Thursday, August 14, 2014

Mental Health: Is it really a disorder/illness?

I was just listening to a radio program, talking about mental health, and the need to have a "real conversation" about mental illness.

They of course talked about the usual suspects. Dealing with the stigma of mental illness, recognizing that mental illnesses are as real as other illnesses, handicaps, etc...

I had a thought though, which I have never heard addressed: What if some of these disorders, aren't actually disorders? What if some/many of these disorders are only disorders because we as a society have overly-restricted the definition of  "normal"?

Take ADD/ADHD as an example: This country, I would argue, only exists because of ADD/ADHD. It would take a person with ADD characteristics to overlook the enormous risks and potential consequences, abandon all they had, and cross thousands of miles of ocean to come to  an unknown, wild land and try to build a new life from nothing! And it would take an ADD brain to survive some of the events the early settlers experienced.

What if many of these people are in fact perfectly healthy, normal people, who are struggling, suffering because society has allowed a few nut-jobs to incorrectly define "normal"?

What if there is a simple way to "fix" them, not by medicating them, but by accommodating them?

Autism is one case where this is starting to happen. What about other "disorders"?

What if many of these shooting tragedies suicides, etc... could be prevented by changing the conversation from disorder/illness and treatment to understanding the different characteristics/qualities of people, and adjusting our society to accommodate them?

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