Is Anxiety an Illness?

My definition of health is a person’s physical, mental, and social well being. A person is considered healthy, if they can function normally and are not displaying symptoms of disease, or pain. Health is very broad and can be affected by various factors. My definition of illness is experiences and symptoms that affects the everyday life of an individual and may be caused by disease. I acquired this definition from a mixture of information from school, personal experiences, and the media. For example, I experience severe headaches that cause me to feel fatigue and pain. When I went to the doctor, the physician did not diagnose me with a disease; instead she stated that stress may be causing the pain. Therefore, my headaches may be considered an illness based on my experiences. In addition, I believe the headaches affect my overall health because the fatigue prevents me from performing tasks.

I would classify anxiety as an illness because it is based on human experiences. The main determinant for diagnosing a patient with an anxiety disorder is the patient narratives and symptoms. Physicians cannot rely on science to accurately diagnose a patient with anxiety. Anxiety disorders demonstrate the importance of interviewing patients and collecting accurate information to diagnose a patient.

I would classify cancer as a disease that eventually leads to illness. Cancer is diagnosed by physicians using scientific tests or procedures. There are various different types of cancer; therefore some cancer patients are asymptomatic at the beginning stages and unaware that they have the disease. This displays the importance of annual physical exams. On the other hand, some cancer patients experience symptoms such as lumps, pain, fatigue, skin changes and many more depending on the type of cancer. The main determinant of whether a person has cancer is a physician.

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