The Prevalence Of Mental Illness

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Silent but deadly as the saying goes. This phrase is used when describing something aggressive or violent that also has an element of surprise, such as a predator stalking its prey, or a stealth bomber in warfare. This phrase could also be applied to mental illness, as many illnesses such as anorexia have frighteningly high mortality rates but often go undetected or undiagnosed for extended periods of time. In addition to their danger, mental illnesses are widespread, with 21.4% of youth experiencing a severe mental disorder at some point during their life (National Alliance of Mental Illness, 2016). The prevalence of mental illness has raised questions of how better to provide healthcare to populations like young people and…show more content… defines mental health as including “emotional, psychological, and social well-being”. A mental illness, or psychological disorders, is, as Barlow and Durand define it, a “psychological dysfunction within an individual associated with distress or impairment in functioning and a response that is not typical or culturally expected” (2), and psychological dysfunction is defined as “a breakdown in cognitive, emotional, or behavioral functioning” (2). Before the 19th century, mental disorders were largely attributed to supernatural forces such as demons and witches. Treatment was often exorcism, beatings, and other torturous and inhumane practices. But, during the 19th century, there began more and more a search for a biological basis of disorders as well as an attempt to distinguish between different disorders by figures such as Emil Kraepelin. Then, after the mid-19th century, Dorothea Dix spearheaded what is known known as the mental hygiene movement, when she campaigned for reform of the treatment of mental insanity, as current conditions were deplorable. Moving forward, Sigmund Freud and Ivan Pavlov furthered the field of psychology through Freud’s psychoanalytic model and Pavlov’s study of classical conditioning. In 1950, the “first effective drugs for severe psychotic disorders [were] developed” (Barlow, Durand, 26). Over the course of the last 60 years, the field of psychology has
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