12 March 2019
Psychological Disorders: Should Be Treated Like Diseases
Psychological disorders like depression, anxiety, stress, and many more are often misunderstood. Many people don’t take these disorders serious. When we think of diseases we often see and think of anything physical because they are more apparent to the eyes. Therefore, many people do not believe psychological disorders should be treated like a disease because it’s not physical pain from an injury or pain from other diseases but they still can and do cause pain. Psychological disorders are devastating to one’s life and cause a number of issues just like any other disease would. It causes suffering and poor ability to function. It is hard for one with psychological disorders to live out a normal life. Some people think this is a normal part of life (also called that “everybody has their ups and downs” way of thinking) but this is far more than that. Psychological disorders are a major factor in an individual’s life. It effects every single aspect and can cause a lot more harm than we think, which is why psychological disorders should be treated seriously just like a disease.
Psychological disorders have been known to many for a long period of time. The term psychological is often the same as mental disorders. They can cause patterns of behavior that impact multiple fields of life. They create distress for the individual suffering from the symptoms. Psychological disorders can be genetic, environmental, and induced. These disorders are not unfamiliar. It is very common and affects nearly 20 percent of American adults (Saxena Shekhar and Ralph Aquila). There are numerous amounts of psychological disorders. Some of the more common mental illnesses that will be discussed include anxiety, depression, stress, and eating disorders. These disorders keep one from acting “normal” or merely accepted behavior. They make an impression on the mind and emotions of the brain, which can eventually affect physical demeanor as well. Mental illnesses and physical illnesses should be qualified and treated the same, since they both cause pain for the individual. Mental illnesses are no different from heart disease, diabetes or any other chronic illness. All chronic diseases have behavioral components as well as biological components. The only difference here is that the organ of interest is the brain instead of the heart or pancreas. But the same basic principles apply(Weir). Just like any other disease, there are signs, symptoms, diagnoses, and treatments for mental illness. Still, the process is more complicated than that of a physical alteration because the subject is of the mind, and every one individual is unique in terms of thinking, perspective, emotion, and past experience. This all impacts the mind, mental health, and physical health of human beings.
A psychological disorder that several people suffer from is anxiety. Anxiety is known as excessive worry, fear, or nervousness about any circumstance. The feeling of anxiety often occurs to almost everyone whether it is taking an exam or trying to make a difficult decision. Although this type of feeling is normal and does not exactly qualify as anxiety. Anxiety disorders and normal feelings of anxiousness are not the same, they are two completely different things. Anxiety is far more serious. When feelings of fear or nervousness turn unreasonable, difficult to control, or interfere with everyday life, anxiety may be present. A lot of the time people who suffer from anxiety do not know what is causing his or her excessive fear. Their anxiety is irrepressible and seems to devour them. It interferes with their daily lifestyle and well-being. Some symptoms one might experience are panic attacks, increases heart rate, shaking, and sweating. Many people are aware of the impact anxiety has on their mental health but few people are aware of the physical impacts it has. Some physical side effects are digestive issues and an increased risk of infection (Leonard). Anxiety can also change the function of the cardiovascular, urinary, and respiratory systems (Leonard). This psychological disorder known as anxiety has serious physical impacts that affect an individual’s overall health. Therefore, needs to be taken seriously and not left untreated or considered as just a “normal feeling” when it can lead to other health problems.
Another psychological disorder that affects a great amount of people is depression. Depression is a very common severe illness and is often associated with anxiety. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, major depression often accompanies panic disorder and other anxiety disorders (Ankrom). People with depression struggle to live a healthy life. It interferes with every aspect of life. For example, an individual suffering from depression has difficulty with their ability to work, sleep, and eat. People can get depression from family members with a past history of depression, or from a stressful situation that is currently occurring or has already occurred in their life. People who suffer from depression feel extreme sadness and hopelessness. They often don’t feel like themselves. Their actions, thoughts, mood, and emotions are often abnormal. They may also have difficulty performing day-to-day actions. Simple everyday things can be a challenge to do when before it was something easy to complete without any effort. Many symptoms of depression may include sorrow, temper, feeling bad and unworthy, rage, bad performance, bad attendance in school or work, feeling misunderstood, loss of interest in normal activities, and avoidance of social interactions. A huge problem or concern with depression is suicide. Many people suffering from depression cause harm to themselves that results in hospitalization and even death. We should not ignore mental pain just because there is not any physical pain present when is can easily lead to that. Individuals suffering from depression must be in extreme pain to compete suicide or even try to attempt suicide. They are willing to end their own life because of all the suffering so why shouldn’t we treat physical disorders like a disease when they are life threatening? Depression has led to numerous amounts of deaths. Suicide alone was responsible for 42,773 deaths in the United States in 2014, which made suicide the 10th leading cause of death (Campo). Depression also has its physical effects. It can lead to heart problems. Existing research has already linked depression to a heightened risk of cardiovascular disease and sudden cardiac death (Cohut). These are huge factors to why psychological disorders should be treated like diseases. Clearly depression has some major risks and should definitely not be ignored because a person’s life could defiantly be in danger.
Stress is also a psychological disorder. Many experience this when they are under mental, physical, or emotional pressure. It can be normal to experience some stress from time to time but people who experience extreme high levels of stress repeatedly over a long period of time can cause issues for them. Stress also connects to anxiety and depression, therefore the same symptoms and consequence of anxiety and depression like excessive worrying, fear and suicide arise and become a health concern. Stress can be caused by daily activities and responsibilities. It can also be caused by unusual events like trauma. Stress isn’t just any other feeling that we experience since it’s symptoms can lead to some serious health problems. According to Essay on Stress: It’s Meaning, Effects and Coping with Stress, there are three categories of the effects of stress. The categories are physiological effects, psychological effects, and behavioral changes. Physiological effects consist of commonly appearing stress related bodily disorders are-peptic ulcers, hypertension, chronic fatigue, hormonal changes, increased heart rate, difficulty in breathing, numbness of limbs, heart disease and reduction in immunity (Essay on Stress). Psychological effects include anxiety, depression, hopelessness, helplessness, anger, nervousness, irritability tension and boredom can be experienced (Essay on Stress). Effects of behavioral changes are decreasing efficiency, making mistakes, inability to take decisions, under eating or over eating, sleeplessness, increased smoking, develop addiction to alcohol and drugs, forgetfulness, hypersensitivity or passiveness, accident proneness and interpersonal difficulties are seen (Essay on Stress). Stress that's left unchecked can also contribute to many other health issues such as high blood pressure, obesity, and diabetes (Mayo Clinical Staff). Stress can come along with serious health problems, which why it is important to take the symptoms in consideration and provide proper treatment like other diseases.
Psychological disorders also include eating disorders. A great amount of people have difficulty in their lives due to eating disorders. Millions of Americans are afflicted with this disorder every year, about 90 percent are adolescent and young women (Grohol). Eating disorders are a common serious mental and physical problem that revolve around body weight, body image, and an obsession with food. Some eating disorders include anorexia, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating. Anorexia or anorexia nervosa is the name for simply starving yourself because you are overweight or at least you think are (Grohol). Bulimia or bulimia nervosa is characterized by excessive eating and then ridding yourself of the food by vomiting, abusing laxatives or diuretics, taking enemas, or exercising obsessively(Grohol). Binge eating is eating an amount of food that is larger than what most people would eat and lacking any control over eating during the episode (Grohol). Many people overlook these eating disorder, but if they are left untreated they can cause a series of medical condition and can be deadly. For example, eating disorders effect the cardiovascular system. Consuming fewer calories than you need means that the body breaks down its own tissue to use for fuel. Muscles are some of the first organs broken down, and that includes the most important muscle in the body which is the heart. Pulse and blood pressure begin to drop as the heart has less fuel to pump blood and fewer cells to pump with. The risk for heart failure rises as the heart rate and blood pressure levels sink lower and lower (Health Consequences). Eating disorders also effect the gastrointestinal system by causing stomach pain, bloating, nausea, vomiting, and bacterial infections (Health Consequences). The brain is also effected by eating disorders and therefore causes many problems. Some neurological problems are extreme hunger or fullness at bedtime causing trouble sleeping, numbness and tingling of the hands and feet, Severe dehydration and electrolyte imbalances leading to seizures and muscle cramps, fainting or dizziness upon standing due to lack of blood to the brain, and increased risk of sleep apnea, a disorder in which a person stop regularly stops breathing while sleeping (Health Consequences). There are many more health consequence that eating disorders can cause and lead to. Some health consequences include dry skin and hair fall out due to low caloric and fat consumption, dehydration leading to kidney failure, and core body temperature drop developing hypothermia due to low energy to fuel its metabolic fire (Health Consequences). These eating disorder have some scary consequences in one’s life. Major health problems like the ones caused by psychological eating disorders should defiantly not be left untreated and need to be recognized as a disease.
Individuals suffering from psychological disorders can also face substance related disorders. In 2014, 20.2 million adults in the U.S. had a substance use disorder and 7.9 million had both a substance use disorder and another mental illness (Substance Use and Mental Health). Often mental health problems and substance use disorders happen together. Reasons for this being is certain illegal drugs can cause people with an addiction to experience one or more symptoms of a mental health problem, mental health problems can sometimes lead to alcohol or drug use, as some people with a mental health problem may misuse these substances as a form of self-medication, and mental and substance use disorders share some underlying causes, including changes in brain composition, genetic vulnerabilities, and early exposure to stress or trauma (Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders). Substance related disorders also effect various parts of the individual’s life. They have behavioral changes, physical changes, and social changes. Behavioral changes include drop in attendance and performance at work or school, frequently getting in trouble, change in appetite or sleep patterns, unexplained change in personality or attitude, mood swings, irritability, angry outburst, and lack of motivation (Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders). Physical changes are sudden weight loss or weight gain, unusual smells of breath, body, or clothing, tremors, slurred speech, and impaired coordination. (Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders). Social changes are change in friends, change in hobbies, and relationship problems (Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders). Substance abuse has a negative behavioral and health outcome that should not be over looked.
Another problem individual with psychological disorders face is early death. People who suffer from mental illnesses like anxiety depression and stress are at risk of an early death. People with serious mental illnesses die 10 to 25 years earlier than the general population (Saxena Shekhar and Ralph Aquila). They are also more likely to use substances like tobacco which often also causes premature death. People with serious mental illness, for example, are two times more likely than the general population to use tobacco and often die younger due to preventable tobacco-related health conditions (Saxena Shekhar and Ralph Aquila). Diseases are considered life threatening so why don’t we treat physiological disorders like any other diseases when it can also cut your life short.
Psychological disorders affect a numerous of people from all ages. They tend to interfere with a person’s mind and their ability to think reasonably. The common psychological disorders are anxiety, depression, stress, and eating disorder. All of these three disorders have a significant impact on one’s life. They affect every single aspect and cause daily challenges. Some symptoms are fear, hopelessness, kidney failure, and suicide. If left untreated serious problems can occur like cardiovascular disease, digestive issues, and early death. Psychological disorders have serious consequences and need proper care. They are not just normal everyday feelings we experience in life. These disorders are not so simple to deal with it and can lead to future medical problems. They play a huge role in one’s life and need proper treatment like other diseases to avoid some of the deadly consequences and devastating health problems.
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