My definition of health is the harmony of the body and mind, clear of disease or physical deformity.  This could be being physically active, and stimulating the mind with some brain teasing puzzles or games.  Illness is the perception of the mind that something is wrong, causing the person to feel a symptom that is not really there.  My definitions of these words have come from things I learned in school, and from my own observations of others.  Also, I am able to draw from my own personal experiences, especially with the illness part because if I did not want to do something and if I thought about it hard enough I could cause my own symptoms.

I do not believe that “Infertility” is an illness.  Some people and animals are born infertile and there is nothing they can do about it.  It is a part of them just like any emotion we may feel.  There is no escaping it and it is accepted into their everyday lives.  I do not believe that “Poverty” is considered an illness as well.  Poverty is an economic status felt by those in low class and should not be confused with a state of mind that people choose to live in.  Nobody wants to live in poverty, but some are forced due to the choices they made at an earlier point in their lives.  It is reversible, but it is not treatable like an illness.  I do not consider “Sadness” to be an illness as well.  Sadness is an emotion that everyone feels, but it is in no way an illness.  Depression, which is a much more severe version of sadness, is an illness, but depression is not felt by everyone.  If someone is exposed to sadness on a regular basis, it may upgrade to depression, but sadness itself is not an illness to me.

1 thought on “Anxiety

  1. I found that attitudes towards anxiety and mental disorders in general differ a lot cross-culturally. It seemed that even within the United States, subcultural groups such as White-Americans, African-Americans and Hispanic Americans have widely different attitudes towards mental illnesses such as anxiety. I think that these subcultural differences within a country are very important especially for physicians potentially treating members of each group. According to Roy-Byrne (1999) Hispanic Americans are more likely to want to hide their illness and therefore they most often prefer pharmacological treatments to psychotherapeutic treatments such as therapy. I also found that Hispanics are very unlikely to access treatment to mental health services because they often feel stigmatized, consistent with wanting to keep their mental illness a secret. This same article also stated that African-American patients are very unlikely to seek help due to distrust of psychiatrists as an adverse result of previous misdiagnoses in order to maintain the institution of slavery in the United States. When examining an Asian culture, the article compared Japanese social anxiety to American social anxiety, the former is more likely to be focused on others, fear of making them feel awkward or anxious, while in the U.S. it is more self-centered, fear of being awkward. I think that all of these different cultural attitudes send a strong message that the same treatment cannot be applied to everyone.

    Roy-Byrne, P. (1999). Cultural Issues in the Treatment of Anxiety. American Journal of Psychiatry, 156, 1658-1658.

Leave a Reply