most familiar of these diseases are:
or manic-depressive illness
illnesses, also nowadays often called brain illnesses or neurobiological
disorders, are medical diseases. Just as the blood, lung, heart
or knee can malfunction & cause problems, so can the physical
organ called the brain. With the new tool of magnetic resonance
imaging, researchers can see & study certain obvious, physical
differences between healthy & ill brains. Though brain research
is bounding ahead, nobody is yet able to pinpoint the cause or causes
of brain illnesses. Nowadays there seems to be general consensus
that genetic & environmental influences both play a role in
a person coming down with these illnesses.
illnesses are disorders of the brain that disrupt a person's thinking,
feeling, moods, and ability to relate to others. Just as diabetes
is a disorder of the pancreas, mental illnesses... often result
in a diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of
life." They are a major trigger for suicide or suicide attempts.
illnesses can affect persons of any age, race, religion, or income.
Five million people in this country alone suffer from a serious,
chronic brain disorder. These illnesses (disorders) greatly affect
family members and society in general. Mental illnesses are not
the result of personal weakness, lack of character, or poor upbringing.
importantly, these brain disorders are treatable. As a diabetic
takes insulin, most people with serious mental illness need medication
to help control symptoms. Supportive counseling, self-help groups,
housing, vocational rehabilitation, income assistance, and other
community services can also provide support and stability, leaving
the focus on recovery."
with schizophrenia often have hallucinations, delusions, confused
thinking and blunted emotions. They cannot distinguish between
reality and fantasy. "Three-quarters of those with the disorder
develop it between the ages of 16 and 25...
with bipolar disorder experience mood swings that alternate from
periods of severe highs (mania) to lows (depression). These
abnormally intense moods may last for days, weeks, or months and
are often separated by periods of fairly normal moods."
medical illness of major depression, which "is much more
than temporarily feeling sad or blue,... involves disturbances in
mood, concentration, sleep, activity, appetite, and social behavior."
Low energy and hopeless feelings are characteristic.
or "obsessive-compulsive disorder [is] an anxiety disorder
characterized by involuntary thoughts, ...impulses, or worries that
run through one's mind (obsessions) and [by] purposeless repetitive
behaviors (compulsions)... that interfere with one's life."
A good example would be endlessly checking to be sure if a certain
door is really locked.
person who experiences sudden and often unexpected dread or fear
accompanied by... uncontrollable panic responses to ordinary, nonthreatening
situations" would suffer from panic disorder. Such irrational
responses could be sweating, choking, racing heartbeat, or fear
of going out in public places or of dying.