Impact of Mental Illness Essay

This essay has a total of 949 words and 4 pages.

Impact of Mental Illness

Impact of Mental Illness

Mental illness has the potential to impact every faucet of an individual's life, as well
as the lives of those close to them, including relationships (family and friends),
vocational, financial, and behavioral tendencies. These effects differ between each
individual due to the treatment approaches taken, the variety of diagnoses, and the
intenseness of symptoms. At the age of seventeen Joe felt clueless when his usual good
quality school and family life began to change due to a string of stressful experiences.
Although his diagnosis was not made immediately, the symptoms of schizophrenia affected
his daily life. He became delusional, began to withdrawal from friends, his senses were
distorted and overall he was uncomfortable around people.

Two categories were created to illustrate the impact on family members caring for an
individual with a mental disorder. These are identified as ‘objective burden' and
‘subjective burden'. An objective burden refers to such things as disruptions to family
relationships, limitations in leisure and vocational activities, and financial
difficulties. (Dore et al., 2001; Magliano et al., 1998). High rates in separation and
divorce among relationships where a spouse has a mental illness is an example of an
objective burden (Dore et al., 2001). Following three semesters in University, Joe's
symptoms of delusion came back leading him to temporarily drop out of school. This
interruption in his educational experience also constitutes as an example of objective
burden. Subjective burden describes the personal feelings and reactions experienced by
family members (Dore et al., 2001; Magliano et al., 1998). These feelings may consist of
being distressed, angry, grief, loss from past to present situations, embarrassed,
unhappy, and guilty if an individual feels they were the cause of the illness (Dore et
al., 2001). Dianne's father was diagnosed with schizophrenia twice and never followed
through with treatment. His symptoms caused him to believe that his wife was ‘out to get
him' and he confided this situation to Dianne, who he later claimed was not his daughter
due to an extramarital affair on her mothers behalf. During the time of his illness he
abandoned his wife and soon after stopped communicating with Dianne as well. The turmoil
experienced by the family sent Dianne's mother into a depressed state, she is now on
medication, and affected Dianne's life in great measures. Although now she feels she is a
better person because of her experience she was greatly influenced by the initial change
in her fathers attitudes.

Mental illness does not only have an effect on relationships, occupation, recreation and
finances, but also the overall routine of an individual's daily life. An example of this
may be the individual's reaction, or lack thereof, to environmental stimuli, which may
imply a distorted viewpoint (Barlow, D.H. et al., 1995). When Joe first started
experiencing symptoms he became introverted and uncomfortable around people. As a result
of a distortion of his senses he began to react to his peers coughing. He felt as though
every time he moved they would cough and this sense of paranoia kept Joe from much
movement, eventually this played a part in his leaving university. A common area of
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