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Seeing mental illness everywhere

Specializes in Family Nurse Practitioner.

It seems like I see characteristics of mental illness everywhere. Maybe its because in our line of work we are geared toward assessing people's behaviors? My patient's parents for example, who as we all know are often in bad shape themselves, but OMG even on the message boards there are times when I'm thinking to myself: "ewww weee I can think of a few meds that might help you with that off the wall thinking/coping pattern". :uhoh21:

FireStarterRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in LTC, Med/Surg, Peds, ICU, Tele.

Well, a lot of us are weird. I'm sure you'd see something odd about me...:clown:

For one thing, I spend a lot of time at this website talking to people I've never met, now how healthy is that? I think I'm self-medicating with cyberbalta...:smokin:

medsurgrnco, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg, Psych.

It seems like I see characteristics of mental illness everywhere. Maybe its because in our line of work we are geared toward assessing people's behaviors?

The incidence of depression has increased at an incredibly rapid rate during my lifetime. Not sure where I read this, but it could have been in one of E. Fuller Torrey's books on mental illness.

We also live in a society where it appears the majority of people have incredibly low self-esteem and engage in passive-aggressive behavior but the psychologically naive blame everyone else for their problems while reading superficial self-help books to learn how to be happy. I enjoy psychiatric nursing, but the worried well who try to sabotage others around them REALLY get on my nerves! I'm sure I occasionally appear anxious and paranoid to others - but, hey, some people really are out to get me and I should be worried!

lsvalliant

Specializes in acute care then Home health.

I think of mental illness as being similar to medical illnesses in that we are ALL at risk for aquiring them at some point in our lives. Some people suffer with mental illness chronically and others acutely. For instance... I consider myself a relatively stable person (at least if its not that time of the month, lol), however I have found myself to be acutely depressed lately. My thoughts are the reason is because I started working in Med/Surg (which sux in in of itself) to get my first yr of nursing experience on the NIGHT shift. I'm convinced I'm not getting enough daylight hours because I'm sleeping all day. I think its a bout with SAD (seasonal affective disorder)that is job inflicted. Soon as I switch to days in awhile should clear up, I hope. Anyways, my point is that no one is exempt from it and because of the way the world's been lately (expecially with the economy) dont be surprised if those stats on depression go up again.

Thunderwolf, MSN, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg, Geriatric, Behavioral Health.

Some folks may believe that there is this magical wall or fence that separates well from unwell and vice versa. Actually, it is not an either/or...it is a continuum. The signs and symptoms which tend to be identified as being ill or clustering together to define "an illness" are nothing more than normal signs and symptoms of wellness cranked up a notch or two or even more (severity)...and now become either more noticeable by self/others, are now becoming more uncomfortable for self/others, are more rigid and persistently present, and are beginning/do impact level of functioning. That's it. So, it is not uncommon to see signs and symptoms in everybody. And it was correctly stated, by increasing the external stress, the internal stress increases also. Stress (external/internal) just magnifies any signs or symptoms...well to unwell.

Great thread topic.

medsurgrnco, BSN, RN

Specializes in Med-Surg, Psych.

And life has become increasingly stressful for the majority of people.

Jules A, MSN

Specializes in Family Nurse Practitioner.

And life has become increasingly stressful for the majority of people.

Or have we, as a society, made it increasingly stressful for ourselves? ;) At least in the USA it never ceases to amaze me at the amount of "stuff" we feel is necessary just to exist. I've been fortunate to have made a decent living throughout my adult life while continuing to live simply but I can not imagine the financial pressure people have on them if they feel it necessary to keep up with the Jones'. We live in strange times thats for sure.

Whispera, MSN, RN

Specializes in psych, addictions, hospice, education.

I have two thoughts here:

one...The Surgeon General publlished a report in 2000. In it he and his people said that about 25% of the American population has a diagnosed mental illness. That says to me that there are more that aren't diagnosed. It also says that we would be running into people with mental illnesses quite a bit!

two... I agree with Thunderwolf. Mental illnesses fall along a range of severity, from just a little to HOLY COW! Some are more obvious, some are more easily self-treated or professionally treated, some are impossible to treat.

I'm rambling... :D

With behavioal disorders in general we can entertain a deviance model for abnormal behavior and speak in terms of a continuim of behaviors. However, it's important not to forget that CMIs are actually the result of a chronic brain disorder. Reactive depressions can easily be misdiagnosed as a "major Depression" while all the personality disorders are more a function of severity of personality characteristics.

As noted in the classic Rosenhan studies from the early 70s, mental health professionals can also pathologize behaviors due to the circumstances and selective perceptions of the clinicians.

aloevera

Specializes in telemetry, med-surg, home health, psych.

I think we are too quick to label someone with a mental illness....they are experiencing life...the good and the bad, the happy and sad...they need to learn how to cope with stress instead of popping pills...lets forget the pills and give them some "life teaching" skills and then see what happens....

oh well, I can dream, can't I ?????

Mr Ian

Specializes in mental health; hangover remedies.

Well the jury is still out on the brain disorder theorem - and will be for a long time. It's agreed that neurochemicals fire off with significant deviation from the norm - but there's still the chicken and egg debate - cause and effect.

As for the continuum of behaviours, Wolfie you beat me to it :smokin:

.. but I only joined up a couple days ago...

mental illness is defined and diagnosed by behaviours that are excessive or extreme. Even hearing voices is not unheard of ... (err... if you follow me?!) .. outside of full blown mental illness. So it does make you wonder - paranoia? Or are we in suspicious times?

Which is my final point re - coping with stress.

We, as a society seem more susceptible to stress by way of - what some have termed - selfish capitalism; ie "it's all about me".

One of the biggest threats to mental health is isolation and feeling 'outside' the norm. Well, when the norm becomes every man/woman for him/her self - the sense of isolation and 'having to cope alone' is going to exacerbate.

Hence why so many people are happy to pay someone to 'care'.

In fact - it's so far warped capitalism that unless you are 'paid' to care, it seems they don't believe you actually can 'care' about them.

So - much less that stress is increasing - society is less supportive and the individual is less tolerant/resilient.

Oh yes, I see people with mental quirks all over the place too. All I have to do is look in the mirror and I see someone with whose kids describe as hypomanic, irrational and totally out of touch with reality. And that's all in the hour BEFORE they go to school!!

Really though, I think we do tend to pick out characteristics of people's natures, and subconsciously try to pick out a DSM-IV diagnosis for them. The other day in Walmart I saw a person happily talking away to themselves and gesturing at an invisible person. I was thinking that it would be nice if all psychotic people had such nice hallucinations but then I noticed that she actually had one of those blue tooth phones in her ear and was actually having a conversation with a real person. Thankfully, I didn't try and give her reality orientation, LOL. That could have been embarrasing.

diane227, LPN, RN

Specializes in Management, Emergency, Psych, Med Surg.

Mental illness is everywhere in the general population and often the most undiagnosed disorders in medicine. There are a lot of people out there that could benefit from some medication.

aloevera

Specializes in telemetry, med-surg, home health, psych.

Mental illness is everywhere in the general population and often the most undiagnosed disorders in medicine. There are a lot of people out there that could benefit from some medication.

and also a lot that are "too medicated" as it is....hence, their problems....

mingez

Specializes in Psych, Ortho, Stroke, and TBI.

Well, if you ask this question: what percentage of the population has a diagnosable Medical or Physical Illness? 85, 90%? Looking at it like that, even if 40% of the population has a diagnosable mental illness (from mild to severe) that number doesn't seem so high in comparison, and even makes the high psych number make more sense seeing as physical ailments are often tied to psychological ones.

luvschoolnursing, LPN

Specializes in School Nursing.

I think anyone is mentally ill who is not just like me.:chuckle Seriously, though, don't most of us have some minor traits that if they were exacerbated could be considered mental illness? I keep mine under control with Lexapro

aloevera

Specializes in telemetry, med-surg, home health, psych.

I think if you looked long enough and hard enough, you could slap a dx. on just about anyone.....I am a clean-freak....yes, I clean the desk when I get to work....I disinfect....I do wash my hands very frequently at work AND at home...but I certainly am not OCD....I don't get upset if I cannot wash my hands,,,just something I like to do to avoid germs and colds....BUT there is certainly someone out there who may think otherwise....we all have our little quirks....that is called PERSONALITY........not necessarily disorders, just varied types of personalities....now if something interfered with your ability to live day to day life, then possibly there may be a disorder...

No, I do not believe there is such a high percentage of mental illness...just a lot of spoiled people who do not know how to handle stress or life....

DLS_PMHNP, MSN, RN, NP

Specializes in Psychiatry.

Mental illness is everywhere in the general population and often the most undiagnosed disorders in medicine. There are a lot of people out there that could benefit from some medication.

Absolutely!

Taking medication for mental illnesses is NOT a stigma or a sign of weakness.

aloevera

Specializes in telemetry, med-surg, home health, psych.

Absolutely!

Taking medication for mental illnesses is NOT a stigma or a sign of weakness.

I agree, many benefit from medication; but there are also many "overmedicated" that may be better of without any and learn how to deal with depression, stress and similar maladies of life that we all encounter....

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