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Mental Health Use this forum to share your mental health concerns and to seek advice.

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davidmorgan Offline
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What makes something a mental health issue as opposed to a regular health issue that involves the br - January 14th 2011, 03:19 AM

For instance, epilepsy is not considered a "mental health" problem even though it's something that's happening in the brain. Schizophrenia has to do with brain chemicals, but it's a mental health issue.


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Re: What makes something a mental health issue as opposed to a regular health issue that involves th - January 14th 2011, 06:09 AM

Hi David,

I would consider Epilepsy is a mental health issue...any problems involving the brain and/or its function CAN be labelled as a mental health issue. Although that said, I'm not sure what you're trying to ask here, maybe you should clarify it?
   
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Re: What makes something a mental health issue as opposed to a regular health issue that involves th - January 14th 2011, 07:32 AM

I'm finishing my Honours Bachelor's in the area of neuroscience so I'll try to answer this for you.

If I'm understanding your question correctly, you're asking what separates psychological/psychiatric disorders from other disorders of the brain. The answer is a bit confusing at first but hopefully I can explain it without convoluting it too much. Psychiatry and psychology study behaviour, which generally involves personality, cognition and perception. Epilepsy, unless extremely severe, does not grossly affect these, whereas schizophrenia does. Psychiatry and psychology both acknowledge behaviours come from various sources including the brain, however, it does not traditionally study the brain or general health.

I put "traditionally" in bolded and underlined because the field of neuroscience includes both neurology and psychology, where both study the brain however, their focuses on what they study differs. For neuropsychology, the goal is to study cognition, personality and perception, all things that influence behaviour whereas neurology studies the neural mechanisms of how the brain works without the goal of understanding behaviour.

This is a bit confusing to understand at first so the best way to explain this difference is with an example. Neuropsychology would study the frontal lobes to understand decision-making, memory, social cognition, problem-solving, etc... whereas neurology would study the frontal lobes to understand overall functional neuroanatomy and neurochemistry. Neuropsychology does examine neuroanatomy, functional neuroanatomy and neurochemistry but it's all directed towards aspects of behaviour.

Epilepsy and schizophrenia both do affect "mental health" but in different ways according to their fields of study.


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