ON MENTAL ILLNESS: These Are Brain Disorders

Jack Bragen
Friday May 12, 2017 - 03:04:00 PM

Many people have the mistaken belief that if someone suffers from a psychiatric condition, it is somehow their fault. The individual is believed to have a character problem, is automatically believed to be psychologically messed-up, and is believed to be of below normal intelligence.  

Those in charge of treating persons with mental conditions are sometimes no better. They presume that if you are in a position of receiving mental healthcare, it follows that you are in a less evolved state than they, that you are not ready to live in society, and that you are emotionally and mentally subnormal or abnormal. Yet this is a contradiction, because the very same individuals assert that mental illnesses are an indication of something being wrong with the brain. 

I am in a position of having a brain disorder, however I do not lack mental, emotional and intellectual development. My brain disorder is a separate issue from who I am in terms of personality and spiritual development. This is hard for some mental health practitioners to grasp.  

People with Parkinson's or Epilepsy do not get the same rap. Yet, if we were to view mental illnesses through a non-stigmatizing lens, people would realize that a mentally ill person isn't automatically dumb, sick, or abnormal.  

Mental illnesses do affect the human mind, since the areas of the brain they strike often include the seats of judgment, emotions, and cognition. However, upon receiving treatment, a mentally ill person is often "normal."  

Psychiatric illnesses challenge the boundaries between personality, versus brain function. When under the influence of untreated mental illness, an individual's personality is displaced by symptoms of their disease.  

There are some people with a mental illness diagnosis who have a warped personality. Yet, there are numerous people without a mental illness diagnosis who are warped. If this weren't so, from where does human prejudice come, why do we need police, and why have atomic weapons come into existence?  

There is something wrong with the behavior of the human species. Many mentally ill people aren't well adjusted to society. Yet is society good? Often not. There is no connection between mental illness and improper development as a person. These are distinct, separate issues.  

Mental illnesses and the medications used to treat them are disabling. But I am tired of the condescension of some psychiatrists, of some psychologists, and of ignorant people. Mental illnesses should be viewed as medical disorders and not as an indication that an individual is somehow less. These are brain disorders, not people disorders.