Essay on mental illness


Behavioral pharmacology is based on the concept that since the brain’s communication system is controlled by specific chemicals, compounds interacting with those chemicals will change the messages.  Chemical knowledge and controlled scientific behavioral knowledge is combined to form the golden rule of pharmacology: “specific changes in brain chemistry produce specific changes in behavior.” Recently, scientists have discovered links between brain chemistry and depression that provide a practical example for brain chemistry’s connection with psychological disorder.  Glucocorticoids are neurotransmitter receptors found to induce severe mood changes when present in high quantities. Approximately 50% of patients suffering depression have raised glucocorticoid levels.  In addition, serotonin has been connected to depression through experiments showing that lowering brain serotonin levels can induce depression.  Many drugs used to treat depression work toward altering brain serotonin levels, and show positive results.

The disciplinary hearings are seen to function like courts in the criminal justice system and hence provide a modicum of due process. They however do not recognize a subjects capacity to participate in the hearings and hence proceeds with the hearing regardless of whether an accused understand the charges or not. These disciplinary hearings do not allow for insanity defense which might appreciate that an individual had no control of his actions at the time of violation. The hearing officers may also not take into consideration the illness as a factor in determining the sentence. As such, they do not recognize that the prisoner is not in a position to control his behavior due to mental illness. The prison officers are also reluctant to include considerations of illness as a factor in disciplinary hearings. They see this as providing an excuse for the misconduct of prisoners.

Thank you for your very thoughtful reply, Kevin. I do appreciate it and the content of what you wrote. We all have some cross to bear. I understand your feeling about the friend of your son. I never thought I was depressed until I found out that wanting to die was not “normal.” And I learned a lot in therapy about my so-called “normal.” In fact, I would not have gone to therapy at all until I hit bottom and had a “breakdown.” Part of it is what one is surrounded by– family, friends, etc. But comparisons are insidious and none of us walks in the other’s shoes so you’re right.

One of the reasons that it is so hard to obtain help for the mentally ill is that if a person does not realize that he or she is mentally ill or having a breakdown then that person does not ask for help. A family member or friend can obtain help for their loved one if the family member or friend is able to prove that the mentally ill person is a danger to his or her self or to society. If a person that is mentally ill tries to kill themselves then they will be placed in a mentally institution for a brief period and then released. A person can only be held for up to three days unless he or she has been ordered by a court of law to stay for a longer period. (Rights for Individuals, 2004)

Depression is a mental health condition which is widely recognised as one of the most common conditions for which people seek and receive care. There are many specific nursing problems which are encompassed by the medical term “depression” and these include physical, cognitive and behavioural patterns. Successful treatments of depression are psychosocial interventions which aim to identify and challenge a depressed persons pessimistic attitudes and beliefs and which promote an individuals’ participation in rewarding activities in an attempt to reduce any negative behaviours. The aim of this essay is to identify specific nursing problems which are encompassed by the term “depression” and relate these to a patient whom the author had met whilst out on clinical placement who had been given a medical diagnosis of depression. It is also the aim of this essay to discuss different psychosocial interventions and how effective these are in assisting a patient in their road to recovery.

Depression is a serious mental health illness which affects an individuals’ mind, body and mood. It is a chronic and lifelong health condition (NICE, 2006) thought to be caused by a number of biological factors including neurotransmitter disturbances in the brain and an element of genetic vulnerability; these are often in addition to psychosocial factors such as the occurrence of undesirable life events, limited social network options, poor self esteem and the occurrence of any adverse life events during a persons’ lifetime (Bernstein, 2006). Depression can have an impact on a persons’ ability to do many things including working, engaging with others, participating fully in family life or maintaining relationships, and it can also impact on a person...


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...logy: Neuroscientific Bases and Practical Applications” 2nd Edition, New York, Cambridge University Press.

Videbeck SL (2004) “Nursing Care Plan: Depression” Psychiatric Mental Health Nursing, Third Edition, page 325-326

Whooly MA & Simon GE (2000) “Managing Depression in Medical Outpatients” New England Journal of Medicine, 343 (26) page 1942-1949

Wilkin P & Baker P (2004) “The Craft of Caring” Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, Arnold Press, London page 26-33

Wilkinson P, Kelvin R, Roberts C, Dubika B, Goodyer I (2011) “Clinical & Psychosocial Predictors of Suicide Attempts and Nonsuicidal Self-Injury in the Adolescents Depression, Anti-Depressants & Psychotherapy Trial (ADAPT)” The American Journal of Psychiatry 168(5) page 495-501

- first accessed 24/05/2011

, first accessed 24/05/2011
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Essay on mental illness

essay on mental illness

One of the reasons that it is so hard to obtain help for the mentally ill is that if a person does not realize that he or she is mentally ill or having a breakdown then that person does not ask for help. A family member or friend can obtain help for their loved one if the family member or friend is able to prove that the mentally ill person is a danger to his or her self or to society. If a person that is mentally ill tries to kill themselves then they will be placed in a mentally institution for a brief period and then released. A person can only be held for up to three days unless he or she has been ordered by a court of law to stay for a longer period. (Rights for Individuals, 2004)

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