While watching the first lecture, I spent a good chunk of time trying to differentiate between the two terms “health” and “illness”. Up until now, I would have just said that the definition of health is the absence of illness. Delving deeper into the two, I realize now that health is a combination of many things.

My definition of health not only means to not have a disease,  but also to have all aspects of self, physical and mental, in good condition. If someone doesn’t have a disease or illness, yet they are exceptionally overweight or underweight, they aren’t still in good health. Not only does this show that health is a make up of many different states of the human body, it shows that the definition of illness can be very broadly defined. Is obesity a disease or just a bad state of health? My definition of illness is any factor that affects the mental or physical wellness of a person, disrupting their normal body functions and causing them to fall out of a good state of health. My definitions of health and illness have been shaped through society, personal experience, and through ads on TV advertising antidepressants and other drugs to help cure illnesses affecting the brain. If depression wasn’t an illness, then how could pharmaceuticals help treat it?

ADHD was one of the choices that was pretty hard for me to decide on. I went back and forth between deeming it an illness or not an illness, but finally I decided that it’s not an illness. My definition of illness is a factor that negatively affects the mental and physical wellness of a person. I realize that people diagnosed with ADHD take medication for it and usually if something is diagnosed it is considered an illness. Based on my definition, not being able to focus is not an illness. I don’t believe that it negatively impacts physical wellbeing nor mental wellbeing.

Anxiety was also a tough one to make a decision on. While I don’t have anxiety myself, I do know a fair amount of people that do have it and have to take medication for it. It was hard to decide because people live with anxiety for their entire lives, and it can be treated with medication. Then I thought that anxiety, while left untreated, very negatively impacts the mental state of a person, which under my definition, does constitute itself as an illness.

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