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Do you believe in mental illness

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Post on TSR and win a prize! Find out more... 10-04-2014
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    I'm not sure about the question really.....

    To me, the real question should be, to what level are mental illnesses based on the environment and to what level are they genetic?

    Which mental illnesses are because of environmental issues (e.g. death in the family, major trauma, or they just "happened") and which ones are because of an actual chemical/physiological issue with the brain?

    It's a very interesting issue, because I have seen many, many people in this forum (and indeed, my gf) who have been treated in one way or another for mental illness.

    Yet where I come from, there is a total of one (that I know of) licensed psychiatrist, and there seems to be a lot less of an issue with mental illnesses. Granted, the "MAJOR" ones (e.g. schizophrenia) are medically treated and addressed, but other "minor" issues such as depression, social anxiety and other phobias aren't really, and to be honest, I find a LOT fewer people who I would think would have such issues.

    I think the thing is, to determine to the EXTENT that one's mental illness is environmentally influenced is a very important thing to determine
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    I'd say that while some behaviours can wrongly be interpreted as mental illness (e.g. someone who talks to themself a lot - they might just like talking to themself for some weird reason!) it's very clear that mental illness does exist as a neurological condition.
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    (Original post by OU Student)
    Well, yes. Why would anyone who is of sound mind commit suicide?
    People commit suicide because they can't cope with the overwhelming pressures piled upon them. Sometimes it's because of depression, which is a mental condition, but not always...
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    (Original post by oo00oo)
    I think the OP's point (in a way), and certainly my point, is that before you can diagnose something as "not working correctly", then you need to have a rigorous definition of what "working correctly" is in the first place.

    At the moment, we define "working correctly" as "working in a way that is close to the statistical average of the way in which all similar things work".

    In other words, we define somebody as mentally ill if their brain behaviour (and hence, actual behaviour) deviates significantly from what we would see, on average, in most other brain behaviours.

    But I question whether or not that's a valid definition of "not working correctly".

    I don't doubt that the neurological differences between individuals exist, and that these neurological differences can be measured, and their effect evaluated. But I do question whether or not the current method of measuring these differences is sufficient for diagnosing somebody as mentally ill.
    There are four D's to the equation- Deviance, Distress, Dysfunction and Danger. Generally speaking a person's deviant behaviour won't be classified as a mental illness unless the person is in distress, cannot function properly i.e. cannot cook or clean himself, and is putting himself or other people in danger. Someone who is deviant may just be eccentric but that wouldn't be sufficient grounds to classify them as mentally ill.
    Whilst I don't doubt that improvements are still to be made to the current diagnosis system, the DSM and the ICM manuals are extremely thorough and doesn't allow for the categorisation of an individual based on solely one factor.

    To answer the OP's question: of course mental illness exists.
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    Of course I do... I have seen mental health problems ruin people's lives unfortunately :/ There stigmatised but it really does affect people and the way they act or see things.
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    Mental illness = made up.
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    (Original post by OU Student)
    Well, yes. Why would anyone who is of sound mind commit suicide?
    Suicide could potentially be a very rational thing for somebody who's life had very little joy or hope of there ever being any.
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    (Original post by yothi5)
    Mental illness = made up.
    Pain = made up (by your brain).
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    (Original post by najinaji)
    I've never quite understood this classification either. From what studies have shown, it appears to be more of an offshoot of some sort of intersex condition than anything else.
    I studied this within my specialisation of psychiatry and social control in mental illness, and its mental illness classification has startling similarity to the ex-classification of homosexuality. The primary reasons behind its mental illness classification appear to be to appease the societal majority-- promoting it as an individualised problem (family level usually) rather than a natural phenomenon (could happen at random to anyone's offspring) is the preferable option.

    Also, mental disorder classification allows 'gate-keeping' of social norms through psychiatric diagnostic testing-- of which is almost mostly irrelevant to identifying whether or not the individual has the condition, but instead to censor whether allowing treatment would produce a more socially acceptable individual. Studies, although not conclusive, certainly appear to rubbish environmental causation, yet diagnostic testing of G.I.D. currently involves, solely, looking at environmental background (childhood, abuse, broken families etc.).

    For example, sexuality and gender are unrelated yet transsexual people who are gay (transsexual men who were assigned a female sex role at birth who are attracted to other men) find it more difficult to obtain diagnosis and treatment due to the view that allowing 'transition' would create a less 'normal' individual than if they delayed and attempted to persuade the transsexual man to live as a heterosexual woman.

    If it was classed as a biological condition, objective testing would prevent this from happening and would give the State less control over a 'condition' that the societal majority currently view as threatening to one of society's most influential binary systems; and therefore is not in the State's interests to allow biological categorisation.
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    Unfortunately, mental illness has always been a very controversial issue. The idea that it does not exist is due to the fact that it is not "tangible". For example, we know that air is 'real" but we can not see it, or touch it, but that does not mean it does not exist. Psychology is not an exact science, so many people find it hard to believe in.

    Also, when someone does not have knowledge of something, it is easier to just deny its existence. People also fear the unknown, and it is easier to just ignore it, rather than self educate themselves. For those who have been blessed with good mental health, you are extremely fortunate, and be grateful for your good health. I wish you continued well being. Please show tolerance, and compassion for those who have suffered, and been victims of mental illness. No one chooses to be mentally ill, just as no one chooses to contract a severe physical illness.
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    Person A believes that their family have been replaced by imposters. They attacks their own brother whilst trying to interrogate him, to find out where their 'real' brother is.

    Person B cannot stand their own leg. They feel like it doesn't belong and causes them much distress. They take a saw and slowly carve through the flesh and bone and remove their own leg.

    Person C feels no empathy. On a whim, they murder their co-worker. They feel no guilt afterwards, and claim it was their co-workers fault for working so late; C feels as though they have done the co-worker a favour, as he worked so hard that he needed to be stopped.

    Person D cannot wear a coat with buttons. Whenever they see buttons, they have severe anxiety, sweating, shouting, nausea, light-headedness, hyperventilation and heart palpitations.

    Person E will randomly stop moving, and will hold their rigid pose for hours, with no recognition of external stimuli.

    And you ask whether mental illnesses exist?

    A = Capgras delusion, B = Body Integrity Identity Disorder, C = Psychopathy, D = Specific Phobia, E = Catatonia
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    (Original post by brightonlad89)
    I studied this within my specialisation of psychiatry and social control in mental illness, and its mental illness classification has startling similarity to the ex-classification of homosexuality. The primary reasons behind its mental illness classification appear to be to appease the societal majority-- promoting it as an individualised problem (family level usually) rather than a natural phenomenon (could happen at random to anyone's offspring) is the preferable option.

    Also, mental disorder classification allows 'gate-keeping' of social norms through psychiatric diagnostic testing-- of which is almost mostly irrelevant to identifying whether or not the individual has the condition, but instead to censor whether allowing treatment would produce a more socially acceptable individual. Studies, although not conclusive, certainly appear to rubbish environmental causation, yet diagnostic testing of G.I.D. currently involves, solely, looking at environmental background (childhood, abuse, broken families etc.).

    For example, sexuality and gender are unrelated yet transsexual people who are gay (transsexual men who were assigned a female sex role at birth who are attracted to other men) find it more difficult to obtain diagnosis and treatment due to the view that allowing 'transition' would create a less 'normal' individual than if they delayed and attempted to persuade the transsexual man to live as a heterosexual woman.

    If it was classed as a biological condition, objective testing would prevent this from happening and would give the State less control over a 'condition' that the societal majority currently view as threatening to one of society's most influential binary systems; and therefore is not in the State's interests to allow biological categorisation.
    Fascinating stuff. :yy: For the psychiatric association to be so immoral would be a shame, but not really surprising. I suppose one only has to look at the overwhelming diagnoses of ADHD, Dyslexia and Autistic Spectrum 'Disorders' (as well as the pathologisation of autism overall).
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    (Original post by lightburns)
    Person A believes that their family have been replaced by imposters. They attacks their own brother whilst trying to interrogate him, to find out where their 'real' brother is.
    To be fair, if Person A had grown up in Stalinist Russia, this would not appear quite so odd...

    Person C feels no empathy. On a whim, they murder their co-worker. They feel no guilt afterwards, and claim it was their co-workers fault for working so late; C feels as though they have done the co-worker a favour, as he worked so hard that he needed to be stopped.
    Does psychopathy count as a mental illness? (Not being sarcastic, genuinely asking)
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    (Original post by brightonlad89)
    I studied this within my specialisation of psychiatry and social control in mental illness, and its mental illness classification has startling similarity to the ex-classification of homosexuality. The primary reasons behind its mental illness classification appear to be to appease the societal majority-- promoting it as an individualised problem (family level usually) rather than a natural phenomenon (could happen at random to anyone's offspring) is the preferable option.
    (Original post by brightonlad89)
    For example, transsexuality (i.e. Gender Identity Disorder) is currently categorised as a mental illness, not because of evidence for it existing that way (in fact, studies imply quite the contrary), but because if it was classified as a biological/physical condition then there would be less ability to control it from the State persepctive.
    To my understanding, a mental disorder can still have a biological cause. Look at schizophrenia - it is in the DSM, yet everyone is searching for genes and brain abnormalities.

    So, to my understanding, GID is a mental disorder as it causes severe distress and requires medical treatment. Unlike homosexuality, it requires treatment. That is why homosexuality is not a disorder, and GID is. Homosexuality isn't maladaptive, but untreated GID is.

    Personally, I think GID holds many similarities with BIID, and may be caused by a similar mechanism (BIID is thought to be a neurological failing of the brain's mapping function).
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    Clearly it is possible that brain function and behaviours can be impaired and changed by experiences and chemical fluctuations. I don't think that is up for debate.

    However I do understand what the OP is trying to say, and I agree with them. I don't think many people today are really 'sane'. We live in an insane world. There's so much of this world that is illogical and just so mental and backwards - we pollute our own environment by using toxic chemicals to bleach our underwear whiter than white - that's not sane, rational behaviour. That's just one example, look at the beauty industry, look at the unequal distribution of natural resources on this planet that causes poverty and starvation, look at the artificial structures of status and celebrity that contradict natural harmonious living, look at the distractions of consuming material goods.

    Our modern society is so divorced from our nature as a species. To the extent that, I think really if you are 'well adjusted' to this modern society, then you're clearly insane, because the system is insane.

    I used to believe I suffered a mental illness (depression) because for several years my every day life was dominated by the overwhelming feeling that my life had no purpose, and that none of the conventional measures of happiness (consumption of luxury goods, participation in accepted social environments such as going out drinking and parties etc) brought me absolutely no satisfaction whatsoever. I just spent 7 years thinking "what's the point in this, this isn't enjoyable, nothing is".

    Then one day it just hit me - of course I have absolutely no purpose in life. Modern life is insane, it doesn't bring any happiness. You don't get satisfaction out of working 9-5 in an office, reading cosmo and feeling inadequate, buying your groceries then going out once a weekend because that system of living has NOTHING to do with the biochemistry of our minds as an animal species. Doing that all your life would make ANYONE (except an insane person) depressed.
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    (Original post by najinaji)
    To be fair, if Person A had grown up in Stalinist Russia, this would not appear quite so odd...
    Haha, yes, context would need to be taken into account...

    Does psychopathy count as a mental illness? (Not being sarcastic, genuinely asking)
    It's not in the DSM, which researchers in the area aren't too happy with. The DSM has anti-social personality disorder. Most psychopaths have ASPD, but most with ASPD are not psychopaths. DSM is working on "Antisocial/Psychopathic Type" which emphasises character more than behaviour.

    But there are researchers outside of the DSM with their checklists and things. Most notably is Robert D. Hare, who's main area of study is psychopathy.
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    Does believing in Father Christmas, count as mental illness?
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    (Original post by lightburns)
    It's not in the DSM, which researchers in the area aren't too happy with. The DSM has anti-social personality disorder.
    Is it in ICD-10? Not sure if I've got the title of that one quite right.
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    Could be just a weak brain.
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    whats not to believe??!?!?!?!!

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