Mental illness, diseases of the mind, behavioral disorders or however our community allows it to be named, it is all inadequate.
Mental illness, is a stale description. It has sat in the open community air, over the many years when our awareness grew too slowly, when stigma and ignorance gave it the old cold frost-bite. It reminds of me of the, Confessions of Georgia (Anne) Nicolson series, by the most hilarious Louise Rennison, When Georgia Anne says, “Have you gone mental?!,” in one-thousand-and-one ways. There is just so much sniffing and eye swirling around the term. I do not mind Georgia Anne using it at all. It is fresh in her mouth. It is not, however, winter green in ours.
Dr. Thomas Insel, Director of the National Institute of Mental Health, states that these terms are “impediments to progress.” He uses the term, brain disease, as a way to diminish barriers to scientific investigation, hopefully leading to earlier detection and treatment.
Others, however, challenge even this term, brain disease, stating that it is premature and narrow. The illnesses that demonstrate emotional and behavioral pathology involve more than brain and mentum. They include the magic, the internal/external stressors, the arguments and the weather. They include the intersecting paradigms that make us who we are, often referred to as the biopsychosocial model. These, “Others,” argue that it is presumptuous to name pathological symptoms of emotions and behaviors with, “brain disease,” until we know what the brian does in the first place.
Questions: But what do you think? Are the terms we use more impediments to progress than they are tools toward? Do you have any recommendations? How have these terms affected your life? Please tell us your story.
Self-care tip: Allow yourself to transcend the naming of your symptoms.
- Thomas Insel’s insights on mental health: a tale of two TED playlists (ted.com)
- NIMH – Mental Disorders as Brain Disorders: Thomas Insel at TEDxCaltech (jflahiff.wordpress.com)
- NIMH to Steer Away from New Manual The agency will no longer use the newly revised guide to mental disorders to categorize its funding priorities. (mybipolaredlife.tumblr.com)
- Psychiatry in Crisis! Mental Health Director Rejects Psychiatric “Bible” and Replaces With… Nothing (blogs.scientificamerican.com)
- On the mental illness buffet (hopeworkscommunity.wordpress.com)
- Viewing Mental Illness (bipolarcircus.wordpress.com)
- Mi Recovery: The Biopsychosocial Model (myjourneywithdepression.wordpress.com)
- Study Finds Genetic Information Has Done Little to Increase Tolerance of Mental Illness (23andme.com)
- Yet Again, I’m Blogging About Mental Health (ewokmama.com)
- Mental Health Blog Day: Stigma & Seeking Mental Health Services (amandapoverseas.wordpress.com)