Mental Illness vs Neurological Disorder



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Ellingtonia
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Mon Jan 21, 2013 7:10 pm

I've heard a few people say, some quite passionately, that autism is not a mental illness, it is a neurological disorder. This confuses me a little as I have always seen these terms as relatively interchangeable. What do you think is the difference between a mental illness and a neurological disorder?

I'd prefer not to get off topic, at least to start, so please note that I am not asking whether autism is a mental illness or a neurological disorder, I don't want to get into a debate about that right now. I want to hear people's definitions of the two terms and what people think separates the two.



nessa238
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Mon Jan 21, 2013 7:24 pm

Ellingtonia wrote:
I've heard a few people say, some quite passionately, that autism is not a mental illness, it is a neurological disorder. This confuses me a little as I have always seen these terms as relatively interchangeable. What do you think is the difference between a mental illness and a neurological disorder?

I'd prefer not to get off topic, at least to start, so please note that I am not asking whether autism is a mental illness or a neurological disorder, I don't want to get into a debate about that right now. I want to hear people's definitions of the two terms and what people think separates the two.


neurological disorder implies a problem with the functioning or wiring of the brain whereas mental illness can often be linked more with a person having disordered thinking ie it's less to do with an actual physical problem with the brain operation.

There's an actual physical problem that can be seen on a scan etc with neurological disorders but mental illnesses can be all in the thoughts and therefore no physical proof can be found in the brain.

Also I wouldn't term Aspergers a neurological disorder - it's a neurological difference as far as I'm concerned



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Mon Jan 21, 2013 7:30 pm

nessa238 wrote:
Ellingtonia wrote:
I've heard a few people say, some quite passionately, that autism is not a mental illness, it is a neurological disorder. This confuses me a little as I have always seen these terms as relatively interchangeable. What do you think is the difference between a mental illness and a neurological disorder?

I'd prefer not to get off topic, at least to start, so please note that I am not asking whether autism is a mental illness or a neurological disorder, I don't want to get into a debate about that right now. I want to hear people's definitions of the two terms and what people think separates the two.


neurological disorder implies a problem with the functioning or wiring of the brain whereas mental illness can often be linked more with a person having disordered thinking ie it's less to do with an actual physical problem with the brain operation.

There's an actual physical problem that can be seen on a scan etc with neurological disorders but mental illnesses can be all in the thoughts and therefore no physical proof can be found in the brain.

Also I wouldn't term Aspergers a neurological disorder - it's a neurological difference as far as I'm concerned


There is typically not a clear physical problem, also many mental disorders involve a lot more than disordered thinking.


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rapidroy
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Mon Jan 21, 2013 7:33 pm

Neurological Disorder, my mind is perfectly sane its just that all those wonderful thoughts are processed through a Commodore 64 in an intel world.



Rascal77s
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Mon Jan 21, 2013 7:35 pm

rapidroy wrote:
Neurological Disorder, my mind is perfectly sane its just that all those wonderful thoughts are processed through a Commodore 64 in an intel world.


Hey, at least you'll never get a virus.



nessa238
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Mon Jan 21, 2013 7:37 pm

Sweetleaf wrote:
nessa238 wrote:
Ellingtonia wrote:
I've heard a few people say, some quite passionately, that autism is not a mental illness, it is a neurological disorder. This confuses me a little as I have always seen these terms as relatively interchangeable. What do you think is the difference between a mental illness and a neurological disorder?

I'd prefer not to get off topic, at least to start, so please note that I am not asking whether autism is a mental illness or a neurological disorder, I don't want to get into a debate about that right now. I want to hear people's definitions of the two terms and what people think separates the two.


neurological disorder implies a problem with the functioning or wiring of the brain whereas mental illness can often be linked more with a person having disordered thinking ie it's less to do with an actual physical problem with the brain operation.

There's an actual physical problem that can be seen on a scan etc with neurological disorders but mental illnesses can be all in the thoughts and therefore no physical proof can be found in the brain.

Also I wouldn't term Aspergers a neurological disorder - it's a neurological difference as far as I'm concerned


There is typically not a clear physical problem, also many mental disorders involve a lot more than disordered thinking.


As far as I personally am concerned there's definitely a problem with aspects of my brain functioning and connectivity.
This is not the same as a person e.g. developing a personality disorder due to being neglected or abused in childhood in my opinion.

I always feel resentful when Aspergers is lumped in with Mental Ill Health as I've had it from birth and it wasn't even picked up until I was 34 so I was functioning more or less normally with it or not sufficiently differently for anyone to notice!



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Mon Jan 21, 2013 7:46 pm

Ellingtonia wrote:
I've heard a few people say, some quite passionately, that autism is not a mental illness, it is a neurological disorder. This confuses me a little as I have always seen these terms as relatively interchangeable. What do you think is the difference between a mental illness and a neurological disorder?

I'd prefer not to get off topic, at least to start, so please note that I am not asking whether autism is a mental illness or a neurological disorder, I don't want to get into a debate about that right now. I want to hear people's definitions of the two terms and what people think separates the two.


It's an interesting question, because research has found a genetic link between autism and both bi-polar and schizophrenia which are mental illnesses.


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Sweetleaf
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Mon Jan 21, 2013 7:47 pm

nessa238 wrote:
Sweetleaf wrote:
nessa238 wrote:
Ellingtonia wrote:
I've heard a few people say, some quite passionately, that autism is not a mental illness, it is a neurological disorder. This confuses me a little as I have always seen these terms as relatively interchangeable. What do you think is the difference between a mental illness and a neurological disorder?

I'd prefer not to get off topic, at least to start, so please note that I am not asking whether autism is a mental illness or a neurological disorder, I don't want to get into a debate about that right now. I want to hear people's definitions of the two terms and what people think separates the two.


neurological disorder implies a problem with the functioning or wiring of the brain whereas mental illness can often be linked more with a person having disordered thinking ie it's less to do with an actual physical problem with the brain operation.

There's an actual physical problem that can be seen on a scan etc with neurological disorders but mental illnesses can be all in the thoughts and therefore no physical proof can be found in the brain.

Also I wouldn't term Aspergers a neurological disorder - it's a neurological difference as far as I'm concerned


There is typically not a clear physical problem, also many mental disorders involve a lot more than disordered thinking.


As far as I personally am concerned there's definitely a problem with aspects of my brain functioning and connectivity.
This is not the same as a person e.g. developing a personality disorder due to being neglected or abused in childhood in my opinion.

I always feel resentful when Aspergers is lumped in with Mental Ill Health as I've had it from birth and it wasn't even picked up until I was 34 so I was functioning more or less normally with it or not sufficiently differently for anyone to notice!


If that was a factor in the development of ones personality disorder than it could lead to neurological problems, mental illnesses do not nessisarily lack a neurological difference.in fact most evidence I've heard of indicates otherwise. I never denied there where problems with your brain functioning and connectivity.


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Dillogic
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Mon Jan 21, 2013 8:08 pm

Semantics.

Mental illness usually has treatment available and that it's not usually there since birth. But, they find that the mental illnesses are often heredity too.

So, semantics.



idratherbeatree
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Mon Jan 21, 2013 8:23 pm

Mental Illness revolves around the slowly failing paradigm of "The Psyche", or the "Mind". Rather than view behavior as a neurological construct it sees an element of humanity removed from the physical function, and instead a result of an individuals "Psyche."

This is part of the reason why there are so few people with "Mental Illnesses" that get better. Mental Illnesses are constructs resulting from a societal belief in what is normal. Autism was seen as a result of a damaged Psyche, rather than a neurological difference. Since Neuro-Psychiatry began emerging, and the use of modern Psychoactive Drugs, we know that Autism, Schizophrenia, Bi-Polar Disorder, Depression, Tourette's Syndrome, Anxiety, OCD, Schizoid/Schizotypal, Dissociative Disorders, and even Placebo reactions are a result of a Neurological situation, and are often genetic. We know that the way we are brought up actually changes our brain structure.

I honestly do not believe in "Mental Illness" anymore. One of the things I've been thinking about quite a lot lately is how these disorders look in the animal world. Many "Mental" disorders exist in a way we can identify in other species. (This is especially true for OCD.) Making me further doubt them as a result of psychological difficulties.


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Mon Jan 21, 2013 8:38 pm

I do not think there is a strict division between neurological disorder and mental illness.

I suspect as neuropsychology becomes more of a thing there'll be more blurring of the lines.

Also I think I agree with idratherbeatree.



Dreycrux
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Mon Jan 21, 2013 9:02 pm

It's a developmental disorder, with changes in brain structure. A neurological "difference" is simply a personal and emotional definition.

A lot is unknown about the physical changes to the brain with other mental disorders and illness. Most of the evidence gained points to a physical cause and are not just a matter of disorders of thinking.



schizoid26
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Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:06 am

I think every mental illness can be boiled down to a problem in the brain, we just don't have the ability to find problems on that deep of a neurological level yet.



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Tue Jan 22, 2013 8:27 am

schizoid26 wrote:
I think every mental illness can be boiled down to a problem in the brain, we just don't have the ability to find problems on that deep of a neurological level yet.


Yes, I see it the same, but I still think there is a bit a difference of a trauma or Tourette's for example.
In a trauma you can also notice differences in the brain that occour of the psychological shock and so on, but those happened because you experienced something terrible. Whereas Tourette's for example, you just have and there can't be found a psychological reason like bad parenting for example.

I see autism and many others, like Tourette's or dyslexia etc. mostly as neuropsychiatric disorders. So as in between neurology and psychiatry. But in the end there is one spectrum between neurology and psychiatry.

I see most of my disorders as neuropsychiatric (also bipolar, eventhough I know many don't), but when I had a psychiatric shock once myself it was different. There was a very specific reason that happened to me I was suffering from.


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Ettina
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Tue Jan 22, 2013 9:03 am

Quote:
I've heard a few people say, some quite passionately, that autism is not a mental illness, it is a neurological disorder. This confuses me a little as I have always seen these terms as relatively interchangeable. What do you think is the difference between a mental illness and a neurological disorder?


I disagree. Autism is not a neurological disorder. A neurological disorder, in my opinion, is a condition with a clearly identifiable neurological abnormality, that is diagnosed by in some way observing the brain directly. Something like hydrocephalus, or cerebellar atrophy, agenesis of the corpus callosum or epilepsy. Neurological disorders are not diagnosed by observing behavior, but by doing medical tests involving the brain.

I don't consider autism a mental illness, either. To me, mental illness is a state, not a trait. By which I mean that a mental illness is something that gets better and worse, and can appear or disappear completely. For example, depression or psychosis are episodic.

The technical term for the category autism falls into is 'neurodevelopmental disorder'. This means a condition that is present from birth or early childhood, and is presumed to have a neurobiological cause, but is not due to a readily identifiable abnormality in the majority of cases.

However, the distinction between neurodevelopmental disorder and mental illness can be fuzzy at times. Schizophrenia, for example, often straddles the border. The classic syndrome typically appears in adolescence or early adulthood with an acute psychotic episode, which can be brought under control but may recur. However, most people also have some symptoms which linger between episodes. And there is evidence that many also have subtle differences before their first acute psychotic episode, most often schizotypal personality disorder, or sometimes learning disabilities, introversion or autistic traits. So, although schizophrenia is typically called a mental illness, a good argument could be made that it might be a neurodevelopmental disorder instead.

However, most people who insist that autism is not a mental illness probably aren't thinking about the science of it. Instead, they're just trying to avoid the stigma that the term 'mental illness' is associated with. (Which is not a good reason to avoid a label, as Amanda Baggs points out. The stigma is wrong whether or not you have a mental illness.)



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