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Mental Health: The Difference Between Mental Disorder and Mental Illness

Mental Health is an important thing for our life. Talking about mental health, the question often arises about the difference between “mental illness” and “mental disorder”. Although the terms mental illness and mental disorder are often used interchangeably, there are some key differences. Come on, understand more through the following review!

Mental Health

Mental Health: Understand the meaning of “disorder” and “illness”

The medical definition of “disorder” is any disturbance of the normal physical or mental health of the mind or body. This disorder is also referred to as chaos and can cause confusion or chaos.

For example, a person with an eating disorder or a personality disorder may be said to have a mental disorder.

However, the term itself is a bit outdated. This stems from earlier mental health understandings of the mind and brain when it was thought that mental disorders were related to the mind.

Today, we know that mental disorders are illnesses that affect the brain, not just the mind and can affect a person’s functioning.

On the other hand, the medical definition of “illness” is poor health due to body or mind. Meanwhile, the medical definition of “disease” is an abnormal condition of a part, organ, or system of an organism. This abnormal condition can be caused by infection, inflammation, environmental factors, or genetic defects. Disease is characterized by a group of symptoms or signs.

Before mental health was better understood, experts believed that the term “disorder” was more appropriate than “illness”. Once psychologists and scientists discovered that mental illness was a disease of the body, they began to use the term mental illness more broadly.

The main difference between mental disorder and mental illness is the origin of the condition. However, you will likely hear health professionals interchangeably use terms such as mental illness, mental disorder, and mental health.

Mental Health: The difference between mental disorder and mental illness by definition

The difference between mental illness and mental disorder can be dissected through their definitions. According to the American Heritage Stedman’s Medical Dictionary, a mental disorder refers to a disturbance of the normal physical or mental health of the mind.

Mental disorder is an outdated term that stems from previous understandings of mental health. While prior research was believed that mental disorders only impact the mind, today the medical community understands that mental disorders affect not only the mind and body, but also the brain and individual functions as a whole. Currently, mental illness or mental illness is used more broadly to describe a person’s mental well-being.

Mental illness refers to a range of health conditions that affect mood, thinking and behavior. Mental illness doesn’t just affect how we think and feel, it can also change how we interact with others.

Referring to the Big Indonesian Dictionary (KBBI), mental disorders or mental disorders are defined as “mental imbalances that result in abnormal attitudes or behavior” or “psychological illnesses that can hinder adjustment.

Meanwhile, mental illness is defined as “abnormal behavior that is categorized as severe enough to require psychiatric intervention.”

Many people experience mental health issues from time to time, but seeking help from a mental health professional when ongoing signs and symptoms begin often causes stress and affects your ability to function.

Types of mental illness and disorders

Reported by HealthyPlace, the following is a list of mental illnesses and mental disorders:

  • Acute stress disorder.
  • Agoraphobia.
  • Dissociative amnesia.
  • Anorexia nervosa.
  • Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
  • Bipolar disorder.
  • Body dysmorphic disorder.
  • Brief psychotic disorder.
  • Bulimia nervosa.
  • Conversion disorder.
  • cyclothymic disorder.
  • delusional disorder.
  • Depersonalization disorder.
  • Dissociative identity disorder.
  • Dysparnia.
  • Dysthymic disorder or dysthymia.
  • Erectile disorders.
  • Exhibitionism.
  • Fetishism.
  • Frotteurism.
  • Pathological gambling.
  • Gender identity disorder.
  • Generalized anxiety disorder.
  • hypoactive sexual desire disorder.
  • Hypochondriasis.
  • Impotence.
  • Intermittent explosive disorder.
  • Kleptomania.
  • Sexual masochism.
  • Major depressive disorder.
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder.
  • Disorders of female orgasm.
  • Disorders of the male orgasm.
  • Pain disorders.
  • Panic disorder.
  • Pedophilia.
  • Phobia.
  • Post traumatic stress disorder.
  • Premature ejaculation.
  • Pyromania.
  • Sexual sadism.
  • Schizophrenia.
  • Schizoaffective disorder.
  • schizophreniform.
  • Disorders of sexual arousal.
  • Sexual aversion disorder.
  • Joint psychotic disorder.
  • Somatization disorder.
  • Substance abuse.
  • Transvestic fetishism.
  • Trichotillomania.
  • Vaginismus.
  • Voyeurism.

Those are the types of mental illness that you should know. Hopefully one of them is not in us.

Diagnosis of mental illness and mental disorders

Diagnosis of a mental illness or mental disorder is a multi-step process that may involve more than one health care provider, often starting with a primary care doctor or general practitioner.

Physical evaluation

Before a diagnosis is made, you may need to have a physical exam to rule out possible causes for the physical condition. Some mental illnesses, such as depression and anxiety, can have physical causes. Thyroid problems and other physical ailments are also sometimes misdiagnosed as mental health disorders. Because of overlapping or similar symptoms; this is why a thorough physical examination is so important, to quote Verywell Mind.

The doctor will take a medical history and may order lab tests to rule out physical problems that could be causing the symptoms. If your doctor can’t find a physical cause for your symptoms, you’ll likely be referred to a mental health professional.

Psychological evaluation

A mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist, will ask you a series of questions regarding your symptoms and family history. They may even ask a family member to participate in the interview to provide a clearer picture.

Occasionally, a mental health professional will perform tests and other psychological evaluation tools to determine a proper diagnosis or help determine the severity of an illness. Most psychiatrists and psychologists use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) guidelines from the American Psychiatric Association.

The DSMs the most recent being the published in 2022 contain descriptions and symptoms for all the different mental illnesses. The manual also lists criteria such as which symptoms must be present, how many, and for how long (along with conditions that should not be present) to qualify for a particular diagnosis. These known as diagnostic criteria.

for someone to be diagnosed with more than one mental illness. Some conditions increase the risk of other disorders. For example, sometimes an anxiety disorder can develop into a depressive disorder. Up here, do you understand the difference between mental illness and mental disorder? Hope it is useful!

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