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Mental health and mental illnesses - Essay Example

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Mental health and mental illnesses

It is extremely difficult for us mortals to attain complete physical, mental or social wellbeing.
A very common perception of health is that it is a commodity that can be "bought by investment in private health care; sold via health food stores and health centres; given by surgery and drugs and lost following accident or disease (Aggleton 1990, p.11). If the WHO definition was assailed, this concept of health as a commodity was reviled mainly because health was made dependent not on the person but on the merchandise that could be obtained from
Another definition of health is that it is "the reserve of strength of energy. The meaning of strength can be extrapolated to mental strength which is the 'attitude or outlook of life which helps the individual cope with adversity". There is also a definition which says that health is the "ability to adapt to changing circumstances" (Aggleton 1990, p.11). ...
There is also a definition which says that health is the "ability to adapt to changing circumstances" (Aggleton 1990, p.11). Still, another definition of health points to health as a conglomeration of a number of factors, which are foundations for achievement, "which help people to achieve their maximum personal potential" Such foundations for achievement encompass such basic things as water, food, shelter, "access to information and the skill and confidence to make sense of this" (Aggleton 1990,p.12).
The traditional concept of health, meanwhile propounds that a healthy person is 'someone who exists in a state of equilibrium of mind, body and spirit" and "when this equilibrium is disturbed, then the health of the individual is impaired." ( Harari & Legge 2001,p.1). Of course, it drew brickbats from some people who cannot conceptualise health as a mere equilibrium of mind, body and spirit and finds this concept too vague and obscure.
Health is better understood if we comprehend the concepts of disease and illness. Health suffers at the onset of disease. Disease and illness, contrary to the belief of many, do not come together. One may have disease without actually knowing it as in the case of an AIDS victim and knowledge comes only when pain or discomfort begins to pester one's being. This is the


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time that the sufferer realises he is ill. But his disease commenced at the moment the bacteria or
virus had begun to inhabit his body, which inhabiting signaled an abnormality or pathology in a portion of ...Show more

Summary

Defining health in one sentence poses some difficulty as health is a relative word that is dependent on the environment and life circumstances of people. There are therefore official definitions of health and popular perceptions of health.
Official definitions of health as formulated by health professionals include "the absence of certain qualities such as disease and illness" or the feelings of anxiety, pain or distress that may or may not accompany disease" (Aggleton 1990, p.6).
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