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Do you believe in mental illness

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    (Original post by NYU2012)
    But GID doesn't necessitate that it has anything to do with the physical body -- i.e. the brain saying 'here is a penis', when there isn't one.

    Potentially, yes. Transsexual studies indicate sexual dimorphism is found within the brain, such that the brain of at least some transsexuals develops such that it develops away from the biological sex of the person (i.e. they have male genitals, etc. but their brain developed markedly similar to that of a woman)
    (Original post by RandZul'Zorander)
    Disgust is not a maladaptive thought and no, a person with GID doesn't necessarily feel disgust with their body.

    No where does it necessitate that they feel disgust with their body.

    GID has nothing to do with changing their body I think you are thinking of transsexualism.
    (Original post by NYU2012)
    Someone with gender identity disorder does not necessarily have to have any sort of dislike with their body -- merely a dislike of their current gender identity, which, I assume, they were assigned at birth.

    Some people may dislike their body, such that they want to undergo surgery to have their body changed, but this is necessitated for the person to be experiencing GID.

    Some interesting things about gender, that not all people realize:
    (1) Someone can be transgendered without being transsexual
    (2) Someone can be transsexual without being transgendered

    This is due to the fact that, obviously, gender is detached from sex, such that they are two separate entities which share little, if any, connection.
    As you both quite rightly pointed out, I have to adapt what I'm saying.

    Those who have a problem with the social role are not necessary disordered. It's no more disordered than someone who is introverted. It's just a different expression. It's not necessarily maladaptive. These people may be labelled as transsexuals if, say, they choose to take hormones and undergo surgery to better adapt to their social role. The medical intervention is not absolutely necessary, and is effected greatly by the lack of social understanding (the need to make themselves look clearly as one sex or the other to avoid confrontation). Encouragements to not classify this as a mental disorder I could get behind.

    Those who would kill themselves if they can't get body-parts cut off in the near future have a disorder. This shouldn't be used for prejudice against them, and it doesn't make their gender any less real. But it also should not be removed from the DSM. This is most certainly maladaptive.
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    (Original post by MutantGecko)
    i know im in the minority, but i sort of agree with the OP, why is someone ill because they think differently?
    It's not about thinking differently, but thinking that is harmful and such.

    im bulimic, and i accept thats an illness, but why is it? why cant it just be a state of mind?
    This is considered an illness because of the effects it has. Your state of mind is detrimental to you and your health. Thereby it is an illness.

    i also have a neuropathic disease which means i have a lot of neuropathic pain which is basically my nerves being retarded, so is that a mental illness, or is it real pain?
    Nobody says that it isn't real pain. I also think thats more of a neurological problem/illness, not really a mental illness...
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    (Original post by RandZul'Zorander)
    It's not about thinking differently, but thinking that is harmful and such.



    This is considered an illness because of the effects it has. Your state of mind is detrimental to you and your health. Thereby it is an illness.



    Nobody says that it isn't real pain. I also think thats more of a neurological problem/illness, not really a mental illness...
    why though? suicide is a viable option if someone does not want to live.
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    (Original post by lightburns)
    As you both quite rightly pointed out, I have to adapt what I'm saying.

    Those who have a problem with the social role are not necessary disordered. It's no more disordered than someone who is introverted. It's just a different expression. It's not necessarily maladaptive. These people may be labelled as transsexuals if, say, they choose to take hormones and undergo surgery to better adapt to their social role. The medical intervention is not absolutely necessary, and is effected greatly by the lack of social understanding (the need to make themselves look clearly as one sex or the other to avoid confrontation). Encouragements to not classify this as a mental disorder I could get behind.
    I can agree with most of this. I'm not sure I agree with taking hormones making one transsexual, but surgery I would say does. I agree that it shouldn't classified as a disorder though.

    Those who would kill themselves if they can't get body-parts cut off in the near future have a disorder. This shouldn't be used for prejudice against them, and it doesn't make their gender any less real. But it also should not be removed from the DSM. This is most certainly maladaptive.
    I would argue that it is a disorder. But seems to be a mood/depressive disorder rather than a sexual one. To me it seems that someone in such a position is suffering from sever depression or such. So I would agree that they have a disorder. I'm just not entirely sure what kind or what it is, as its a very vague situation etc.
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    (Original post by MutantGecko)
    why though? suicide is a viable option if someone does not want to live.
    Viable in what sense though? Is suicide the best, healthy, or even a good option would you say? I would say in the majority of cases suicide is a result of irrational thinking due to impeded processes in mental functioning. I'm not saying that all suicidal people are mentally ill. Just that it seems to be the case that the majority of cases are.
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    We studied depression in Psychology in January and it's quite interesting actually, studies have found that the average American says conditions such as depression do exist, but the average Chinese/Japanese person doesn't believe in depression - they see it as a mental weakness. They don't even diagnose depression as an illness for such reasons. So it's particularly shameful for a member of the family to have a mental illness. It's really sad, because it means sufferers can't seek professional medical help.
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    Psychology skills, engage.
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    (Original post by RandZul'Zorander)
    I can agree with most of this. I'm not sure I agree with taking hormones making one transsexual, but surgery I would say does. I agree that it shouldn't classified as a disorder though.

    I would argue that it is a disorder. But seems to be a mood/depressive disorder rather than a sexual one. To me it seems that someone in such a position is suffering from sever depression or such. So I would agree that they have a disorder. I'm just not entirely sure what kind or what it is, as its a very vague situation etc.
    But these are people who have no family history of depression, no history of depression themselves, and their depression completely disappears once they get their hormones and/or surgery.

    Their gender issues cause depression - the depression is for an absolute reason, and can't be got rid of through normal methods (e.g. CBT). It's not standard depression. It's a symptom of their gender disorder, and so should not be coming under the mood disorders.

    Among transsexuals, it's the expected situation. It gets described as 'being able to live the other sex, or die trying' etc. There are exceptions, but pre-op transsexuals expect each other to be self-harmers, possibly have eating disorders, depressed, and it's likely that they are more likely to commit suicide than people who have clinical depression without a gender disorder.

    But it should be classified by the gender disorder, because the depression is a direct symptom of that, rather than being caused by whatever generally causes depression. It's not due to disordered thought processes etc.
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    I don't see how anyone can completely deny the existence of mental illness. Yes as already said there is a problem with labelling but this doesn't mean that mental illness is something that society constructed, just that we are trying to come up with a way to help people with such illnesses. Humans make mistakes so you'd expect them to make some mistakes and change what constitutes to mental illness, you only have to look at how each edition of the DSM changes for that, but humans are doing best they can to try and learn and treat something that is only recently beginning to be understood.
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    (Original post by nosaer)
    I can see what you're trying to say but I disagree with what your premise is. You seem to be suggesting that the more environmental factors play a role in the cause of a disease, the less of a disease it really is. This is patently false. Virtually all disorders have both an environmental and genetic basis to them. Take the lung disease strongly associated with smoking. Smoking (an environmental cause) is the single biggest cause of this lung disease. Would anyone question whether this is a disease or not? Absolutely not. And interestingly enough, we now know there is a genetic basis too to such disease, which probably go some way to explaining why some people drop dead at the age of 50 from smoking, whilst your chain smoking granny lives past 90.

    I think there is still a massive stigma attached to mental illness even today, and is probably in no small part due to the fact we, both the public and medical community, still don't understand it all that well.
    No I'm not saying its less of a disease, just saying that we should treat it differently. I really do think that a place such as the UK is overmedicated when it comes to mental illnesses. I think in most cases that treatment should be behavioural/counselling, as opposed to simply giving one drugs. We should be aiming to treat and overcome mental illness, as opposed to simply carpet bombing a persons brain with drugs. For many people that seems to be the "solution" - give them drugs and they will be "better" when the underlying issue behind the mental illness is not a biological one, but environmental. IMHO, drugs should only be used in extreme cases, and as a last resort, and NOT seen as a "cure" but a temporary measure.

    My fault, I really hadn't thought this out too well before responding. Been a while since I've had my psychology courses, so please forgive me :P.
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    (Original post by lightburns)
    But these are people who have no family history of depression, no history of depression themselves, and their depression completely disappears once they get their hormones and/or surgery.
    That's not necessarily the case and you don't need to have a family history to get depression. Depression can be caused by external events. Ie, stigmatization associated with being transgender/sexual

    Their gender issues cause depression - the depression is for an absolute reason, and can't be got rid of through normal methods (e.g. CBT). It's not standard depression. It's a symptom of their gender disorder, and so should not be coming under the mood disorders.
    Not necessarily. Most research seems to imply that depression in GID and other trans people is due to stigmatization and doesn't necessarily go away after having surgery or their gender transitions. Most of the time it goes away when they deal with the stigmatization they face, and feelings of rejection etc. These are not inherent of GID but shortcomings of society. Following similar logic homosexuality would be a mental disorder as they are more prone to depression but that doesn't mean it is caused by the homosexuality hence it is not a mental disorder.

    Among transsexuals, it's the expected situation. It gets described as 'being able to live the other sex, or die trying' etc. There are exceptions, but pre-op transsexuals expect each other to be self-harmers, possibly have eating disorders, depressed, and it's likely that they are more likely to commit suicide than people who have clinical depression without a gender disorder.
    Again that doesn't make it inherent of being a transsexual.

    But it should be classified by the gender disorder, because the depression is a direct symptom of that, rather than being caused by whatever generally causes depression. It's not due to disordered thought processes etc.
    From what I can see it is not a direct symptom of a 'gender disorder' but rather from separate experiences that may be related to their 'gender disorder' but not actually from the disorder.
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    (Original post by RandZul'Zorander)
    That's not necessarily the case and you don't need to have a family history to get depression. Depression can be caused by external events. Ie, stigmatization associated with being transgender/sexual

    Not necessarily. Most research seems to imply that depression in GID and other trans people is due to stigmatization and doesn't necessarily go away after having surgery or their gender transitions. Most of the time it goes away when they deal with the stigmatization they face, and feelings of rejection etc. These are not inherent of GID but shortcomings of society. Following similar logic homosexuality would be a mental disorder as they are more prone to depression but that doesn't mean it is caused by the homosexuality hence it is not a mental disorder.

    Again that doesn't make it inherent of being a transsexual.

    From what I can see it is not a direct symptom of a 'gender disorder' but rather from separate experiences that may be related to their 'gender disorder' but not actually from the disorder.
    Wierckx, K., Van Caenegem, E., Elaut, E., Dedecker, D., Van de Peer, F., Toye, K., & ... T'Sjoen, G. (2011). Quality of life and sexual health after sex reassignment surgery in transsexual men. Journal Of Sexual Medicine, 8(12), 3379-3388.
    "Conclusion: Results of the current study indicate transsexual men generally have a good quality of life and experience satisfactory sexual function after SRS."

    There are some studies suggesting otherwise(e.g. Udeze, B. B., Abdelmawla, N. N., Khoosal, D. D., & Terry, T. T. (2008). Psychological functions in male-to-female transsexual people before and after surgery. Sexual And Relationship Therapy, 23(2), 141-145.)

    GID is generally diagnosed to the people who cannot deal with their body, and want medical treatment. Although others also come under the classification, it's main use really is on transsexuals.

    The study I posted that suggested that SRS (surgery) doesn't help surprised me. I do wonder if they have taken the first psychological readings from individuals who are undergoing hormone treatment, who are of course pre-op, then tested against after the operation. Surgery usually comes fairly quickly after hormone treatment, so much of the dysphoria would already have been reduced - it would take time to build up again.
    Also, MtFs generally have more stigma problems than FtMs, so that also should be taken into account.

    So in searching for this, I came across this which showed that hormone treatment significantly helps FtM transsexual individuals.

    Colton Meier, S. L., Fitzgerald, K. M., Pardo, S. T., & Babcock, J. (2011). The effects of hormonal gender affirmation treatment on mental health in female-to-male transsexuals. Journal Of Gay & Lesbian Mental Health, 15(3), 281-299.

    I will give an example of how it's based on body rather than social issues. Female-to-males bind their breasts, which is a horribly uncomfortable experience for them, especially in the Summer (think of an insulating corset). If they wear it for more than a few hours, it creates pain, bruising, muscle spasms (and on occasion, cracked ribs). Sleeping in it can result in pneumonia, and is a well-known no-no.
    Yet, I know more than a few transmen who, whilst at home alone, have worn their binder all day and slept in it, simply because they could not cope with their own breasts.
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    (Original post by lightburns)
    Wierckx, K., Van Caenegem, E., Elaut, E., Dedecker, D., Van de Peer, F., Toye, K., & ... T'Sjoen, G. (2011). Quality of life and sexual health after sex reassignment surgery in transsexual men. Journal Of Sexual Medicine, 8(12), 3379-3388.
    "Conclusion: Results of the current study indicate transsexual men generally have a good quality of life and experience satisfactory sexual function after SRS."
    Just to point out this study examined mainly sexual health and activity. It also was done 8 years after SRS. So, it doesn't really show much of anything that the sex change is what alleviated any mental illnesses.

    There are some studies suggesting otherwise(e.g. Udeze, B. B., Abdelmawla, N. N., Khoosal, D. D., & Terry, T. T. (2008). Psychological functions in male-to-female transsexual people before and after surgery. Sexual And Relationship Therapy, 23(2), 141-145.)
    I can't find this study anywhere so I can't comment =\

    GID is generally diagnosed to the people who cannot deal with their body, and want medical treatment. Although others also come under the classification, it's main use really is on transsexuals.
    GID is a very wide and open diagnosis and should be refined if not eliminated from the DSM.

    The study I posted that suggested that SRS (surgery) doesn't help surprised me. I do wonder if they have taken the first psychological readings from individuals who are undergoing hormone treatment, who are of course pre-op, then tested against after the operation. Surgery usually comes fairly quickly after hormone treatment, so much of the dysphoria would already have been reduced - it would take time to build up again.
    Also, MtFs generally have more stigma problems than FtMs, so that also should be taken into account.
    Again surgery does not eliminate mental health problems. It acts in such a way to make a person feel more comfortable in their body, but that does not make it the source of the depression. Rather depression comes mostly from outside sources, such as social pressures or so it would seem. Going through surgery does not eliminate feelings of depression and can sometimes increase those feelings as there may be stronger stigma's and pressure placed upon the individual.

    So in searching for this, I came across this which showed that hormone treatment significantly helps FtM transsexual individuals.

    Colton Meier, S. L., Fitzgerald, K. M., Pardo, S. T., & Babcock, J. (2011). The effects of hormonal gender affirmation treatment on mental health in female-to-male transsexuals. Journal Of Gay & Lesbian Mental Health, 15(3), 281-299.

    As the abstract for this said, testosterone did not increase or decrease the prevalence of depression or suicide. So treatment was not necessarily changing the depression. This implies that the problem isn't having to do with the 'dysphoria' necessarily but with the social stigmas associated with it.

    I will give an example of how it's based on body rather than social issues. Female-to-males bind their breasts, which is a horribly uncomfortable experience for them, especially in the Summer (think of an insulating corset). If they wear it for more than a few hours, it creates pain, bruising, muscle spasms (and on occasion, cracked ribs). Sleeping in it can result in pneumonia, and is a well-known no-no.
    Yet, I know more than a few transmen who, whilst at home alone, have worn their binder all day and slept in it, simply because they could not cope with their own breasts.
    How do you know it is because they couldn't cope with their own breasts? For many wearing a binder as such is just more comfortable to them. Their breasts are alien to them, they are odd, uncomfortable, and distasteful. Many trans men would prefer having the binder on than not. This in no way implies a mental disorder.
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    (Original post by Vazzyb)
    Anything can have a physical basis doesn't mean its necessarily 'an illness'.
    Well an illness is generally something that causes problems in life, change of character, physical changes, social problems, so yeah it is.
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    (Original post by dgeorge)
    No I'm not saying its less of a disease, just saying that we should treat it differently. I really do think that a place such as the UK is overmedicated when it comes to mental illnesses. I think in most cases that treatment should be behavioural/counselling, as opposed to simply giving one drugs. We should be aiming to treat and overcome mental illness, as opposed to simply carpet bombing a persons brain with drugs. For many people that seems to be the "solution" - give them drugs and they will be "better" when the underlying issue behind the mental illness is not a biological one, but environmental. IMHO, drugs should only be used in extreme cases, and as a last resort, and NOT seen as a "cure" but a temporary measure.

    My fault, I really hadn't thought this out too well before responding. Been a while since I've had my psychology courses, so please forgive me :P.
    I agree with all of this except the part about mental illnesses not being biological in nature, because I believe they are and the more we find out about them the more we realise the neurobiology behind such disease processes. I reckon the principle of 'genetic predisposition, environmental trigger' applies to a lot of medical conditions including psychiatric ones.

    You're absolutely spot on with the rest of your post though. Various forms of behavioural therapy do exist and are effective with a lot of mental conditions, but I think the problem is that there aren't enough trained people to provide the service and its much much cheaper, easier and quicker to just prescribe a pill. That's probably bad medicine, but as always, its not an ideal situation.
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    Yes I believe in it to the extent that you can have a mental illness and need it to be cured in the same way you can be physically ill.
    Do people take advantage of it as you can fake symptoms? Yes, obviously. I also think there are 'genres' of mental illness which are stretched wide and somehow created.
    I am in general a strong person - resourceful and have always coped well in life. But I did suffer from depression at a point in my life. All I can say is that it felt as if I'd fallen into a black hole. As if someone had shut a part of my brain down.
    I am a natural skeptic and I understand skepticism to mental disease very well. But I know it can be genuine. But severe depression will never have the same sympathy as say, cancer. That's just the way it is, for natural reasons.
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    (Original post by BabyGirl92)
    Well an illness is generally something that causes problems in life, change of character, physical changes, social problems, so yeah it is.
    Say you have some mental symptom...and it causes suffering/strange behaviour in some way and say there are physical changes associated with it.... that doesn't necessarily confer the label 'real illness' to that symptom because the physical changes could easily by downstream of some side-effect or co-phenomenon of the symptom.

    For example there's this thing called Antisocial Personality Disorder which is basically a load of crap and im sure if you went and recorded the levels of neurotransmitters in these people they would be different from a 'normal' person's - doesn't mean that this is a real illness - may be these people are just angrier?
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    (Original post by RandZul'Zorander)
    Just to point out this study examined mainly sexual health and activity. It also was done 8 years after SRS. So, it doesn't really show much of anything that the sex change is what alleviated any mental illnesses.
    It was also about their quality of life and their self-perceived mental health. If their mental health was good a long time after surgery, when it was poor (to the point of suicidal, as many if not practically all transsexuals are) before treatment, then this is a near miraculous recovery. Yes, it could be something else, but as everything other than medical intervention has failed to help transsexuals...

    I can't find this study anywhere so I can't comment =\
    Got the abstract in the spoiler for you.
    Spoiler:
    Show
    Patients with gender dysphoria (GD) suffer from a constant feeling of psychological discomfort related to their anatomical sex. Gender reassignment surgery (GRS) attempts to release this discomfort. The aim of this study was to compare the functioning of a cohort or patients with GD before and after GRS. We hypothesised that there would be an improvement in the scores of the self-administered SCL-90R following gender reassignment surgery among male-to-female people with gender dysphoria. We studied 40 patients with a DSM-IV diagnosis of Gender Identity Disorder (GID) who attended Leicester Gender Identity Clinic. We compared their functioning as measured by Symptom Check List-90R (SCL-90R) which was administered to 40 randomly selected male-to-female patients before and within six months after GRS using the same sample as control pre-and post-surgery. There was no significant change in the different sub-scales of the SCL-90R scores in patients with male-to-female GID pre- and within six months post-surgery. The results of the study showed that GRS had no significant effect on functioning as measured by SCL-90R within six months of surgery. Our study has the advantage of reducing inter-subject variability by using the same patients as their own control. This study may be limited by the duration of reassessment post-surgery. Further studies with larger sample size and using other psychosocial scales are needed to elucidate on the effectiveness of surgical intervention on psychosocial parameters in patients with GD.


    GID is a very wide and open diagnosis and should be refined if not eliminated from the DSM.
    Eliminated, no. There are a significant number of people who fit the bill and require treatment. Nothing else suffices as a diagnosis. As it really is only used and is only useful for those seeking medical intervention, refinement would be okay.

    Again surgery does not eliminate mental health problems. It acts in such a way to make a person feel more comfortable in their body, but that does not make it the source of the depression. Rather depression comes mostly from outside sources, such as social pressures or so it would seem. Going through surgery does not eliminate feelings of depression and can sometimes increase those feelings as there may be stronger stigma's and pressure placed upon the individual.
    This is where we disagree. Transsexuals are unhappy with their body even when they are alone - their body is a source of severe distress. Depression can also come from the significant stigma that transsexualism brings. Many will have a great reduction in depression once they get treatment.

    As the abstract for this said, testosterone did not increase or decrease the prevalence of depression or suicide. So treatment was not necessarily changing the depression. This implies that the problem isn't having to do with the 'dysphoria' necessarily but with the social stigmas associated with it.
    I think we may be reading different abstracts. Here's the abstract for it (with an emphasis added on the relevant part). Testosterone was found to be have a relationship with depression.
    Spoiler:
    Show
    Hormonal interventions are an often-sought option for transgender individuals seeking to medically transition to an authentic gender. Current literature stresses that the effects and associated risks of hormone regimens should be monitored and well understood by health care providers (Feldman & Bockting, 2003). However, the positive psychological effects following hormone replacement therapy as a gender affirming treatment have not been adequately researched. This study examined the relationship of hormone replacement therapy, specifically testosterone, with various mental health outcomes in an Internet sample of more than 400 self-identified female-to-male transsexuals. Results of the study indicate that female-to-male transsexuals who receive testosterone have lower levels of depression, anxiety, and stress, and higher levels of social support and health related quality of life. Testosterone use was not related to problems with drugs, alcohol, or suicidality. Overall findings provide clear evidence that HRT is associated with improved mental health outcomes in female-to-male transsexuals.



    How do you know it is because they couldn't cope with their own breasts? For many wearing a binder as such is just more comfortable to them. Their breasts are alien to them, they are odd, uncomfortable, and distasteful. Many trans men would prefer having the binder on than not. This in no way implies a mental disorder.
    Binders are not comfortable - they are wearing them even though it causes severe bruising, and wearing them when they know that they are at high risk of causing pneumonia. It implies a mental disorder because their breasts are so alien and so odd that they are willing to cause significant harm to themselves.

    I know that it's because they can't cope with their own breasts because they have said exactly that. They talk about their 'chest dysphoria'.
    I have paraphrased this so that it's not a word for word quote (as I don't have permission to re-post it, I don't want it trackable to the original quote).
    "When I remember I have breasts I want to die. I want to take a knife to them to get them gone."

    This is a common sight. Seriously, speak to some transsexuals, and you will learn of the utter hatred, disgust and inability to cope that surrounds them with their own bodies. It is a condition that is very, very much centred on their bodies. Depression doesn't stop if an individual happens to be fortunate, and has understanding family and friends.

    Surgery and hormones are because there is no other option - they literally will kill themselves if they have to live with their own body for any longer.
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    (Original post by Vazzyb)
    Say you have some mental symptom...and it causes suffering/strange behaviour in some way and say there are physical changes associated with it.... that doesn't necessarily confer the label 'real illness' to that symptom because the physical changes could easily by downstream of some side-effect or co-phenomenon of the symptom.

    For example there's this thing called Antisocial Personality Disorder which is basically a load of crap and im sure if you went and recorded the levels of neurotransmitters in these people they would be different from a 'normal' person's - doesn't mean that this is a real illness - may be these people are just angrier?
    It becomes a real illness when it starts to have negative effects on their lives so that they can no longer function correctly. I believe Antisocial Personality Disorder is one of the ones they are planning to change in the new DSM edition.
    If you look into Antisocial Personality Disorder there is a lot more to it than being angry.
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    (Original post by ChelseyElla)
    It becomes a real illness when it starts to have negative effects on their lives so that they can no longer function correctly. I believe Antisocial Personality Disorder is one of the ones they are planning to change in the new DSM edition.
    If you look into Antisocial Personality Disorder there is a lot more to it than being angry.
    This can go on endlessly for anything that makes people a bit upset. There has to be a line somewhere and having seen these "patients" for myself, I draw it here.

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