Mental Illness: An Overview

With the introduction of writing, approximately all ancient civilizations recorded behavior and experiences suggestive of severe mental illness (SMI), as well as psychosis (Baumeister, et al., 2012) The first real descriptions of severe mental illness in young individuals began to appear in the early 1800s (Baumeister et al.

, 2012). The U.S. Census Bureau gathered data about mental disorders for the first time in 1840 (Baumeister et al., 2012). The 1880 census was the first successful attempt to count the mentally ill. The 1880 census remains, to date, the sole greatest attempt to count, completely by census, the total amount of the mentally ill population in the United States (Baumeister at al.

, 2012). The total number of mentally ill calculated in the United States by the 1880 census was 91,997, or 1.83 per 1000 people (Baumeister et al., 2012).

Torrey and Miller suggested that before around 1750, severe mental illness was caused by several different medical conditions (e.g., brain tumors, alcoholic encephalitis) and that it had a stable starting point ratio of about 1 per 1000 people (Baumeister et al., 2012). Szasz has been arguing, for more than 50 years, that the medical model’s definition of mental illness is inconsistent. According to Szasz, “mental illness” is not an illness at all, but instead, is the result of problems within the person’s life that, in most instances, can be traced to early childhood experiences and/or the failure to change to certain social circumstances and expectations (Stolzer, 2016). Over a relatively short time period, Americans’ outlook regarding mental illness has changed drastically as data now points out that 88% of Americans believe that mental illness can be credited to natural causes (e.

g., a chemical imbalance in the brain) and can be effectively treated with psychiatric medications (Stolzer, 2016).

In childhood and teenage years, males receive ominously more psychiatric diagnoses and psychiatric drug prescriptions, while in adulthood, females are more probable to be diagnosed with psychiatric disorder, which in turn results in females being prescribed psychiatric drugs more frequently than males. (Stolzer, 2016). According to the scientific writings, psychiatric drugs “work” by changing the chemical arrangement of the brain from developing its own exact neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine (Stolzer, 2016). Prescriptions for antidepressant medications have multiplied by three in America in the previous decade (Stolzer, 2016). In the decade between 1996 and 2005, the proportion of Americans taking antidepressants practically doubled, and an abundant majority of them were prescribed by primary care doctors and other non-psychiatrist doctors (Olfson, 2016) Antidepressant drugs are now the most frequently prescribed medications in America, as depression diagnoses have intensely amplified among all age groups (Stolzer, 2016). The most often diagnosed mental illnesses through all age groups are: anxiety disorders (69.1 million), depression (30.3 million), somatoform disorders (20.4 million), and alcoholism (14.6 million) (Stolzer, 2016).

The 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) found a quarter of 18- to 25-year-olds with alcohol misuse correspondingly suffered from mental illness (Lo, Monge, Howell, & Cheng, 2013). The study of a national sample of college students proposes that American college pupils are far more suitable to develop alcohol-mental illness comorbidity than prescription medication-mental illness comorbidity (Lo et al., 2013). In 2002, 4.1% of 18 to 25-year-olds in the United States testified mishandling a prescription drug; by 2007, that percentage rose to 4.6% (Lo et al., 2013). According to issued statistics, classifying an individual as “mentally ill” and prescribing psychiatric medications does nothing to increase the likelihood of mental wellness, but may shred persons of their self-efficacy by convincing them that their brains are naturally imperfect (Stolzer, 2016). Most individuals with psychiatric illnesses obtain no treatment for their symptoms during the course of at least one year (Olfson, 2016). An absence of self-perceived essential for treatment, hesitation about the effectiveness of mental health treatment, humiliation, and a yearning to handle complications without aid can all interrupt the commencement of mental health care (Olfson, 2016).

Primary care doctors provide a considerable and growing amount of outpatient mental health care in the United States (Olfson, 2016). Wholly two-thirds of primary care doctors state that they cannot secure outpatient mental health recommendations for their patients with mental health complications (Olfson, 2016). In numerous health care settings, developing representations are being executed that assimilate behavioral health amenities within primary care practice (Olfson, 2016). Health insurance coverage for mental health and substance abuse illness treatment has over all been less substantial than coverage for medical care, and activists have fought for a long time that these differences in insurance coverage is considered discrimination. The Mental Health Parity Act (MHPA) of 1996 was the first federal law that addressed equality between mental health treatment and medical treatment (Cummings et al., 2013).

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