Mental Illness Essay

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Since the 1800s, treatment methods for mental illness have developed significantly worldwide. From electrotherapy to modern practices like psychotherapy, treatment for mental disorders has greatly progressed as scientists and psychologists learn more information on the causes of mental illness and the best therapy for each particular disease. The past 200 years mark the most defined era since the beginning of humans for the progression of treatment for mental illness. Not only has treatment improved for the mentally ill, but also the perception of mental illness has greatly changed and will continue to do so as more is learned about the human mind. In the past, mental illness was taboo to discuss and there was fear surrounding the topic. However, remarkable strides have been made in figuring out the causes of the disease and weighing the most effective treatments specialized for each specific disease. According to the American Psychotic Association, “A mental illness is a medical condition that disrupts a person's thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning. Just as diabetes is a disorder of the pancreas, mental illnesses are medical conditions that often result in a diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of life.” Although it is known now that mental illness has to do with the human mind and the makeup of one’s brain, until recently, the mentally ill were seen as incurable subhuman creatures. Porter contends that: Many felt that the mentally ill brought it upon themselves, through moral or religious transgressions. They felt that gods or other spirits were punishing these “criminals” with illness. Others were thought to be under the spell of evil spirits, the devil, or the vi... ... middle of paper ... ...ng released, believing that independent living was the answer. It is believed that “in the 1980s, it was estimated that one-third of all homeless individuals in America were considered severely mentally ill.”(Foershner) Today, the most widely acclaimed and effective method for treating mental illness is to use both medication and also some type of therapy based on the diagnosed disorder together. Perceptions of mental health have changed dramatically since the 1800s and will continue to advance as more is learned about the human mind. Significant advancements have been made in this field, but there is still much room for progress to be made as more is learned. From barbaric assumptions about the mentally ill in the 1800s, to what is now known about mental illness and the human brain, these accomplishments can definitely be described as “one giant leap for mankind.”

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