Mental disorders. True or false?

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  1. Virginia Lea profile image71
    Virginia Leaposted 11 years ago

    Mental disorders. True or false?

    I was taught my entire life that mental disorders do not exist and that they are a thing of the mind and after all... you control your own mind. Depression is a weakness, just simply choose to be happy. A.D.D is an excuse to not pay attention. Anxieties and stress is a decision. So I got it drilled in my brain to NOT be weak, or make excuses and just concentrate harder. I was taught to believe that mental disorders are simply a sign of weakness and that I can choose whether to have one or not... Is this true? I'd like to discuss this with someone.

  2. raymondphilippe profile image88
    raymondphilippeposted 11 years ago

    I wish it was that simple. The truth is that there is often only so much you can do with willpower/control power. Mental disorders aren't a sign of weakness. They are maladies that can happen to you whether or not you have a strong mind.

  3. nmdonders profile image72
    nmdondersposted 11 years ago

    Mental disorders do exist and many people suffer from them.  Some are treated with medication and some cannot be treated or cured.  As well, some can be treated by other means such as cognitive behavioral therapy or changing the way you think and behave.  Many phobias, for instance,  are treated this way. 
    Some disorder, such as certain forms of depression, are caused by chemical inbalances while some are due to environmental factors.
    We have no control over some mental disorders while some we do have the power to change or make better.

  4. bankscottage profile image90
    bankscottageposted 11 years ago

    Mental disorders exist and are not a sign of weakness.  Sure, some people look for an excuse or crutch to give them an advantage or make an excuse for not working hard.  For example, ADHD and dyslexia are real but can also be used by some as excuses or to receive special treatment.   I think a lot of very bright successful people have ADHD and/or dyslexia.  They just learn how to channel their energy and work within and around their problem.  Some mental illnesses have genetic predispositions.  Some, I believe, are somewhat self-induced at least in people with a predisposition.  Alcohol and drug addiction patients may have some control over their disease but not enough to completely eliminate it.  Also, I believe alcohol and drug abuse can make many mental illnesses worse.
    I have seen people with severe depression, bipolar disease and had a son with schizophrenia.  These diseases are real.  People with them can not just wish them away.  Prior to his diagnosis, my son as a teenager, got heavily into drugs and alcohol.  After he was diagnosed, we found out they were his efforts at self-treatment.  He could not function rationally without medication, but he needed much more than medication.  He needed a tremendous amount of support and encouragement.  He needed to keep his mind engaged in positive activities such as college or work.

    1. Virginia Lea profile image71
      Virginia Leaposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      I suppose your right, every time I would mention anything about it I was told I was faking it. So ever since I would just use willpower to get over it. Now I believe there is nothing I can't handle unless it's an extreme case.

  5. xanzacow profile image60
    xanzacowposted 11 years ago

    Not to be malicious or anything, but I experience panic attacks that are debillitating at times. It infuriates me that anyone would say this is all in my head and to snap out of it. It is a chemical imbalance. Simply that. While I can usually talk myself through it, they come unexpectedly, and I can not talk myself out of it. This is a disorder. Ask any MD.

    1. Virginia Lea profile image71
      Virginia Leaposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      I understand, I have dyslexia and some other things. It makes me angry as well when people don't understand and just tell me it is in my head. I believe you.

  6. alexarpoe profile image61
    alexarpoeposted 11 years ago

    I have been diagnosed with a couple mental illnesses, and I can tell you from experience that things are NOT as simple as just choosing not to live with these things.

    1. Virginia Lea profile image71
      Virginia Leaposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      I understand... Although I still feel like I may have something but don't want to admit it fear of others thinking I am faking it. My "best friend" actually accused me of that a few months ago.. shes no longer my best friend though.

    2. alexarpoe profile image61
      alexarpoeposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      Personally, I think that someone who accuses your personal struggles and demons as faking, isn't worth your time. Hang in there, love

  7. duffsmom profile image59
    duffsmomposted 11 years ago

    Mental illness and disorders are real and not a matter of a weak mind.  Often many of the mental disorders are a result of brain chemisty going haywire.  It is not about will power or being strong. If someone is lucky enough not to experience any of these things, then they tend to think it is because they have willed it away or overcome it by strength.

    Certain mental disorders can occur due to environment.  But I believe more of them are a matter of brain chemistry.

  8. zoglio express profile image60
    zoglio expressposted 11 years ago

    As both an individual who has suffered from bipolar disorder, ptsd, anxiety, panic and an other disorders at various times in my life, and also a highly intelligent woman who has studied psychiatry and medical courses in college, I can tell you an answer from a very different perspective.  My answer is that this is a false assumption!  There you have it. 

    The complex issue of a mental disorder cannot be broken down into strength or weakness of ones constitution, or a mind over matter thing.  The brain is seven pounds of white and gray matter with complicated sections controlling many of our functions, or rather all of them, utilizing chemical neurotransmitters and electrical impulses.  Through these channels (basically neurons, dendrites, and axons) our brains chemicals are passed through and used to control its functioning on a daily basis.  Some of these chemicals assist with our mood and others stabilize our feelings in other ways, and some even cause food cravings.  However, shortages of some of these chemicals, i.e. dopamine, norepinephrine, seratonine, just to name a few, or the damage to the way that they are taken up by the dendrites to the axons in the brain will cause an inconsistency in the proper levels of these chemicals in the brain.

    In this case, individuals can have issues with mood swings, sometimes severe, either one way, the other way, or both causing disruption in their lives.  Therein lies the problem and thus medication is needed to supplement this chemical disruption in the brain.  Much is still not known about the brain and its function, even though we have had one in our  craniums since time began, but progress is being made.  We have amazing neurologists, neurosurgeons who can blast a tumor out of our heads, and yet still when it comes to a mental illness that it comes down to the seven pound organ in our skull being out of balance, there are still people in the "dark ages" who still would like us to "control it ourselves" by "mind over matter" control.....uh.....not gonna work.   

    I am in control and stable on a mix of topamax and wellbutrin xl daily and live a truly productive life.

    Good luck and hope this answer was not too thorough!

  9. Sage in a Cage profile image79
    Sage in a Cageposted 11 years ago

    As a psychologist and also a long-term sufferer of treatment-resistant depression I can assure you that mental disorders do indeed exist. You are right in a way when you say 'they are a thing of the mind' as they often do involve emotions, thought patterns, chemical imbalances and often can be helped through 'talking therapies' but this does not detract from their validity. You are correct up to a point when you say stress is  a decision as many studies have shown that we can learn strategies to reduce our stress levels but if you talked to someone who was experiencing true post traumatic stress disorder after a violent incident I believe you would soon see how truly debilitating a mental disorder can be on a strong person.

    Admittedly there is a tendency in some cultures to over-diagnose and medicate when a more intensive behavioural intervention may be more appropriate but I can honestly say that some of the most truly inspirational and strong individuals that I have met in my career have been dealing with mental disorders. I have met successful surgeons, lawyers and single mothers who will never tell another soul that they are on psychiatric medication for their own mental health because they have been raised to believe exactly what you mentioned. It breaks my heart that they feel they are weak when they are strong functioning human beings contributing to society. If they are examples of signs of weaknesses I think we're all in trouble!

  10. stanwshura profile image71
    stanwshuraposted 11 years ago

    You were taught wrong - period.  Weakness IS exemplified in clinging to the denial and/or judgment that you or anyone else can control or is responsible for everything.   The invisible disabilities don't deserve the finger-waggging.  People once thought schizophrenia and bipolar and other disorders were demonic possession.

    The people who believe(d) this were/are as dumb as dirt.

    1. Virginia Lea profile image71
      Virginia Leaposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      AMEN! That is something I have wanted to say my whole life! smile

    2. stanwshura profile image71
      stanwshuraposted 11 years agoin reply to this

      I'm glad you agree - and with such enthusiasm.  And, yeah, I do have to admit that coming up with that closer felt *really* good!

  11. Penny G profile image61
    Penny Gposted 9 years ago

    Oh I wish it was that way. I have two children with mental illness, they would love for it to go away. We have come a long way in Mental health and you really should read up on it and educate yourself. We cannot change how we were raised, but we are in charge now. Learn to help yourself get the facts.


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