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Mental Illnesses: Definition, Kinds and Its Effects on Society

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction to the Study
  2. Kinds of Mental Illnesses
  3. Borderline Personality Disorder or BPD
  4. The Effects Mental Illness has on Society
  5. Conclusion

Have you or someone you know ever shown characteristics of creating isolation from those around, appearing extremely preoccupied, avoiding others, loss of interest in usual activities, and or having a guilty feeling out of proportions? These are just a few of the symptoms of mental illness. They do not always mean that you have a mental illness unless they last longer than two weeks. The main issue is that society is missing that is is not just one individual’s problem when there is a mental issue involved. An individual with a mental illness cannot only harm oneself but they can harm others. In my opinion, society should step up and make the choice assist in creating a way to help others with mental issues.

Introduction to the Study

In my opinion, the topic chosen is related to the information within the textbook because everything within society is about policies. The textbook discusses history, challenges, and changes that we see every day for those with mental illness. It discusses the hardships that they had to and continue to endure to this very day. There is also knowledge of the people that made steps that changed history in some way shape or form for the next person to learn from to help those that needed it not only today but tomorrow. The policy for this study is the understanding, safety, and assistance needed for those live with the many many different kinds of mental illnesses. When considering how this is related to criminal justice, there are many individuals that are placed on the stand every day for an action that they committed. Many can be found guilty but it is never considered what their mental state is. In order for an individual to be diagnosed with a mental illness, there are a multiple amounts of studies that need to be done. Many people with mental issues believe that they are they are the only ones suffering from the specific problem(s) when in reality they are not. According to The Family Guide to Mental Health Care, “50% of mental illness come on by the age of 14 and 75% by the age of 24”. With no real mental assistance to those that cannot afford the assistance, there is a real world problem with lives at risk. There is a small number of people that suffer from mental illnesses tend to commit at some point in their lives because they are not able to deal with the symptoms of the disease.

The health care system suggested for individuals with a mental illness to receive the medical attention needed they would require to have the finances to pay for it. Then there are those that cannot afford the treatment and dare encouraged not seek the treatment because there is no funding for them. For those not receiving the medical attention necessary to maintain some sort of normal life the chances of suicide are higher than those receiving treatment. In the long run, the possibility of individuals with mental illness receiving the help that they need could possibly change the outcome of those without it. The scope of the information that can be learned from the information provided can provide current researchers previous knowledge of mental illnesses. Knowing just a small amount more of any subject can assist in changing the past for a better future.

The best way to understand a mental illness is to know a common definition to the word because the word is not the best description of it and it is not understood that it is a disease. Mental illness is described as an “interruption or upset in cognition, emotion regulation and or behavior that reflects a dysfunction in a psychological, biological, or developmental process underlying mental functioning”. Unfortunately, when a mental illness strikes it affects the majority, if not all, important activities in the person’s life. Mental illness is not just one specific disease but a multiple amounts of different ones that can or cannot be combined. There are “significant changes for approximately two weeks or longer and affect one’s behavior, mood, and impairs their thinking function”. People that are diagnosed with a mental illness are “not complaining, faking, looking for attention, or wallowing in a bad mood” they are real people with a real disease. A mental illness is not just one specific disease on it its own but multiple in different ways. The disease “often co-occur for example depression with anxiety or PTSD with alcoholism”. Along with the disease that co-occurs with mental illness, there are also other physical health conditions that come into the equation. A few of the common health conditions are diabetes, heart disease, asthma, Parkinson’s Disease and or Cancer. So just say a mental illness is a disease is a light way of saying a person is sick.

A few examples of mental illness include depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders, and addictive disorders. According to the Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, a mental health concern becomes a mental illness when ongoing signs and symptoms cause frequent stress and affect your ability to function” (2015). Any of the mental illnesses mention above can cause chaos in an individual’s life without the appropriate assistance.

Kinds of Mental Illnesses

Schizophrenia, Acute Psychotic Disorder, and Bipolar Disorder. One of the mental illness that it is important to know about is schizophrenia because this a disease that is not always understood. According to No One Cares About Crazy People, “so little is know about schizophrenia that neuropsychiatrists and researchers hesitate to offer a definitive theory of causation” (Powers, 2017). Though it is considered to be a “slip within the brain cognition. It has been acknowledged that more than thirty thousand articles on the disease were published between 1998 and 2007 and that the output since then has increased to about five thousand per year. “The illness shares with cancer, it’s partner in catastrophic affliction, an almost otherworldly imperviousness to definitive understanding and cure”. A small portion of society will become diagnosed with schizophrenia. “About 2 million Americans and about 1% of the worldwide adult population will suffer from schizophrenia in their lifetime”.

We moved to San Antonio, Texas in 2008 from Germany and about a year later some close friends moved as well to the same base. We were all close in Germany and traveled on days off and brought our youngest children up together. In 2011, a close friend of ours had been going through a few problems from close family to the extended family. He would go to church with us every Sunday and then our two families would do lunch afterward. On Sunday we did everything the way we always did and nothing seemed out of the ordinary. The Monday after we received a call that this friend waited for his wife to come home from work before he decided that he would take the easy way out. He never considered those that he would leave behind or those that were there for him in his time of need. Later on, we learned that he came from a family with schizophrenia and bipolar but refused to get help because it would affect his military career. In the end, he affects the lives of those that loved him the most and we will never get the chance to help him through his pain.

When considering eating and Personality disorders there are specific ages or genders that it is specific to. In studies in the past there were many results that the larger amount of those that it affected was female but as the times have evolved so has those that look to anorexia for answers. There are two types of eating disorders that affect society today: Anorexia and Bulimia Nervosa. Anorexia Nervosa is when an individual is purging their body of whatever items that they put into their bodies. Studies show that when individuals leave home for the first time (i. e. college) is when they begin to feel the weight and stress of life that causes them to turn in a direction that can become unsafe. Some of the symptoms are when he or her begin complaining about their weight or something of the sort. When weight becomes a factor of their life the individual will become “overzealous dieting where weight loss is so extreme that efforts are made to hide it below baggy clothes or to avoid being touched lest protruding bones be felt”. The eating behaviors will begin to change and or possibly their usual way of eating will become nonexistent, it may even come to the point that they will spend large amounts of time in the restroom. During their different times in the bathroom, there is a possibility of them vomiting. According to The Family, Guide to Mental Healthcare “eating behaviors tend to become secretive, with the youth not wanting to join family meals”. The end result of an individual with Anorexia Nervosa is a stunted physical development in most cases and in others death.

Bulimia Nervosa is described when a person is binge eating and then purging afterward. Many that have bulimia “may exercise excessively and complain of being fat or say another negative, often distorted, things about his or her body”. Like Anorexia Nervosa, the eating is kept a kept hidden and there are many trips to the bathroom for the purge. A red flag for this disease is “red flags are calluses or sores on the hands and damaged to the teeth and gums (from repeated purging)”.

Borderline Personality Disorder or BPD

Another disease that has a co-occurrence with Anorexia and Bulimia Nervosa is Borderline Personality Disorder or BPD. “Person with BPD can be challenging, to be put it mildly”. Their moods are placed on random and can change at the drop of a pin without a second thought. Lloyd Sederer writes that “one moment that a person with Borderline Personality Disorder may seem delighted with the company one minute and furious with you next”. Their lives are a constant “tornado” of ups and downs that affect everything in their life. Researchers have studied that individuals with this disease have “problems maintaining friendships, frequent school transfers or dropping out, and risky behaviors”. Depression and Anxiety DisorderThe last one I find important is depression since this is an illness that can be considered a silent killer. Dr. Pareka defines “depression (major depressive disorder) as a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how a person feels, thinks, and acts” (2017). Depression can inside a person their whole life and they would never know because not many know what the actual symptoms are at that age. In my opinion, there is a reasoning for everything that goes on in a person’s body and should be seen as important until proven different. A few of the common symptoms are mood swings, change in appetite, loss energy or fatigue and or increase in purposeless physical activity. These are symptoms of depression but when seen by an individual on the outside they could be considered actions for other reasons. The mood sings in a female could be seen as a monthly guest or for male relationship problems. That is just an example of how one symptom could be seen as something completely different than depressions.

According to The Family Gude of Mental Health Care, that depression comes in many forms but the most common form non-psychotic”. There are three types of depression within the depression category and the are Atypical, Dysthymia, and Psychotic. Atypical is described as the symptoms being reversed (sleeping more than 8 hours but still fatigued), Dysthymia explained as a Greek word means “ill or abnormal mood and to refers to a chronically low mood state that is present on most days and lasts for more than 2 years and Psychotic is clarified as being so severe that the mood disturbance by the loss of reality, manifested in delusions and auditory hallucinations (Sederer, 2015). The Family Guide to Mental Health Care, past research shows that “7% adults per year, 21 million Americans per year, and 1 in 5 will suffer from depression in their lifetime”.

The only true story that I can give about depression is one of myself and growing up with the illness and never knowing. I grew up with a mother that made sure that I knew that I destroyed her marriage every day. She made sure that I knew I was to fat and that no man would never want me because of my weight. I did not want them to be there so I tried the easy way out and when that did not work I lived with that information until I just shut down and created a mental armor around myself. I became so good at it that I was able to join the military and do my job better than most because I created a hardened exterior around myself. It was not until I began working with a supervisor that decided that I was truly worthless in his eyes because I was female that everything shattered. I let myself fall back into that place and could not find my place of hardened exterior after that. This time I was lucky though, I had created a relationship with someone who knew my past and had been with me long enough to know the roads I would take to make the pain stop. He saved my life in more ways than one and stood by me while I received the help that I needed and stands by me today, almost 20-years later. I still have tough days but we work through it with our four children. They all know about the diagnosis and can read me like a book so they know what I need and know how to act or react. My mother still comes around and says there is nothing wrong with me and I just want attention but I learned a long time ago to just smile and nod. My mantra is “we can not choose our parents, we can only choose to love them” and I have nothing but love for her because that is what my family has taught me to do.

The Effects Mental Illness has on Society

Mental illness statistics, researches, and studies are sound like they apply to a small amount of society but in actuality, the disease affects more than we think. The studies, researches, and studies only work for those that are looking to find the help but what about those that do not want the label. These are the people that walk by us, eat near, and or are our best friends but we never know. The label “mental illness” can change the way that anyone is seen so it can be understood why people chose not to come forward for the questions or the help for medical problems. So the question, “What are the Effects of Mental Illness has on Society?”

There are more effects than we have really considered. We have to consider the young man or woman that decides that taking their own life is better than looking to find the help. The person that decides that walking into a school and harming children because of something that possibly happened in there life. Consider the parent that lost a child and or spouse tragically and decides to take the law into their own hands and takes the life of the other person. These are all the different ways that mental illness affects society. They may seem so small when thought about but in reality, they make society a truly dangerous place to have a family and or just to live. With the assistance of government funding and medical professionals willing to help people with mental illnesses, there could be change. The smallest action can turn the switch in a person’s head to create a disease but with help, there are possible ways to work through the controlling of the reaction of the action.


In my opinion, with all the information gathered and or read there is more that needs to reviewed in ordered to find a way to assist in the medical attention of people with medical illnesses. It is not only the medical portion that needs to be seen but also the classification and understand that they are not different from those that have no mental illness. For example, military veterans have served their time protecting not only their own families but those of the country. When they come home it needs to be understood that not all are mentally or emotionally broken. There will be some that will have to have an adjustment period and there will those that just won’t get back in the routine of their family.

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