Many people, specialists and researchers argue over the disputed relation between mental and physical illnesses. Some are of the point-of-view that physical illnesses are much more adverse and more of a nuisance than mental illnesses, they give the example that when your leg breaks, you cannot do anything to fix it other than letting it take its time. The only thing that can be done is plastering your leg, following a proper diet, and letting the leg take its time to heal. Same is not the case with mental illnesses. People, more than often, consider mental illnesses a sheer creation of our mind itself, a pseudo-liberal way of gaining attention in the trendy world of now, but the reality is opposite. Mental illnesses are not something to be taken lightly. They are much more than physical illnesses, in my perspective. Only a person who has experienced it can relate to the damage it can do to a person’s personal or social life, let alone their physical health.
Physical Effects of Mental Illnesses:
The World Health Organization defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being”. Mental and Physical illnesses are thought of as divergent ideas, but they are not so different. A person undergoing mental illness lacks with his/her physical health as well, and a person undergoing a physical illness lacks with his/her mental health. You might be wondering how that may be possible, and that’s what I am going to explain. Discussing the case in-depth, some may think of the two mentioned in the same sentence as a mere mistake, but that is certainly not the case. Mental illnesses are of different types and many of them take hearty tolls on our physical health.
Major Depressive Disorder and Physical Health:
Let’s take Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) as our benchmark to prove the point. Major Depressive Disorder, otherwise known as Clinical Depression, is a disorder that affected 7% of the masses in America, as of 2017. It is characterized by sadness, chagrin, changes in appetite and sleep routines, and suicidal ideation. Many may say it is a construct of our mind, but that is not even near the truth. Major Depressive Disorder causes many changes in our daily life routine. Firstly, sadness interferes with our decision-making processes; a person may lose many opportunities just because they were just too upset. Sadness is characterized not only as a heavy heart but like a brick you carry in your pocket. You may lose track of it being there, but you are reminded of it with every bump in the road. A person’s appetite change can cause them severe malfunctions with their weight. Many people take up comfort eating and end up gaining weight, becoming obese. Some other examples include torturing yourself and not drinking water or eating food for a long period of time. Small changes regarding mental wellbeing go a long way, and the smallest changes have the biggest impacts. A person undergoing mental illnesses undergoes many other physical demerits as well. Depression is accompanied by having unexplained aches over your body, fatigue in muscles, laziness in completing day-to-day tasks, and many other symptoms. A person undergoing the extremities of these cannot function properly. Consequently, they will end up having suicidal thoughts and find themselves standing on the edge of a bridge.
Mental Illnesses with Physical Illness:
You must be thinking it’s a repetition of ideas, but keep reading, it is the exact opposite of the aforementioned. Many life-threatening diseases, such as terminal cancer, tumors in inoperable places in our body, thalassemia et cetera leave a person thinking of the Grim Reaper as if he’s standing right in front of them. In such cases, where a person can only think of death and how it may affect their kith and kin, they are vulnerable to mental illnesses much, much more than the common man. One in three people may experience mental health problems such as depression and anxiety due to their diagnosis. In these cases, the person and their caregivers are left with nothing but to take every option of treatment, such as chemotherapy for cancer and antidepressants for mental illnesses. Many people say that depression is a side-effect of having cancer, and they are not wrong in their point of view. Having a proper diagnosis of mental illnesses is a sidelined thing when you are already undergoing severe physical deterioration.
Undergoing mental illnesses isn’t a thing to be ignored or to be shelved just because of society’s definitions of health. It is a fact that Mental illnesses are much more severe than some physical illnesses. The line is not to compare traumas, or to make a scale of sorrow, but to keep mental illnesses from sidelining. CAT Scans, MRIs, qEEG, ERP, and PET machines that show pictures of the brain prove that there is a difference between the lobes of a healthy person and those of a person undergoing mental illnesses. Arguments have been made over the long-term effects of PTSD, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, a disorderly state of being after undergoing a relentlessly traumatic experience. People who have seen someone being killed, have been kidnapped and tortured, or have been kept captive in a war will surely undergo PTSD. The aforementioned scans can be used as a means to show mental disorders. As previously stated, mental disorders are due to the lacking function of neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters’ lacking function can be seen in scans of the brain and can be treated with the use of medication for a certain amount of time.
A person with mental illnesses is not taken as someone with severe disease or disorder by the third-world society. They are shown as outcasts, people who do not deserve sympathy or any slack because they are not undergoing real illness. These definitions will have to change for us to grow as a society.