Distinguishing Mental Illness From Everyday Stress

Distinguishing Mental Illness From Everyday Stress

hi I’m dr. Stan Kuchar the Sun Life Financial chair and Adolescent Mental Health that iwk Health Center in da house University thanks for taking the time to listen I’m going to be talking a little bit about how can we differentiate a bad hair week from a mental disorder it’s a really important issue but before I get onto that I just want to talk about a phenomenon that we are seeing which is getting to be more prevalent and more concerning and that is the building relationship between the normal stresses of everyday life and the idea that any problem is a mental health problem that’s just not correct you know sometimes there are things that happen in life which give us negative emotions and give us pause and give us challenges that’s normal that is not a mental disorder we don’t need to medicalize things I hear kids talking oh my gosh I’ve been so traumatized Jane wore the same colored dress that I wore I’m traumatized they’re not traumatized they’re having a social challenge I hear my gosh my OCD is acting up they’re not talking about obsessive-compulsive disorder they’re talking about they’re very meticulous and that’s a good thing they’re talking oh I’m so schizophrenic they don’t mean that I have schizophrenia they mean that they are being pulled in different directions at the same time recently heard a young man talk about how depressed he was because he didn’t make the basketball team at school he wasn’t depressed as in depression he was unhappy demoralized disgruntled Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team he didn’t become depressed he became a better basketball player so we have to stop this the social creep of medicalizing real life life has its challenges of life has has its difficulties life has lots of bad hair weeks it’s got a lot of bad hair days and sometimes it has bad hair months but you know what that’s not a mental illness it’s a bad hair month and you know there is a great quote from Winston short show that I really like I’ll sure that way see where it says when you’re going through hell keep going just because things are stressful just because the life is challenging it doesn’t mean you have a mental disorder it means you have a challenge and stress or in your life that you have to deal with bring in your family bringing your friends and deal with it and work on it so how do we tell the difference between a bad hair week and a mental disorder well you know a mental disorder has very specific signs and symptoms that cause substantial functional impairment its persistent over time and their response to standardized treatments that have been evidence-based and we know are likely to help a bad hair week is a bad hair week there’s a big difference thanks for listening I’m dr. Stan couch


(1 Comment)

  • Don Heine

    A very healthy and helpful perspective…Thanks

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