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Sydni White

February 7th, 2015


UWRIT 1102-008
Exploratory Paper
What Should Be Considered a Mental Disorder?
Often times within the community of psychologists and people who have been
diagnosed with a mental disorder, the issue of whether or not certain conditions are considered to
be classified as a mental disorder is brought up. Many people feel that anything that somewhat
alters the perception you have of yourself or that alters someones perception as the world as a
whole should be classified as a mental disorder. There are some people that feel that certain
disorders such as anxiety disorders (General anxiety, Social anxiety, etc.), and Depression are not
really mental disorders since according to those people, it does not really hinder many daily
activities. The issue with this perception is that what could be considered to be daily activities
to someone else, might not be the same daily activities for another person coping with the mental
disorder. Someones depression or social anxiety for example could hinder that person from
doing a lot of things that are considered small daily activities such as going to work or school, or
speaking in front of people, and other things of that nature. Determining what is really
considered to be mental disorder is not a long process, but definitely trying to diagnose someone
who seems to show symptoms of having a mental disorder could be difficult within itself.
Mainly, the reason why people are coming out and saying that some conditions should
not be classified as a mental disorder is because lately, there has been an increase in the number
of people who have been diagnosed with disorders such as anxiety disorders, depression, eating
disorders, and other things of that nature because of a number of factors that vary in nature and

direction (Hfner, 1985). Essentially, because of the way society is now and the way things are in
the world, more and more people are beginning to suffer more with mental disorders. Because of
this increase in diagnoses, a lot of people are becoming more aware of what mental disorders are
and how they can affect someones entire life and why that person was diagnosed with whatever
mental disorder they have. Since mental disorders are becoming more of a topic within more
discussions, a lot of people are taking interest in the topic, including myself. I have not been
diagnosed with a mental disorder, and for many people like me, there is at least one person that I
know of that has been diagnosed with a mental disorder and would like to know more about
mental disorders in general. Typically, people like me feel like anything that alters your
perception of things should be considered a mental disorder, and that no ones feelings about
themselves or the world should be considered invalid. Also, psychologists, psychiatrists, and
people who have been diagnosed with mental disorders are involved with this debate. The
position between psychologists, psychiatrists, and the person with the actual disorder varies.
There are some professionals in the field who feel like only certain conditions are really
considered to be mental disorders, and some who have the same position as people like me who
feel that whatever alters your perception is should be classified as a mental disorder.
The first perspective, the idea that anything that alters your perception should be
classified as a mental disorder is one that many people seem to share. The people that share this
idea far outweigh the people that oppose this idea. The main argument for this view of the issue
is that according to one of the sources, anything that changes someones behavior, feelings, or
thinking should be considered a mental disorder (Mental Health: Whats Normal, whats not).
Although sometimes, it is hard to tell whether or not someone could be coping with a mental

disorder based off of these symptoms, because that person may not always display a change in
their behavior, feelings, or thinking while you are around them.
The opposing perspective is that even though someone might display changes in their
behavior, feelings, or thinking, it does not necessarily mean that that person is dealing with a
mental disorder. Someones changes in behavior, feelings, or thinking could just be essentially a
part of human nature (Kinderman, 2013). Kinderman explains in his article that Psychiatric
diagnoses are not only scientifically invalid, they are harmful too. The language of illness
implies that the roots of such emotional distress lie in abnormalities in our brain and biology,
usually known as chemical imbalances. Which in turn leads us to be blind to the social and
psychological causes of distress. Kinderman also argues that we tend to prescribe medical
solutions despite significant side effects and poor evidence of their effectiveness. So, the main
argument as to why certain people feel that some conditions should not be considered a mental
disorder is because professionals could essentially be using someones diagnoses as a benefit to
their practice. Many people feel that a lot of people are being diagnosed with a mental disorder in
order to keep the psychiatric business going.
After looking at both sides of the issue at hand, I do feel that now I am on both sides of the
fence. I do feel that some medical professionals are using some peoples diagnoses of a mental
disorder as a benefit to their practice, which is completely wrong, and goes against health ethics,
but we see it every day and it is very common. At the same time though, I do feel like peoples
feelings about whether they have a mental disorder or not should not be invalidated by someone
else. Going through certain emotions and changes is in fact a part of human nature, but many
people experience it differently, and some people do need some type of intervention. From
researching the issue, it can be concluded that this is an ongoing issue, and it will most likely be

continued to be discussed in later discussions by health professionals and people interested in the
subject at hand.

Works Cited
Hfner H.
Psychopathology. 1985;18(2-3):66-81.
PMID: 4059492 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

Watters, Ethan. "The Americanization of Mental Illness." The New York Times. The New York
Times, 09 Jan. 2010. Web. 07 Feb. 2015.

"Adult Health." Mental Health: What's Normal, What's Not. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Feb. 2015.

Kinderman, Peter. "'Grief and Anxiety Are Not Mental Illnesses'" BBC News., 17 Jan. 2013.
Web. 07 Feb. 2015.

Grohol, John M. "What Is Depression If Not a Mental Illness?" PsychCentral.com. N.p., n.d.
Web. 07 Feb. 2015.