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What makes something a mental health issue as opposed to a regular health issue that involves the brain?

For instance, epilepsy is not considered a “mental health” problem even though it’s something that’s happening in the brain. Schizophrenia has to do with brain chemicals, but it’s a mental health issue.

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8 Responses to “What makes something a mental health issue as opposed to a regular health issue that involves the brain?”

  1. ~~Birdy~~ said :


    I have wondered the same thing as my bipolar is clearly a medical issue and I respond well and quickly to medication. “Therapy” would do me absolutely no good since the problem is clearly chemical. Not only that, but the mood stabilizer I take is also used to treat epilepsy as well (and was originally designed to treat it)

    So… why the distinction between the two, since they both involve the brain? Oh, and MRIs of Schizophrenic patients DO show abnormalities, so I don’t understand why it’s not considered a brain disease, rather than a mental disorder.

    Again, very interesting question and one I have been meaning to ask myself because of the stigma of mental illness. Why not epilepsy too? Some forms of epilepsy include seizures that disorient the individual (no convulsions, just staring into space) and cause mood changes as well. There are so many different types of seizures, yet they are not considered a mental illness.

  2. letterstoheather said :

    mental illness can skew a person’s clarity of thinking, and they may say or do things which are inappropriate from time to time. it’s not purposeful, they can’t help it….

  3. warrior_soul said :

    It’s a thought process differentiation. If it affects how a person acts due to thoughts beyond their control there is possibly a chemical imbalance causing this to occur. There is also the need for behavioural retraining to teach the brain how to think positively, and not obsessively about things. That is the fine difference. They are both problems with the brain but one is actually neurological crossing the brain half barrier and the other is a chemical imbalance that effects thought and behaviour. Epileptics don’t believe things that are untrue like aliens are trying to steal your dog in your back yard and suck your brain. schizophrenics do.

  4. samantha d said :

    Most mental illnesses are considered ‘brain’ issues as they involve irregularities in the functioning of the brain. Hence, the medications and treatments. It has also been recognized that all these conditions also have accompanying behavioral and emotional components hence they are also mental health issues.
    Epilepsy is not considered by itself a mental illness because it involves misfiring in the brain but by itself does not have a direct emotional or social behavioral effect. Having said that dealing with epilepsy can be stressful and cause damage to the brain and psyche some of which are manifest as mental illness. Many persons live successfully as epileptics w/o dealing with mental illness.

  5. Mad Mac said :

    Mental illness is all about behavior as reported subjectively by a patient. It is not a physical, systemic, organic disorder. No mental health disorder has ever been shown to be due to a chemical imbalance or to be genetic. That is all “hogwash” by psychiatrists that “go where the money is”. See for the truth about mental illness. Epilepsy etc. are disorders with a true organic brain disorder.

  6. Cookie said :

    Great point! Maybe if they were treated equally some of the discrimination against those with mental illness would ease. And there are many physical illnesses whose causes have never been determined so the idea that mental illness does not really exist is ridiculous (not that medication is always the answer).

  7. huh? said :

    According to NAMI (national alliance on mental illness) : mental illnesses are medical conditions that disrupt a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to other and affect daily functioning

  8. Wes Lyke said :

    Wow, what a nice share, thanks.


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