Topic: What Is Mental Health? Is It Your Fault? Can I Recover?
What is Mental Health?:
Perhaps there is no clear-cut absolute definition, but of course many thorough descriptions are available through well-known and reputable web sites. A general description could be that mental health involves a broad range of medical illnesses that have symptoms involving disorders of thought, feeling and behaviour, and/or impairment in functioning in relation to a social, psychological, genetic, chemical or biological disturbance.
While thinking of mental health, many people will immediately recognise disorders/ illnesses such as depression, schizophrenia, bi-polar, and other disorders such as dementia. But of course there are hundreds of different disorders (including the more serious illnesses) as listed in the DSM4.
There are particular theories which believe that mental health (disorders etc.) is not a brain/chemical based means of contributing to (or even partly the cause of) disorders in general. Others certainly do recognise mental disorders or illnesses as having some biological element or similar contributions (chemical etc.), which strongly relates to any given mental health diagnosis. Others may interpret mental health as being mentally 'healthy'. Whatever any particular theories may suggest and without delving into scientific reasoning and the like, mental health can be interpreted as maintaining or striving to improve mental, cognitive and emotional well-being and maintaining homeostasis (or balanced well-being).
Whatever the exact actual causes or reasons may be, mental health issues are a very real and relevant topic of concern in our society and indeed in all of man-kind. Many people nowadays do perceive mental health disorders as genuine medical disorders. Perhaps we could look at mental health (disorders/ illnesses) as being mentally unwell, or maybe not having any clinical diagnosis as being seen more as 'mentally well', but I personally like a theory which suggests that mental 'health' or 'illness' are not complete opposites. It covers a much broader area than just not having any given diagnosis.
So, regardless of varying definitions and beliefs, it may be useful to look at ideas from different angles, but one may assume that we would generally agree that mental health is a very in-depth field, and the reality is that many people do have a clinical diagnosis.
Mental Illness- It's Not Your Fault:
From my own point of view, I remember when I was first diagnosed with an anxiety disorder (later to become severe), it was a relief to be told that it was not my fault. My brother who is a doctor told me this, and coming from a professional, I felt quite relieved in that I knew that I was not responsible for being born with a biochemical imbalance.
There are theories that state that situational or circumstantial elements can lead to a disorder such as depression. Many argue though that in many or even all cases of a mental health disorder (such as depression), numerous elements may contribute to the cause. However, in disorders (whether it is OCD, depression, dementia, schizophrenia or practically any disorder or illness) there is quite proven medical evidence that there are biological or neurobiological contributions or causes in relation to mental illness.
So, by no means is acquiring a disorder anybody's fault, and certainly not yours if you are battling with a psychiatric problem.
Prognosis of Recovery:
What are the chances of recovering? What disorders or illnesses have a better prognosis? What about chances of relapse? How long might it take to feel 'normal' again? These are some common questions yet none of them have a simple answer. To put it briefly, some disorders are recognised as having a better success rate in the recovery of ill health than others. Illnesses such as Paranoid Schizophrenia are regarded as serious conditions and generally do not have as high of a success or recovery rate of say someone battling Depression (Ref. PEMH). Generally, Depression is regarded as treatable and having a very good prognosis whereas other illnesses such as Schizophrenia have estimations as high as one third of sufferers who remain unwell, therefore the prognosis of recovery with particular illnesses such as this have a lower rate in the expectation of reduced symptoms or recovery (Ref. PEMH). Recovery may include several factors, not only including the diagnosis itself, but also including other inter-twined theories of causes of psychiatric problems such as the debate of nature versus nurture. Also, some people appear to recover, only to find themselves relapsing, whereas others may be in remission and cope quite well for long periods of time or perhaps the rest of their lives. Generally though, different diagnosed conditions have varying prognostication.