American adults.Psychological Disorders Essay

A large proportion of the people who have a mental disorder have more than one.

In the U.S. and much of the developed world, mental disorders are one of the leading causes of disability.Psychological Disorders Essay

Common disorders
The most common types of mental illness are anxiety disorders, mood disorders, and schizophrenia disorders; below we explain each in turn:

Anxiety disorders
Woman with anxiety disorder
Anxiety disorders are the most common type of mental illness.
Anxiety disorders are the most common types of mental illness.

The individual has a severe fear or anxiety, which is linked to certain objects or situations. Most people with an anxiety disorder will try to avoid exposure to whatever triggers their anxiety.Psychological Disorders Essay

Examples of anxiety disorders include:

Panic disorder – the person experiences sudden paralyzing terror or a sense of imminent disaster.

Phobias – these may include simple phobias (a disproportionate fear of objects), social phobias (fear of being subject to the judgment of others), and agoraphobia (dread of situations where getting away or breaking free may be difficult). We really do not know how many phobias there are – there could be thousands of types.Psychological Disorders Essay

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) – the person has obsessions and compulsions. In other words, constant stressful thoughts (obsessions), and a powerful urge to perform repetitive acts, such as hand washing (compulsion).Psychological Disorders Essay

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – this can occur after somebody has been through a traumatic event – something horrible or frightening that they experienced or witnessed. During this type of event, the person thinks that their life or other people’s lives are in danger. They may feel afraid or feel that they have no control over what is happening.Psychological Disorders Essay

Mood disorders
These are also known as affective disorders or depressive disorders. Patients with these conditions have significant changes in mood, generally involving either mania (elation) or depression. Examples of mood disorders include:Psychological Disorders Essay

Major depression – the individual is no longer interested in and does not enjoy activities and events that they previously liked. There are extreme or prolonged periods of sadness.

Bipolar disorder – previously known as manic-depressive illness, or manic depression. The individual switches from episodes of euphoria (mania) to depression (despair).Psychological Disorders Essay

Persistent depressive disorder – previously known as dysthymia, this is mild chronic (long term) depression. The patient has similar symptoms to major depression but to a lesser extent.Psychological Disorders Essay

SAD (seasonal affective disorder) – a type of major depression that is triggered by lack of daylight. It is most common in countries far from the equator during late autumn, winter, and early spring.Psychological Disorders Essay

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD): What is it?
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD): What is it?
Seasonal affective disorder is a type of depression that occurs in the winter in countries that are far from the equator.
Schizophrenia disorders
Whether or not schizophrenia is a single disorder or a group of related illnesses has yet to be fully determined. It is a highly complex condition. Schizophrenia normally begins between the ages of 15 and 25. The individual has thoughts that appear fragmented; they also find it hard to process information.Psychological Disorders Essay

Schizophrenia has negative and positive symptoms. Positive symptoms include delusions, thought disorders, and hallucinations. Negative symptoms include withdrawal, lack of motivation, and a flat or inappropriate mood. (See the article “What is schizophrenia” for further detail).Psychological Disorders Essay

Mental health problems – an introduction
Explains what mental health problems are, what may cause them, and the many different kinds of help, treatment and support that are available. Also provides guidance on where to find more information, and tips for friends and family.Psychological Disorders Essay

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About mental health problems
Types of mental health problems
Difficult feelings & behaviours
Stigma & misconceptions
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We’ve come so far, but got so far to go
Juliette blogs about stigma and misunderstanding and why it’s time to change attitudes.Psychological Disorders Essay

Juliette Burton
Posted on 16/07/2015

How are you?
Claire blogs about the question ‘How are you?’ and why we should answer honestly.


Posted on 11/05/2015

Tom and Morgan’s epic fundraising cycle
Tom and Morgan have set out on a 2000-mile bike ride from Hanoi to Singapore to raise money for mental health.Psychological Disorders Essay

Posted on 27/03/2015

What are mental health problems?
In many ways, mental health is just like physical health: everybody has it and we need to take care of it.Psychological Disorders Essay

Good mental health means being generally able to think, feel and react in the ways that you need and want to live your life. But if you go through a period of poor mental health you might find the ways you’re frequently thinking, feeling or reacting become difficult, or even impossible, to cope with. This can feel just as bad as a physical illness, or even worse.

Mental health problems affect around one in four people in any given year. They range from common problems, such as depression and anxiety, to rarer problems such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.Psychological Disorders Essay

I now know that if I felt there was something wrong, it’s because there was, but I didn’t understand mental health fully… it’s a spectrum and you should feel able to decide where and when you [are] on that spectrum.Psychological Disorders Essay

Am I the only one who feels this way?
Experiencing a mental health problem is often upsetting, confusing and frightening – particularly at first. If you become unwell, you may feel that it’s a sign of weakness, or that you are ‘losing your mind’.Psychological Disorders Essay

These fears are often reinforced by the negative (and often unrealistic) way that people experiencing mental health problems are shown on TV, in films and by the media. This may stop you from talking about your problems, or seeking help. This, in turn, is likely to increase your distress and sense of isolation.Psychological Disorders Essay

However, in reality, mental health problems are a common human experience.

Most people know someone who has experienced a mental health problem. They can happen to all kinds of people from all walks of life. And it’s likely that, when you find a combination of self-care, treatment and support that works for you, you will get better.Psychological Disorders Essay

It wasn’t until I had a breakdown that I felt my condition was ‘serious enough’ to qualify as an issue. I could have got help much earlier but I didn’t because of this – it’s never too early to seek advice.

Different perspectives on mental health and mental illness

There are various approaches to mental health and mental illness
around the world. Most health professionals in the UK agree on a similar set of clinical diagnoses and treatments for mental health problems. We have chosen to reflect this approach in our information, as these are the terms and treatment models that you are most likely to come across if you seek help in England or Wales.Psychological Disorders Essay

However, not everyone finds it helpful to think about their mental health this way. Depending on your traditions and beliefs you might have different ideas about how best to cope. In many cultures, emotional wellbeing is closely associated with religious or spiritual life. And your difficult experiences may be just one part of how you understand your identity overall.Psychological Disorders Essay

We use the phrase ‘mental health problems’, as many people have told us this feels helpful for them. But you might be more familiar with terms such as ‘poor emotional health’, ‘overloaded’, ‘burnt out’ or ‘overwhelmed’. Or you may feel that terms such as ‘mental illness’ or ‘mental health issues’ describe your experiences better, or are easier to explain to other people in your life.Psychological Disorders Essay

However you understand your own experiences, and whatever terms you prefer to use, we hope that you will find the information in these pages useful when considering different options for care and support.Psychological Disorders Essay

This information was published in October 2017 – to be revised in 2020. References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information see our page on permissions and licensing.Psychological Disorders Essay

We have all been thrilled with the response to our first essay contest, in which psychiatrists wrote about experiences with patients that had a profound effect on their careers. One of the aspects of the prize-winning works, the first of which were published last month, is the central importance of listening empathically to our patients. To emphasize this point, I thought it would be important to publish a piece from someone who has been personally affected by a psychiatric problem. To hear from the person on the other side of the interaction.Psychological Disorders Essay

This month I share with you an essay written by Sam Pillersdorf, who was the winner of the prose award from the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) in my home city of Louisville. I was present and deeply affected when Sam read her prize-winning work, “The Thing About Mental Illness,” to the audience at the celebration of all the winners of the various categories in the DBSA art contest, which included visual, written, and performance art.Psychological Disorders Essay

Her description, at once poetic, raw, and haunting, of her experience of having a psychiatric illness is so powerful in revealing what I believe are common, but rarely articulated, thoughts and feelings that I asked her permission to publish her essay in Psychiatric Times. Sam, who works as an Adult Peer Support Specialist at Bridgehaven Mental Health Services, a wonderful community-based and recovery-focused program in Louisville, quickly gave her approval. I often think about her and what she expresses in her writing, and it has influenced my work with every patient I’ve seen since then. I think you will be changed too.Psychological Disorders Essay

The Thing About Mental Illness

Sam Pillersdorf

The thing about mental illness is—it’s this: it’s that it sucks. That it’s terrible. That it’s deeply and profoundly unpleasant and even if it’s not due to a particular, single symptom to begin with, it makes you hate yourself because it’s your mind that’s sick. And if you aren’t your mind, who are you?

Other than often feeling completely and utterly miserable; other than being the stupid asshole in the back of class who can’t decide whether they’re there to learn or while away the time until they inevitably end their life; other than a mess of blood and entrails and squishy gray bits to dump out on an autopsy table and poke through with needle-knives and forceps after the “accident” that ended it all; other than all of that, the only part of you that can’t get shot or torn apart, can’t explode into red mist and bone shards, is mind. And when that’s diseased, where are you? What would Rene Descartes have to say about this? About you?

You think; you are a thinking thing. You are a thing. You exist, you are necessary. And as a condition of consciousness of yourself, you know there must be a self, an object made of consciousness. And that object, you are now told, is malfunctioning. It is unwell. It is ill. There is a disease, a sickness, creeping within you; in your thoughts, your mind, your consciousness, your self; your uniform, indivisible, nonphysical self.Psychological Disorders Essay

You cannot mix souls. You cannot dilute them. You cannot infect them. This is you, eternal, essential, we’re talking about here. If it is diseased, then you are diseased. If it is diseased, you are disease. Disease is not a part of you; it is you. It is of you. It is part of you only in that every other thing about you is part of you. It is as much a part of you as your eyes or your brains or your intellect or your nerves or your curiosity or your affections or your words or your fear.Psychological Disorders Essay

If your mind is sick, is ill, then you are that sickness. You are illness. You are unclean, you are impure. No, wait. You are not merely unclean or impure, you are uncleanliness, impurity. You are the filth that they say infects you. You are what the doctors say is wrong with you. You are what’s wrong. You are wrong.Psychological Disorders Essay

Mental Illness Mental illness is a disorder that is characterized by disturbances in a person’s thought, emotions, or behavior. Mental illness refers to a wide variety of disorders, ranging from those that cause mild distress to those that impair a person’s ability to function in daily life.Psychological Disorders Essay Many have tried to figure out the reasons for mental illnesses. All of these reasons have been looked at and thought of for thousands of years. The biological perspective views mental illness as a bodily process. Where as the psychological perspectives think the role of a person’s upbringing and environment are causes for mental illnesses. Researchers estimate that about 24 percent of people over eighteen in the United States suffer from some sort of common mental illness, such as depression and phobias. Studies have also shown that 2.6 percent of adults in the United States suffer from some sort of severe form of mental illness, such as schizophrenia, panic disorders, or bipolar disorders.Psychological Disorders Essay Younger people also suffer from mental illnesses the same way that adults do. 14 to 20 percent of individuals under the age of eighteen suffer from a case of mental illness. Studies show that 9 to 13 percent of children between the ages of nine and seventeen suffer from a serious emotional disturbances, that disrupts the child’s daily life. Major depression is a severe disorder. Symptoms include withdraw from family and/or friends, weight loss, sleeping problems, frequent crying, fleeing helpless, delusions, and hallucinations. This disease is usually diagnosed during adolescence; parents may notice grades dropping, poor self-image, troubled social relations, and suicidal acts. This disease may be fatal if the person becomes suicidal. Phobia is a disease where a person has an irrational fear of an object or situation.Psychological Disorders Essay

The nature of mental illness has been the subject of passionate discussion throughout history. In ancient Greece Plato,1,2 promoting a mentalist definition of mental illness, was the first to coin the term “mental health,” which was conceived as reason aided by temper and ruling over passion. At around the same time, Hippocrates,3 taking a more physicalist approach, defined different mental conditions as a variety of imbalances between different kinds of “humours.” Griesinger4,5 almost 2 centuries ago was the first to state that “mental illness is brain illness,” an expression that has provided a strong impetus to the more recent medical conception of mental illness. The substantial progress accomplished in genomics and brain imaging in the last few decades made biological psychiatry stronger than ever and contributed to the reification of mental disorders as illnesses of the brain. Psychological Disorders EssayThe almost exclusively biogenetic conceptual framework for understanding mental illness has acquired a hegemony that has influenced mental health practitioners while also influencing campaigns designed to improve public attitudes toward the mentally ill. As a result, the statement “mental illness is like any other illness” has become almost axiomatic and, therefore, by definition it embodies an accepted truth not in need of a proof.Psychological Disorders Essay

This view of mental illness is presented for better acceptance of the mentally ill by the public and of treatment by those experiencing mental illness and is indeed based on accumulated, albeit limited, knowledge in the neurobiology of mental disorders. However, anything that reaches axiomatic proportions needs a serious examination. In this editorial we examine the reasons underlying this perspective, its consequences and the evidence to support or refute its continued justification. We then present a position that we believe best fits the current state of knowledge and is closest to clinical realities and public perceptions of mental illnesses.

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What does the statement actually imply?
The statement that “mental illness is like any other medical illness” implies that mental illness has a biological basis just like other medical illnesses and should be treated in the public’s eye in a similar manner. The purpose of this article is not to present a philosophical or ideological argument in favour of or against a biological basis explaining mental illness, but rather to examine the clinical and public utility of presenting a dominant neurobiological model of mental illness to patients, their families and the public at large.Psychological Disorders Essay

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Illness, pathophysiology and the “self”
To understand the justification of equating mental and medical disorders, a comparison often made between type 2 diabetes and mental disorders, especially schizophrenia, other psychoses and depression, is worth examining in some detail. Diabetes, although very complex, is understood as the result of dysfunctional glucose metabolism related to absolute or relative insufficiency of insulin signalling. This dysfunctional metabolism is the consequence of endogenous predispositions, such as hereditary diathesis, and environmental factors, including personal choices, such as poor diet and sedentary life style. Psychological Disorders EssayTherefore, by improving glucose metabolism, either through medication, insulin replacement or changes in lifestyle, positive health outcomes can be expected. Diabetes is diagnosed by confirming high levels of fasting glucose and other related biochemical markers of glucose metabolism. Further, the cascade of its effects on other systems (e.g., cardiovascular, central nervous system) are, or could be, well explained on the basis of physiologic mechanisms. They can also be prevented/treated by better and early control of diabetes. All through this, however, the patient is aware of the nature of his or her problems, including personal choices, and diabetes generally does not affect his or her day-today thinking, behaviour or perception. Except for mental health complications due to neurologic illnesses (e.g., delirium in the context of severe metabolic complications, depression as a consequence of awareness of the life and death implication of the disorder, abnormal perceptions in the case of some neurologic conditions), it can be stated that somatic illnesses, such as diabetes do not usually alter the core self of a person substantially. More importantly, the model of attribution presented to the patient is congruent with the scientific “facts,” thereby making it easier for the person as well as society to accept the condition.Psychological Disorders Essay

Mental disorders, on the other hand, affect the very core of one’s being through a range of experiences and phenomena of varying severity that alter the individual’s thinking, perception and consciousness about the self, others and the world.Psychological Disorders Essay This is seen to an extreme degree with more serious mental disorders, such as psychoses and bipolar disorders, but to a lesser albeit significant degree with anxiety, mood, eating and other psychiatric disorders. Emotion, perception, thought and action are the essence of human identity and the concept of “self,” and these are the prime domains altered in mental disorders.Psychological Disorders Essay The precise definition of what constitutes the self and whether the location of a state of self is a material reality in the brain, its form and the brain-related factors that influence it are deeply philosophical issues,6,7 but not the subject of this editorial. Suffice it to say that factors involved in increasing the risk for mental disorders are endogenous (genetics is recognized as a major contributor to most mental disorders) as well as environmental, much like most medical disorders. Psychological deprivation and trauma, social defeat and isolation, poverty and poor family environment are but some of the environmental factors that have been reported to increase the risk for mental disorders.Psychological Disorders Essay In addition to changes at the physiologic level, common to somatic and mental disorders the latter encompass changes in one’s definition of “self,” and are not situated outside the “self.” It can even be argued that in the absence of any substantiated biological marker for mental disorders (only 1 has been included in the recent DSM-5: orexin change in narcolepsy),8 the hallmark defining features of mental disorders, at least for now, remain the changes in how the patients feel, think and act and how these changes affect their relation to themselves and to others.Psychological Disorders Essay

As a first corollary of this definition, contrary to medical conditions where restoring dysfunctional physiologic mechanisms is the main target of therapeutic interventions, this is only 1 part of the therapeutic interventions for mental disorders. The primary focus of therapeutic interventions in mental disorders is helping the patient to feel better and interact more adaptively with his or her social and physical environments.Psychological Disorders Essay Although there is little doubt that all medical conditions require psychological attention, mental health interventions focus primarily on achieving a positive change in feeling, self-esteem, mood, perceptions, thoughts and action — all changes in the “self” that are not primarily targeted in the treatment of medical conditions. Different models of psychological and social interventions are the main ingredients for these desired changes in the self.Psychological Disorders Essay

A second corollary of this definition is the fact that mental health is very laden with values, not because scientific factors are lacking, but because values become of the utmost importance — more so than for medical disorders — when we deal with the self and its restoration. While somatic illnesses such as diabetes are primarily defined and shaped by biologically discernible facts, values do play a certain role but do not define the disorder.Psychological Disorders Essay Societal and personal values are important in the treatment of most medical disorders, but acquire paramount importance in the case of mental disorders. Societal and cultural values even define variations in diagnoses over time and across geographic locations. Compulsory treatments, a particularity in the mental health field, are a strong testimony of how mental health can interfere with the self and how the personal values of the patient can clash with the societal values, thus necessitating legal, value-laden mitigation.Psychological Disorders Essay

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Neurobiology and experience of mental illness
Advances in neurosciences have surely given us much better biological mechanistic explanations of many of the uniquely human cognitive, emotional and conative functions, such as memory, thinking, perception, mood and action. This knowledge has informed us that many mental illnesses derive their vulnerability from underlying biological variations. However, we are far from being able to explain in neurobiological terms many of the behaviours and experiences that constitute the core presentations of mental disorders. Even if neurobiology one day were to provide better explanations of the workings of the brain, more elaborately explain the role of genes in increasing the risk for mental illness and the mechanisms behind complex human behaviour, one would still need to understand the experiences of patients with different forms of mental illness in psychological terms, as recently described by Kendler9 so eloquently. By equating mental illness with any medical illness and, therefore, situating it in an organ within the human biology and not recognizing its unique nature in the way it affects the “self” cannot be justified on the basis of current state of knowledge nor may it serve our patients and society well, as we explain in the rest of this editorial.Psychological Disorders Essay

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Mental illness and the utility of explanatory models
Indeed, it is envisaged that putting mental illness on the same footing as medical illness, society will understand it better and not react negatively toward those with mental illnesses. It is hoped that as a result those with mental illness may face less social stigma — a major obstacle to people seeking and/or receiving help — and reducing stigma may help individuals regain eventual acceptance by society as productive members. Interestingly, the public’s explanatory models of mental illness do not follow this narrative and, on the contrary, the public have multiple models of explaining mental illness varying across cultures and times.Psychological Disorders Essay

One needs to ask the pragmatic question of whether the strategy of using a biogenetic model of mental illness and equating it with medical illness has actually helped. There are 2 areas worthy of examination in this regard.Psychological Disorders Essay

Explanatory models, stigma and society
The first is to examine the effect of the statement, “mental illness is like any other medical illness,” on social stigma toward people with mental illness. As indicated previously, implicit in the axiomatic statement is a primarily biological origin of the behaviour and suffering that characterize mental illness. Let us examine the evidence in this regard. In the last decade or 2, biogenetic attribution of all mental disorders, having acquired a hegemoneous status10 has been used primarily to inform campaigns for reducing stigma and promoting better acceptance of mental illness and the people with mental illnesses by society.11,12 Several well-conducted studies have concluded, almost uniformly, that this strategy has not only not worked, but also may have worsened public attitudes and behaviour toward those with mental illnesses.Psychological Disorders Essay Investigations of stigma have shown that those who consider mental disorders as primarily attributable to biological forces, just like other medical disorders, while absolving the mentally ill person of responsibility for their behaviour and actions, tend to feel less optimistic about their ability to get better and function well, are less accepting of them and feel less positively toward them.13–16 In a review of the literature related to the concept of mental illness being like any other illness, Read and colleagues17 reported that biogenetic causal theories and diagnostic labelling as illness are both positively related to perceptions of dangerousness and unpredictability and to fear of and desire for social distance.Psychological Disorders Essay The attitudes investigated in these studies are reflected in individuals’ responses to whether they would live next door to, socialize or make friends with or have a close relative get married to a person described as being mentally ill. There is also evidence to suggest that biogenetic explanatory models may have negative consequences for those with mental illness in terms of their implicit self concept and explicit attitudes, such as fear.18 Further, campaigns to reduce stigma that encourage people to think about mental illness as simply another form of medical illness have produced results that show effects to the contrary.Psychological Disorders Essay For example, a recent study showed that over a 10-year period of deliberate use of the biogenetic explanatory model for campaigning to reduce stigma has resulted in worsening of most, if not all, aspects of public attitudes toward individuals with mental illnesses.19,20 The strength of these perhaps counterintuitive findings comes from the fact that these studies were adequately designed, well powered and, most importantly, replicated in several countries (e.g., United States, Britain, Germany) with very similar results. It is acknowledged that these relatively negative attitudes may be particularly stronger in relation to certain forms of mental illness (e.g., psychosis, manic depressive illness) and addictions.Psychological Disorders Essay

Explanatory models of mental illness and the mentally ill person
Another domain — perhaps the most important — of examination is the individual with mental illness. In clinical practice, telling patients that their presenting mental illness is like any other medical illness may initially reassure some and assist them in accepting to take medication, especially during the distressing acute phases of a serious mental disorder.Psychological Disorders Essay They or their families may welcome a simple explanation for encouraging them to accept treatment, which in many cases includes medication. While this strategy can achieve something very important in acute crisis-like situations, it may become problematic, if persistent over time, in getting individuals to accept other highly effective psychological and social treatments. These latter interventions are highly effective and considerably less noxious than often less effective medications for some forms of mental illness, such as mild to moderate depression, anxiety and eating disorders, and emotional dysregulation associated with several long-standing mental illnesses. Even in the most serious mental disorders, such as psychotic, bipolar and severe major depressive disorders, where medications are invariably an essential part of treatment, psychological and social therapeutic interventions are the essential bridge between pharmacological interventions during the acute crises and the need for their sustained use in the long term while at the same time achieving the essential goals of relief of internal distress, restoration of self and a return to productive social and working lives.Psychological Disorders Essay

Furthermore, presenting mental illness as any other medical illness often implies a medical treatment (medication in most cases) as the dominant treatment strategy. Patients’ rejection of the treating clinician’s medical illness model is generally described as lack of insight and starts the cycle of nonadherence to medication, which then translates into nonadherence to treatment. In reality, if patients and families are allowed to articulate their attributional models, given credit for their “experiential knowledge” and encouraged to enter into a dialogue with the treating clinician, it is more likely there will be some consensus on acceptance of recommended treatment. This may prevent the cycle of disengagement and decline in the course that follows.Psychological Disorders Essay

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What needs to be done?
In clinical practice, if we are to take seriously the multidimensional goals of providing mental health services, as articulated by those seeking and receiving help for mental illness, clinicians have to work within an attributional model that makes sense to the person receiving service, that can be supported by sound argument and evidence and that provides a framework within which those receiving service and those providing it can share a common language. Such a framework will need to include the biogenetic model of attribution of mental illness as 1 of several parallel and equally authentic social, psychological, environmental and cultural models offered by service providers and researchers (acquired knowledge) as well as those who experience mental illness (experiential knowledge). There is a need to create a common language in order to come to an understanding of the person’s experience and to promote such an understanding among the public at large. Denying the special nature of mental illness is unlikely to achieve these important goals.Psychological Disorders Essay

Some recent developments, such as the promotion of a recovery model21–23 and the early intervention movement,24,25 may hold more promise in improving both the quality of care and possibly involvement of and improvement in public attitudes. The former has emerged from experiential knowledge and advocacy from service users, supported later by sound qualitative research, whereas the latter has emerged from a combination of a shift in philosophy of delivery of care on the part of service providers, parallel generation of evidence of its effectiveness26,27 and greater acceptance by service users and their families, who have now joined the movement as advocates.Psychological Disorders Essay A third emerging movement, the concept of positive mental health,28,29 may prove to be effective in combating the negative image of mental illness. This movement promotes and is based on human resilience and positive aspects of the experience of mental illness. There is a burgeoning literature emerging in this field, which may balance the rather deterministic, deficit oriented and largely pessimistic miasma created by using an exclusively biogenetic model to explain mental disorders.Psychological Disorders Essay

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Conclusion and recommendations
Simply seeking an axiom of “mental illness is like any other medical illness” is at best simplifying a complex human problem and at worst doing a major disservice to patients, their families and the mental health field. Our dialogue should incorporate the general complexity of human thinking, behaviour, memories and the idea of self and consciousness, including knowledge emerging from sophisticated biogenetic and social science research while attending to the specific complexities that each of us as human beings carry as part of our life stories. That is true for those receiving and those providing services.Psychological Disorders Essay

We therefore argue that we should continue to have a social and a professional conversation where we find a proper place for neurobiology, social, cultural and environmental forces, personal histories and the uniqueness of each individual when trying to understand, explain and treat mental disorders while avoiding a simplistic reductionism that may be perceived at best as patronizing but ultimately harmful, even though the intentions may be noble. We propose that future antistigma campaigns should give up the axiom of “mental illness is like any other medical illness” and instead present the complex and multifaceted explanations of mental illness as unique along with the positive aspects as discussed here.Psychological Disorders Essay These campaigns need to be informed not only by the acquired knowledge of service providers and scientists but equally by the experiential knowledge from service users and their families, taking into consideration new knowledge emerging from fields of recovery, early intervention and positive mental health. For clinicians, it would be equally important to embrace explanatory models of mental illness that are based on evidence in science and to include biogenetic, social and cultural models as well as those told to them by the very people they are trying to serve.Psychological Disorders Essay

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