With increasing progress in the medical sciences, and especially psychology and sociology, our society is at an opportune time to turnaround the dark history of stigmatization associated with mental illnesses. Yet, while physicians try to understand the workings of the brain, many of its functions still remain a mystery. Even at the most advanced research laboratories, the abnormal functioning of the brain is only understood at a theoretical level, without any concrete evidence to substantiate it. But what is important though is that there is a consensus within the medical community that most psychiatric illnesses are induced to physiological (or organic) causes. To this extent, they are on par with physical illnesses like cancer and tuberculosis. Hence, the sufferers should be treated just like the physically afflicted get treated. This thesis is one of the most important one to have emerged in medical sciences over the last decade or so. It is hoped that a wider awareness of this new sociological understanding of mental illnesses will pave the way for a more tolerant society (Lieberman, 2007).
“It is sometimes easy to forget that our brain, like all of our other organs, is vulnerable to disease. People with mental illnesses often exhibit many types of behaviors such as extreme sadness and irritability, and in more severe cases, they may also suffer from hallucinations and total withdrawal. Instead of receiving compassion and acceptance, people with mental illnesses may experience hostility, discrimination, and stigma.” (Coker, 2005)
An effort to raise awareness among people about the facts about mental illnesses will go a long way in alleviating the suffering of millions of affected individuals.
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