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Mental Illness Essay

1197 words - 5 pages


The name The name of my book is Mental Illness by Gilda Berger. Mental illness is a disorder characterized by disturbances in a person’s thoughts, emotions, or behavior. The term mental illness can refer to a wide variety of disorders, ranging from those that cause mild distress to those that severely impair a person’s ability to function. Today, mental illness is considered to range from such ideas as eating disorders to personality disorders.
     Mental illnesses have been reported as far back as to 4000-5000 years ago. The reason scientists believe that mental illness has existed this long is due to anthropologists finding skulls with holes gashed in them. ...view middle of the document...

As time moved on, people saw that the mentally ill were not possessed, but that they were simply sick. Rather than kill all of the mentally ill, society decided it would be better to lock them away in a place that would be safe for them which was away from other people. One of the first and most notorious institutions was Bethlehem Hospital. Although Bedlam was founded on high principles it was soon noted as being wild, crowded, noisy, and filthy. Patients could be found in cold, dark, unsanitary cells with almost no clothing on in the Bedlam institution.
     Another main aspect of Mental Illness is that there are many different kinds of mental illnesses. Some of the mental disorders mentioned in the book are senility, alcoholism, and drug abuse. Senility has become a basic epidemic in the United States, with five percent of people over sixty-five experiencing symptoms of memory loss, disorientation to time and place, and impaired thinking ability. Senility is not a disease based on the idea that as age sets in the brain begins to slow down, but simply that other diseases cause older people more problems in everyday life than thought before. Senility can be preceded by many other disorders including arteriosclerosis, strokes, Alzheimer’s disease, and severe cases of depression.
     Common substance-related disorders include alcoholism and drug abuse. In addition to the effect already given by the abused drug, drug abuse can contribute to symptoms of other mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, and psychosis. Most substance-related disorders include alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, cocaine, heroin, hallucinogens, and sedatives. Alcoholism is regarded as a disease by some who drink excessively and are generally unable to control how much they drink and cannot function well physically, socially, or mentally. Babies born to alcoholic mothers have a death rate eight times that of babies in general. Those that survive have a very good chance of being mentally retarded. The reason I chose to write about alcoholism is because I remembered the class doing a section in the book about a baby having fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS). FAS is made when a child has abnormalities in the three following categories: (1) the characteristic set of facial features; (2) retarded physical growth; and (3) mild to moderate mental retardation. FAS is weird to me for two reasons: first, if alcoholism...

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