【看護学科】『 What is mental illness? 』

According to the American Psychiatric Association, mental illnesses are ..."health conditions involving changes in emotion, thinking or behaviour (or a combination of these). (APA, 2020)" Of course, all of us will, at some time or other, experience changes to these things. All of us will feel depressed or anxious or behave in ways that are not usual for us. Does this mean we are all mentally ill? No. Changes in our emotions, thinking or behaviour are the common experience of us all. However, about one in five people will at some time in their life, experience changes to their thinking, emotions or behaviour so severe that it interferes with; their ability to work or study, their relationships with family and friends and makes them feel miserable. If this continues for a long time, they may be suffering from a mental illness.

So the symptoms of mental illnesses are exaggerations of those things we commonly experience as human beings. We are not totally sure what causes mental illnesses, but doctors believe they can be caused by chemical changes in the brain or traumatic experiences or both of these things together.


Just like other forms of illness, mental illnesses may come and go and never return or they may persist for a long time. Mental illness is not the fault of the individual. It does not mean the person is weak or bad. Just like other illnesses such as the flu or diabetes, people with mental illnesses need care and treatment. This may be in the form of medications or they may need to talk to someone trained to understand and help them. This is sometimes called psychotherapy. Some mental illnesses may be mild and not interfere with the person life too much or for too long and other illnesses may be severe enough that the person needs treatment in hospital. Mental illness can happen to anyone regardless of gender, age or ethnicity.

What is mental illness?. (2018). American Psychiatric Association. Retrieved May, 11, 2020, from https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/what-is-mental-illness

【保健医療学部 看護学科 Walsh Kenneth David 教授】


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