Sanctuary for the Abused
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Mental Illness and Irrationality
By Jay Krunszyinsky
Did you know that one out of every three people suffers from a mental illness? Do you struggle with panic attacks, social fears, emptiness, paranoid thoughts, or extreme highs and lows? As a child, did you grow up with anxiety, attention problems, depression, social interaction problems, developmental problems, extreme energy, or involuntary vocal or motor tics? Did you find yourself pushing others away when you really wanted them to get close to you? The important factor to remember is that many of these disorders cause the person to think irrationally and to hurt others in his relationships. Many times, people with psychiatric and developmental problems do not intend to hurt, nor do they recognize the hurt they cause.
You may be wondering what types of irrational thoughts can prevent a person suffering a mental or developmental disorder from gaining insight into the hurt that he may cause another per-son. Major depression is a very prevalent psychiatric illness in society and will serve as a good example. Do you know what thoughts, feelings, and actions are associated with this disorder? The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders,Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) is the manual used to classify mental and developmental disorders. The DSM-IV categorizes the thoughts of a depressed person as irrational.
A depressed person thinks that there is no way to solve his problems or to change his life circumstances. This is why a depressed person may have recurrent thoughts of death and suicide. His thoughts produce feelings of sadness, emptiness, fearfulness, worthlessness, and guilt. Some of the behaviors associated with depression include insomnia, diminished interest or pleasure in almost all activities, significant weight loss, and loss of energy each day. A person who possesses these thoughts, feelings, and behaviors will hurt other people in his relationships, though many times he will not recognize that he is doing so. This person will not communicate his problem with another person in a rational manner, nor will he look for ways to resolve his conflicts. This causes the other people in his relationships to also feel overwhelmed, helpless, and frustrated.
Many of the other psychiatric and developmental problems outlined in the DSM-IV involve irrational thoughts. People with schizophrenia experience delusions, or false beliefs. These beliefs, which are the results of their auditory and visual hallucinations, can range from paranoid thoughts that people are attempting to harm them to beliefs that they have special powers and abilities not based in reality.
Some adults and children with hyperactivity or mania think that their activities should provide constant stimulation and pleasure. They place their priorities on people, places, and events that are stimulating to them, which causes them to become disorganized and lose focus. People with various addictions obsessively think about their addicting activity. Many people with personality disorders do not think that others value or love them. They spend much of their time finding ways to make their irrational thoughts become self-fulfilling prophecies. Through their irrational belief that they are not valued or loved, they treat others poorly and set expectations that cannot be met for the other people in their relationships.
The antisocial person believes that he should be able to satisfy his needs and wants regardless of the social norms and laws of society.