I must confess, as someone with a mental illness, I have my reservations about the shift toward thinking of mental illness as a strictly physiological affliction. I worry that it will lead to an overly pharmaceutical approach to its treatment. I fully acknowledge the role that medication has to play in wellness (indeed, it plays a significant role in my own), but I think that talk-therapies are essential to wellness too. If, however, we start to think of mental illnesses as a strictly physiological condition, I worry that sufferers will neglect the importance of therapy. If mental illness is nothing more than a flaw in chemistry, talking would no more solve the problem than it would cure diabetes.
Admittedly, treatment schemes are, and should be, as individual as the people who suffer from these illnesses. But, when coupled with increasing pressures on public health systems to cut back on spending, I worry that a strictly biological conception of mental health will lead to a severe underemphasis of the value of talk-therapies.
Apologies to my subscribers for the brief hiatus. I will return with an article on perfectionism in the coming days.
When I started using brain illness instead of mental illness, I thought it was perhaps just an exercise in semantics. I didn’t think it would make any difference, but it has.
Now, when I look at my husband and think brain illness, something has subtly shifted. I am processing what is happening in terms of something wrong with him physically, not that his mind is haywire. Sure, the illness can affect his thinking, causing him to obsess, but I know that there is something physically wrong with him and that makes all the difference.
When I think of others suffering other forms of brain illness, I find myself with more hope than when I approached it from the point of view…
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