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Old 07-13-2014, 02:10 PM
Location: Northern Virginia
1,470 posts, read 1,557,684 times
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Analogy: Some overweight people claim to have a thyroid issue when truly they don't have a thyroid issue. They just overeat.

Some wacky people may claim to be mentally ill, when truly their wackiness is their own doing, poor choices, poor environmental factors,,etc.

If a person thinks he is mentally ill, is he likely not? Fish do not contemplate the water they swim in, so would a truly mentally ill person contemplate his state of mind?

I have all the symptoms of schizophrenia. And bipolar disorder. Have been hospitalized, diagnosed, and medicated under doctor supervision for bipolar. Meds made me more sick than better so doctor let me take a natural treatment path.

Makes me wonder if none of the bipolar meds helped, then maybe it's not a chemical issue.

Have never discussed schizophrenia with doctors and have never been diagnosed with it, and wonder if I have all the symptoms of these things could I have it? And again, I'm leaning toward it not being a chemical imbalance issue, but a psycho-social maladaptive issue.

My quirks have developed since my teens and am almost 40 now. I'm fairly certain that if I'd had a more favorable, loving, supportive upbringing that I would be more well-adjusted.

What do you think, is mental illness a chemical issue or a psycho-social issue?

Can a person have all the symptoms without having the actual DSM illness?

Last edited by Zelpha; 07-13-2014 at 03:40 PM..
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Old 07-13-2014, 04:40 PM
3,234 posts, read 1,713,249 times
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I don't know it's all semantics so does it matter? Whether it stems from chemical imbalance or the enviroment, it's still a nearly impossible thing to overcome so in my eyes a mental illness is a mental illness.
However, I do think that doctors need to stop prescribing all these medicines. All these substances just aren't good for the psyche. Most of the time medicine is just a way for pharmacies and doctors to make money. The medicine also comes with a huge list of side effects too. I would think that the mood variety was the worst offender of that too. They don't actually think that it will help you they just want to keep giving it to you so they can keep getting their nice paycheck. GERD for example is apparently a chemical problem but I refuse to take medicine for it even though I was diagnosed with it last year.
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Old 07-13-2014, 05:14 PM
398 posts, read 360,069 times
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If you have something wrong with you, but you're able to function, I wouldn't classify it as a mental illness. It's only when it affects you socially, psychologically, or financially.
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Old 07-13-2014, 06:39 PM
Location: Hartford Connecticut
304 posts, read 294,886 times
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There are many kinds of 'mental illnesses' most people fall within the categories of Mood disorders, Anxiety disorders, depression, schizophrenia --then there are the 'character disorders' in either 'Cluster A' (odd) 'Cluster B' (Dramatic) and Cluster C (Eccentric) Psychopathy- unspecified- others of course that are uncommon. Most of these disorders can effect people in various ways. There are people who 'function' at a certain level, with mental illness. So saying that people with mental illness cannot function at all is not correct. Therapy, medication can allow the patient with some sort of mental illness or Character Disorder to function reasonably well- provided they understand their 'limitations' and have employment support.
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Old 07-13-2014, 09:46 PM
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Everyone can get depressed, everyone can get anxious, everyone can have a bit of OCD. The difference in those that are diagnosed with something is that those people have trouble living with it.
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Old 07-13-2014, 09:59 PM
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Short answer : yes.

It can be learned behaviour.

A child of someone profoundly ill, for example, may mimic the symptoms as that is how children learn.
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Old 07-13-2014, 10:05 PM
Location: Wastelands
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It's possible. Me and my brother have most of the symptoms of depression but I'm never depressed, yet he's almost always depressed.
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Old 07-13-2014, 10:18 PM
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Another possibility is that you really have the mental illness but it doesn't respond to drugs. Just because it doesn't respond to drugs doesn't mean the brain doesn't have a chemical imbalance.

A mental illness is one of the worst disabilities. If you're in a wheelchair, people can see you're disabled, and make allowance for it. If you're mentally ill, they often just think you're an obnoxious person, and don't make any allowance for it at all, but discriminate against you severely.
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Old 07-13-2014, 11:24 PM
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There are many things that can produce symptoms of mental illness. A few among them are endocrine or infectious diseases, brain lesions, vitamin deficiencies and chemical dependency or alcoholism.

Have you ever asked this question of one of your doctors?
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Old 07-14-2014, 12:29 AM
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
5,509 posts, read 2,591,975 times
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Are doctors the right people to ask about mental health issues? It's not there field of expertise although some do familiarise themselves on it.

Makes me wonder if none of the bipolar meds helped, ...
Some meds make some illness worse. My son never found a med that helped him but those he was put on all made him worse.

Mental illness may not necessarily be caused by chemical imbalance but rather from inappropriate thought processes (learned or induced). Those thought processes might result in 'chemical imbalance' which might therefore be treatable with medications. Just speculating.

If you have something wrong with you, but you're able to function, I wouldn't classify it as a mental illness.
I'd agree in so far as one might have a 'condition' like in my case, Asperger's syndrome. This can lead to depression and anxiety which is a mental illness. Both the condition and anxiety/depression can influence one's functioning but not necessarily make one unable to function. However, I do feel there should be a distinction between 'illnesses' such as bipolar and induced depression (I'm not sure whether depression can be an inevitable 'condition' or is always induced). Bipolar seems to me to be an illness as is schizophrenia. But from what I can gather, bipolar can be induced too. I'm not sure whether schizophrenia can be induced or rather, is triggered (by substance abuse or maybe even environment?) That's aside from the illness developing spontaneously i.e. one is born with it. If someone is susceptible to developing schizophrenia but does not because the triggers are not present then is that person actually mentally ill? They might exhibit some strange behaviour or mannerisms and no more. Same with depression, if someone is susceptible but doesn't develop it are they mentally ill?
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