Jacob cannot remember the last time he smiled. He has had electroconvulsive shock therapy to his brain three different times and has been so depressed he couldn’t find a reason to get out of bed. He easily becomes weary and washed-out from doing simple daily tasks, such as getting the mail or making breakfast for himself. Jacob cannot remember the last time he felt the jump in his heart from being happy. He can’t even remember the last time he actually felt an emotion pass through his thoughts. Jacob has Major Depressive Disorder. Some individuals believe Jacob is making it up because they never were properly educated on the matter. Jacob’s life has been controlled by his depression, yet others believe he should just get over it.

Many people believe emotional and mental disorders are a hoax. Because the public’s beliefs of treatment of emotional disorders are mostly negative, the consequence is some people suffering from an emotional disorder are more likely not to seek medical help for some form of treatment. A person suffering from an emotional disorder, such as depression, often seeks the reassurance to get help from someone else, typically someone close to them emotionally (Jorm, A. F.). There are some doctors who believe the definition of a mental illness should be broad enough to cover milder conditions as well as more severe ones. Other experts on the topic think the term “mental illness” should be reserved for the most extreme cases, so that society will take those specific cases more seriously (Carey). “Despite increasing openness about mental illness the public tends to be skeptical of any prevalent numbers over a few percent” (Carey). The previously stated quote refers to the idea that even though people talk about emotional disorders more today than ever before, a majority of the public still doubt the idea of emotional disorders being real. There are various individuals who do not understand the depth that an emotional disorder takes on somebody. The general public thinks people suffering from an emotional disorder should just get over it. There are people who are not properly educated on the subject of emotional disorders and do not believe that the disorders are real. A 2005 report guessed that over half the population of Americans would develop some sort of mental or emotional disorder within their lifetime (Carey). The majority of people that do not live with someone dealing with an emotional disorder think emotional disorders are falsified. The average person cannot recognize a specific emotional disorder accurately (Jorm, A. F.). “For example, when a representative sample of the Australian public was shown vignettes of a person suffering from major depression or schizophrenia, most recognized that there was some sort of mental health problem but depression was correctly used as the label by only 39% and schizophrenia by 27% (Jorm et al, 1997a). For the depression vignette, 11% thought the person had a physical disorder” (Jorm, A. F.). There are various people, who do not believe in emotional disorders that say everyone has bad days, and what that person is going through is not any different. Emotional disorders are real, and this fact should not be controversial.

There are many different emotional disorders which are referred to as diseases of the mind (“Mental Disorders”). Anxiety is defined as unceasing worry that is excessive and quite unnecessary (Anxiety Disorders). The five types of anxiety are: panic disorders, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and phobias. Generalized Anxiety Disorder is where a person is consumed with fears and worry. Someone suffering from GAD would lay awake at night for hours, afraid that he or she forgot to do a homework assignment that was due the next day, despite the fact the person knew he or she had already completed the homework earlier that day.

A different emotional disorder is Major Depressive Disorder which is displayed very differently amongst people suffering from it. Depression is one of two mood disorders that cause a lack of interest, energy, and feeling. A smaller, less drastic form of Major Depressive Disorder is Dysthymic Disorder (Merker). Dysthymic Disorder, also known as Dysthymia is where a person’s mood is regularly lower than the average person’s. The other mood disorder is known as bipolar, in which the person typically bounces between two drastic moods (“Mental Disorders”). Unipolar is rather one-sided, where someone becomes stuck in a specific mood or emotion for a long period of time. Schizophrenia is intense paranoia that becomes out of control and alters who the person is. The last prominent emotional disorder is Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, in which someone has excessive energy all the time. This causes the person to have a lack of focus, and makes him or her more prone to doing something reckless and impulsive (“Mental Disorders”).

Someone who has an emotional disorder is classified as either under-aroused or over-aroused. When someone is under or over aroused the person’s nervous system’s responses are slow or too fast (“Behavior Disorders/Emotional Disturbances”). When someone is under-aroused he or she typically has a lack of energy and a high pain tolerance. Conversely, when someone is over-aroused, it is just the opposite; the person would become jittery, have jumpy energy, and would have a low pain tolerance. Notably, these do translate to physical symptoms caused by the emotional disorder (“Behavior Disorders/Emotional Disturbances”). When someone is over-aroused they typically have too much energy, sometimes known as nervous energy. When someone is over aroused they have some symptoms like: restless sleep and grinding teeth (“Behavior Disorders/Emotional Disturbances”). Someone that has anxiety and is over-aroused may come across as being impulsive or having ADHD because they are so full of energy all of the time. Whether you are over or under-aroused does not dissuade to being exhausted. Someone living with depression would be tired and exhausted from doing what is considered very little to someone else without an emotional disorder. There are some cases where a depressed patient sleeps close to twelve hours a day from being so drained from what others would consider a normal day (“Behavior Disorders/Emotional Disturbances”).

Someone with an emotional disorder has different brain functions than a person without an emotional disorder. The “Big Five” are five extreme personality traits that every person with an emotional disorder has (Understanding and Supporting). People with an emotional disorder are more susceptible to bad behavior as a child. If someone has an emotional disorder they process things differently than someone without an emotional disorder. Emotional disorders hold people back and are much more likely to keep a person from fulfilling their potential. Someone suffering from an emotional disorder has a much harder time with the functions of basic living than someone without an emotional disorder. Somebody with an emotional disorder has to work harder to get to the emotional “point” that someone without an emotional disorder starts at. A person with an emotional disorder is held back because of their disorder and has a smaller chance of being successful in comparison to someone without an emotional disorder. This is because they are at such a drastic disadvantage mentally, physically, and emotionally, in comparison to someone without an emotional disorder, which restrains them from being triumphant and who they really could be.

A person who has lived with a patient that has an emotional disorder can agree that emotional disorders are life altering. Studies have shown that having an emotional disorder can affect how that individual learns. Doctors think that someone with an emotional disorder becomes so overwhelmed with the amount of material they are supposed to learn they become incapable of remembering it (Psychology and Mental Health). There was a test done on a group of people to see how different people respond to the exact same situation. Of the group of people, some of them had anxiety, and some of them had no emotional disorder (Williams). The people who were a part of the experiment were put in an unknown location and were given an unexpected timed test. The test required basic knowledge that everyone in the room was aware of (Williams). The conclusion of the test was that the people who suffer from anxiety struggled to focus more when there were unknown variables going on in their surroundings in comparison to the people without anxiety (Williams).

Someone with an emotional disorder struggles with the basics of living, let alone a job as well. A job requires the individual’s attention, determination, and hard work which are more difficult to obtain when you have an emotional disorder. More often than not, someone with an emotional disorder would have a tough time keeping focused at work, putting effort in at work, and staying ambitious about his or her job. Just the physical energy used to go to work wears that person out. Depending on where the person works that person uses a lot of emotional and or physical strength. A person with an emotional disorder would struggle more to complete given “tasks” at work because he or she is already exhausted before the individual even started working.

In conclusion there should be a change for people with emotional disorders. A large amount of people are inexperienced and ignorant in the area of emotional disorders. People should understand and respect a patient with an emotional disorder in the same way that people would respect and understand an individual with a physical handicap. Everyone needs to be educated to accept emotional disorders, and should be more knowledgeable about the topic. Some form of a psychology class should be a regulated subject, or section required in all middle schools and high schools in order to graduate. People should not shrug off emotional disorders, because it is a serious matter that is looked down upon with most people. Between nine and thirteen percent of children are diagnosed with some form of an emotional disorder between the ages of nine and seventeen (“Mental Disorders”). Everyone should have some knowledge of the subject as a way to understand everyone around you better. Another way to validate emotional disorders is to eliminate the controversy of emotional disorders on television. Different television shows publicize the doubt of emotional disorders being real. The show Law and Order: Special Victims Unit is a television show that displays emotional and mental disorders as a debatable and quite arguable topic. Some characters on that show specifically, are skeptical of the idea of emotional disorders being real. The overall acceptance of emotional disorders and mental disorders needs to be enhanced further than where it is today. Emotional disorders are real, and this fact should not be controversial.

3 Comments
  1. LydiaRJ 9 years ago

    This was my junior term paper. I had to take a more neutral role to write a good paper. And Jacob is my great uncle. After forty years of abuse he started shutting down and became this. So please don't be harsh because I didn't make up Jacob I witnessed it happening since I was a little girl

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  2. LydiaRJ 9 years ago

     I apologize. I overreacted. My uncle is very dear to me. He doesn't even talk anymore. His wife decided he was too much and sent him to a nursing home an hour away and never goes to see him.

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  3. LydiaRJ 9 years ago

     I’ve never heard him speak. I don’t even know what his voice sounds like. I’ve asked him questions and he has given up  on talking. He is just waiting to die, and especially right now I understand that feeling completely. 

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