The Meaning of Mental Illness and Disorder

A while back, I read an online essay by David B. Feldman, titled: “Is Mental Illness Real?” The subtitle reads: “Some psychologists argue calling emotional difficulties ‘illnesses’ is nonsense.” I have been thinking a lot about the concept of mental illness and wanted to engage this piece, as a way into debates about the meaning of mental illness and disorder. My primary focus here is the issue of mental health diagnosis: what does it really tell us? I am also choosing to focus on the more common mental illnesses – roughly, anxiety and depression – as I believe there are important differences between these, and other disorders that are perhaps more biologically defined (e.g. neurocognitive disorders, Schizophrenia, etc.). Diagnosis: Causal… read more →