My definition of health was “a state of well-being in which a person is active, eats right, sleeps enough, and is emotionally sound and stable as well.” My definition of illness was “a state in which an individual feels that they are not healthy and do not feel well.” The deciding factor between health and illness for me was whether it was dependent on how the individual interprets it or not. These ideas came from both society and school. In my health psychology class, we learned that how people view health is culture dependent. This also means that our society sets forth what is acceptable and unacceptable in our culture. For example, in some cultures mental illnesses are not recognized as such and thought to have a different origin than the brain.
The first condition I chose to be an illness is anxiety. Whether or not a person is anxious or feels anxious is dependent on that individual. Everybody feels and interprets things differently, therefore some people may just brush the idea off and deal with it, whereas others may be affected by it tremendously and find that they cannot function normally without getting treatment. How one views anxiety can also be cultural dependent. Some cultures may view anxiety as a problem, and other cultures may not.
The second condition I chose to be an illness is erectile dysfunction. For me, this was the toughest condition to categorize, but in the end, I based my decision on culture. In the United States today, ED is portrayed in the media as a common problem with older men and can be fixed with medication. In other cultures, however, they may view ED as all in the man’s head. Since the problem depends on the person’s culture and is not known as a problem world-wide, I categorized it as an illness. If all cultures saw this as a problem, I would categorize it as a disease.