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Anxiety disorders panic disorder obsessive-compulsive disorder Depression bipolar disorder Personality disorders Post-traumatic stress disorder Phsychosis schizophrenia

What is it with all those "disorders"?

How can anyone put labels on something so complex?

Is it not really just the human condition?

Does it not really boil down to that age old thing. Shyness? Shyness can range from a little timid, to outright social anxiety. It can ruin peoples lives and lead to all types of negative feelings and emotions. Or, it can just be something that slightly inhibits them in certain situations?

But do all those different labels that we give people even exist? Is there any proof that those disorders actually exist? Is it not quite simply a case, of this is how the human condition is effecting this individual, and it really does all boil down to the one root cause? Shyness.

What are the roots of mental illness?

Illustration by Paweł Jońca

Researchers are also drastically rethinking theories of how our brains go wrong. The idea that mental illness can be classified into distinct, discrete categories such as ‘anxiety’ or ‘psychosis’ has been disproved to a large extent. Instead, disorders shade into each other, and there are no hard dividing lines Nature.com

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Mental illness and personality disorders refer to habitual patterns of thought and behaviour that are detrimental to the individual. Such behaviours typically isolate the individual from others, compounding the detrimental thoughts and behaviours over time. A range of common and detrimental patterns of thoughts and behaviour have been observed. Such detrimental patterns of behaviour have been labeled as disorders and include: conduct, bipolar, general anxiety, and many others. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual specifies the criterion for each of these disorders.

To answer your questions:

  1. How can anyone put labels on something so complex? Psychologists and psychiatrists seek to identify common patterns of behaviour. Why these patterns of behaviour exist remains unclear, however, scientists are working hard to find out.

  2. Is it not really just the human condition? Yes and No. Everyone feels anxiety, depression, sadness, loneliness from time to time. The feeling of these emotions for a protracted period is not normal and may be harmful to the individual. For example, it is common to feel lonely after a relationship breakdown, however, the loneliness typically abates over time. For some individuals, the loneliness persists for many years which may be harmful.

  3. Does it not really boil down to that age old thing. Shyness? We all feel shy from time to time. Individuals with extreme and debilitating shyness for many years will suffer isolation and may develop other disorders.

  4. But do all those different labels that we give people even exist? They exist in the sense that common patterns of thought and behaviour are observed. The reason why these common patterns exist remains an area of active research.

  5. Does all boil down to the one root cause? Shyness That is an interesting theory, however, it seem overly simplistic and incomplete. Shyness would certainly not explain the schizoid, mania and conduct related personality disorders.

  6. What are the roots of mental illness? Great question ... there are many theories but the brain seems to be unwilling to give up its secrets easily.

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