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Problems of Mental Illness and Treatments Chapter 3.

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Presentation on theme: "Problems of Mental Illness and Treatments Chapter 3."— Presentation transcript:

1 Problems of Mental Illness and Treatments Chapter 3

2 Mental Illness as a Social Problem Until the mid part of the twentieth century many people who had physical problems were classified as mentally ill Social institutions are under strain in dealing with the enormity of the problem The severely mentally ill who cannot take care of themselves The social impact of deinstitutionalization

3 Perspectives on Mental Illness Interactionist perspective – focus is on the social construction of mental illness How definitions of “normal” and “deviant” behavior in social situations lead to definitions of mental illness Conflict perspective – focus is on how mental illness is associated with economic and social inequality in society

4 Perspectives on Mental Illness Functionalist perspective – focus is on how mental illness challenges our ability to provide effective treatment

5 Suicide and Mental Illness Suicide ranks third as the cause of death for young people Suicide second highest cause of death among college students Men and women report suicidal thoughts with the same frequency Young males are three times more likely to commit suicide than women

6 Suicide and Mental Illness Mental illness is a major contributor of suicide Half of those diagnosed with bipolar disorder will attempt suicide Depression and suicide Dementia among the elderly and suicide

7 The Social Construction of Mental Illness Defining Mental Illness Three different models of mental illness »1. Medical model and mental illness as a disease »2. Mental illness as deviance »3. Mental illness as a method by which governments define and control certain types of people

8 The Social Construction of Mental Illness The Medical Model Mental illness is a disease with biological causes Mental illness as a disease ignores the role of environment as a possible factor

9 The Social Construction of Mental Illness Mental Illness as Deviance Mental illness as a departure from social expectations within society Thomas Scheff – mental disorders as a form of residual deviance in society »Society labels and defines a behavior, person or condition as mental illness »Once labeled a person is offered the role

10 The Social Construction of Mental Illness Mental illness as problems with living Thomas Szasz – mental illness is a myth »Mental illness stems from unresolved conflicts with problems with living Thomas Szasz’s approach focuses on the issues of justice and freedom of those that are labeled mentally ill

11 The Social Construction of Mental Illness Social construction of mental illness focuses on all three approaches 1. Biological basis of mental illness 2. Mentally ill are often treated as deviants 3. Labeling someone mentally ill is often a convenient way for society to rid itself of those that are seen as socially undesirable

12 Classification of Mental Disorders American Psychiatric Association Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders »Affective Disorders »Anxiety Disorders »Somatoform disorders »Psychosexual disorders

13 Diagnosis or Label? Culture and the definition and classification of mental disorders »Just like some physical disorders are culturally defined so are mental disorders »Mental diagnoses often reflect the cultural values

14 Diagnosis or Label? There are three problems with labeling people mentally ill »1. We begin to perceive the behavior as sick rather than something to understand »2. Gives public agencies the right to incarcerate »3. Allows the mentally ill to see themselves as rule breakers and undesirable

15 Mental Illness Among Combatants in Afghanistan and Iraq Once called shell shock or combat fatigue, what is now known as post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is a severe problem in war, including the most recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

16 Inequality, Conflict, and Mental Illness Distinction between incidence and prevalence of mental disorders Conflict theory and mental health »Inequalities of wealth and power produce inequalities in access to effective treatment »Poverty and its relationship to stress and mental health

17 Social Class and Mental Disorder Rate of severe mental illness is higher among those with lower socioeconomic status Socioeconomic status as cause or effect of severe mental disability »Social stress hypothesis- stress of poverty as a cause of severe mental disability »Drift hypothesis – mental illness leads to a drift into poverty

18 Mental Disorder and Urban Life Urban environments and mental illness Household crowding is related to mental health »Objective crowding - number of persons per room »Subjective crowding - excessive demands and lack of privacy or space

19 Other Factors Race – social class is more salient than race in explaining mental illness »Higher rate of poverty among minorities Sex – overall rates for men and women are about the same Chesler’s study- gender roles and mental illness »Women that depart from traditional roles are more likely to be defined as ill

20 Other Factors Sex and mental illness Women have higher rates of depression Men have higher rates of personality disorders Age and mental illness In contrast to most severe and disabling diseases, mental illness begins early in life.

21 Institutional Problems of Treatment and Care Methods of Treatment Nonmedical Forms of Treatment Primary form of nonmedical treatment is talk therapy Psychotherapy Client-centered therapy Hypnosis

22 Methods of Treatment Medical Approaches to Treatment Psychotropic drug treatment and chemotherapy Shock treatment Psychosurgery

23 Changes in Mental-Health Treatment and Care Lack of treatment is one of the most persistent social problems associated with mental illnesses Despite an increase in the rate of treatment, most patients with a mental disorder do not receive treatment To effectively address the needs of people with mental disorders, a variety of institutions and approaches, all working together, are necessary

24 Treatment Institutions Mental Hospitals Nineteenth and early Twentieth century mental care meant being committed to a mental hospital Erving Goffman – Mental hospital as a total institution Rosenhan study – placement of pseudopatients in mental hospitals The sane patients could not be distinguished from the insane patients by the hospital staff

25 Treatment Institutions Community Psychology Community Mental Health Centers Construction Act of 1963 (halfway houses) Community psychology movement emerged from two directions »1. Social conditions and institutions need to be taken into account in treating the mentally ill »2. Psychologist and psychiatrists should play a role

26 Treatment Institutions Community Psychology Halfway houses are the mainstay of community based treatment Cost shifting and the subsidizing of mental health treatment Public vs. private forms of treatment

27 Deinstitutionalization and Homelessness Deinstitutionalization is a function of: »The discovery and use psychotropic drugs in treating mental illness »Expansion of federal health and welfare programs »Community based mental health approach

28 Deinstitutionalization and Homelessness Mentally ill among the homeless Thirty to sixty percent of the homeless are thought to suffer from severe mental disorders

29 Social Policy A central theme of the politics of mental illness is parity »Eliminating the discrimination that is inherent in insurance policies between physical illnesses and mental illnesses Policies of coordinating the efforts of treating the mentally ill Politics and patient rights


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