What IS “Mental Illness” Anyway?

Where is the line between “normal” and “mentally ill”?

DSMI ask you to ask yourself, “What IS “Mental Illness” anyway?” Depression has been called the “common cold” of mental illness. Statistically you have a better chance of experiencing depression at some point in your life than not. Yet depressed people still hide their Prozac due to the stigma of mental illness. But if every body’s got it, why does the stigma remain? Answer: BECAUSE we continue to hide it. If everyone “came out” about depression, we would likely be relieved to discover we are not only not alone but that the minority is the people who have NOT been depressed. So the various levels of depression have been outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) – does that mean anyone diagnosed with depression is “mentally ill”? There are plenty of diagnosis in the DSM-IV that would hardly seem so including Nicotine Dependence, Caffeine-Induced Anxiety Disorder and Primary Insomnia – to name just a few. Most people could be diagnosed with some thing at any given time. So where is the line of “mental illness”? Careful how you answer. If your answer indicates it’s all-or-nothing you might have a case of “stinkin’ thinkin’” and be diagnosed with Cognitive Disorder (not otherwise specified). Or if you don’t answer all, you might be diagnosed with Oppositional Defiant Disorder or perhaps a communication disorder (depending on your body language).

This tongue-in-cheek discussion about mental illness is offered to hopefully get you to think about and answer the question for yourself. The most important distinction comes from inside of you. Or – am I just “crazy”?

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