Cause and Treatment of Mental Illness Essay

Running Head: Cause and treatment of mental illness Abstract This paper briefly talks about mental illnesses and what it entails. The paper will discuss my thoughts on mental illnesses as well as what exactly a mental illness is. I will begin telling where some of the stigma of someone suffering with a mental illness stems from. I will talk about how the media such as newspapers and national advertisements play a role in this stigma. I will give insight on some of the causes that may contribute to someone dealing with mental illness. Genetic, biological, psychological, and environmental factors will also be discussed.

Some of the treatments that are available for mental illness sufferers such as psychotherapeutic treatments will be elaborated on. Cause and Treatment of Mental Illness When I think of mental illness the first thought that comes to my head is a disease of the mind. Mental illness is an illness that effects or is manifested in a person’s brain. It may impact on the way a person thinks, behaves, and interacts with people. Mental illness cannot be overcome through will power and are not related to a person’s character or even their intelligence.

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There is a stigma that often comes along with the word mental illness. I believe this is due to things such as newspapers that have the tendency to stress a history of mental illness in the backgrounds of people who commit violent crimes. Comedians often make fun of people with illnesses using their disabilities as a source of humor. Also, national advertisers use stigmatizing images as promotional gimmicks to sell products. These are things that make it hard for a person to even admit that they have a mental illness.

It is definitely a myth that mental illness is a weakness or defect in character and that suffers can get better by just simply “pulling themselves up by their bootstraps” as the saying goes. I have family members who have suffered with these illnesses and I know without a shadow of a doubt that mental illnesses are real and can be very serious. For several years I watched my aunt suffer with manic depression also known as bipolar. I have seen the devastation that this illness has caused on her and her family. Watching this mental illness manifest itself can be frightening at times.

My aunt is one of the reasons why I chose to have a career as a psychologist. Mental illness is not prejudice it can strike anyone. It doesn’t know race, economic status, age limits, creed or color. There have been more than 54 million Americans affected by one or more mental disorders during the course of a year. There is no known exact cause of most mental illnesses however; it is becoming clearer through research that many of these conditions are caused by a combination of genetic, biological, psychological, and environmental factors.

Many mental illnesses have the tendency to run in the family which means that the illness may be passed on from parents to children through genes. Experts believe that mental conditions are linked to problems in multiple genes not just one, as with many diseases which is why a person inherits a susceptibility to a mental disorder, but doesn’t always develop the condition. Some mental illnesses have been linked to an abnormal balance of special chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters.

Neurotransmitters help the nerve cells in the brain communicate with each other. If the chemicals are out of balance messages might not make it through the brain correctly which may lead to symptoms of mental illness. Some mental illnesses may also be triggered by psychological trauma suffered as a child. Some examples are physical or sexual abuse, or an early loss of a parent; and neglect. Environmental stressors such as death or divorce, substance abuse, changing schools or jobs play a role in the cause of mental illness.

Mental illness like many other illnesses requires ongoing treatment. Understanding what causes some mental health disorders helps doctors tailor treatment to those disorders. Most treatment methods available for mental health disorders can be put into a category as either somatic or psychotherapeutic. Drug therapy and electroconvulsive therapy are known as somatic treatments. Psychotherapeutic treatments include group, family, or individual and marital psychotherapy; behavior therapy techniques like exposure therapy or relaxation training and hypnotherapy. For mental isorders that are a bit more serious a treatment involving both drugs and psychotherapy is more effective. References Association, American, & DSM-IV. , American. (2005). Dsm-iv-tr.. Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing, Inc.. Chakraburtty, A. (2007). Mental illness basics. Retrieved from http://www. medicinenet. com/mental_illness/article. htm Buchanan, A. (2008, November 06). Stigma: building awareness and understanding about mental illness. Retrieved from http://www. soilsproject. org/general/stigma-building-awareness-and-understanding-about-mental-illness


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