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Mental Illness Research Papers

Mental illness research papers are custom written at Paper Masters on a wide variety of psychology topics. Many disorders can be focused on with an emphasis on any type of disorder or mental illness you need examined.

Mental illness, also known as a mental disorder, is an anomalous behavioral pattern that causes suffering and an inability to function in ordinary life. Mental illness can arise from any number of causes, including both biological and situational. Most doctors use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders in order to diagnose mental illness.

Mental IllnessIn the public consciousness, images of psychiatry include couches, frowning therapists, and Freudian interpretation.  Today, however, psychology is turning away from therapy as the primary treatment for psychiatric disorders.  Repeated failures in the use of psychoanalysis as the sole treatment for disorders like bipolar illness coupled with breakthroughs in medical treatments have caused psychiatrists to look toward science for answers.

Medical research shows that psychiatric disorders are diseases of the brain, and should be treated medically.  Psychotherapy should never be used as the sole or primary treatment for such disorders, as such treatment encourages relapse by ignoring the origination of the sickness.  This paper will begin by showing the connection between brain chemistry and behavior.  Next, the scientific method used in the medical model of psychiatric treatment will be used to demonstrate the validity of scientific assessment in psychiatric illnesses.  Finally, the role of psychotherapy’s use to treat the symptoms of psychiatric disorders will be discussed.

Types of Mental Illness to Focus on in a Research Paper

One type of mental illness is an anxiety disorder. Types of Anxiety Disorders are:

Anxiety produces sensations of fear that interfere with a person’s normal functioning. Mood disorders, such as depression or bipolar disorder also can affect a person’s ability to function.

There are also personality disorders. There are several sub-classifications of personality disorders, including:

Eating disorders, such as bulimia or anorexia have also been classified as types of mental illness.

Some mental illness can be mild in symptoms and interference with functioning. Others can be quite crippling. There remains a large social stigma connected to mental illness in American society that often prevents people from seeking effective treatment. Diagnosis of a mental illness is done by a doctor after assessing a person’s symptoms, but precise diagnosis is often difficult.

Mental Illness and Brian Chemistry

Human behavior is the result of chemical reactions in the brain.  The process begins with brain stimulating elements, called precursors, which are released into the bloodstream.  These molecules are selectively pulled into the brain’s neurons, depending on the type of activity the neuron controls.  While in the neuron, enzymatic changes are enacted, turning the precursor into a neurotransmitter.  Natural movement of protoplasm carries neurotransmitters to the terminal portions of the brain cell.  At that point, they are enclosed in synaptic vesicles.  This containment keeps the neurotransmitters separate from other chemical reactions taking place in the cell.

 
Although the specific activities involved in neurotransmitter release are unclear, scientists have determined that membranes next to synaptic vesicles are opened and the contents are emptied into synaptic areas.  Once they are released, they attach themselves to neurotransmitter receptors, constructed of like molecular components.  The attachment of a neurotransmitter to a receptor changes the electrical charge of the cell which affects the brain’s reaction to body stimulants.  The response of the brain is specified due to the combination of different neurotransmitters and receptors.


Behavioral pharmacology is based on the concept that since the brain’s communication system is controlled by specific chemicals, compounds interacting with those chemicals will change the messages.  Chemical knowledge and controlled scientific behavioral knowledge is combined to form the golden rule of pharmacology: “specific changes in brain chemistry produce specific changes in behavior.” Recently, scientists have discovered links between brain chemistry and depression that provide a practical example for brain chemistry’s connection with psychological disorder.  Glucocorticoids are neurotransmitter receptors found to induce severe mood changes when present in high quantities. Approximately 50% of patients suffering depression have raised glucocorticoid levels.  In addition, serotonin has been connected to depression through experiments showing that lowering brain serotonin levels can induce depression.  Many drugs used to treat depression work toward altering brain serotonin levels, and show positive results.

Various scientific studies have found results that point toward organic brain dysfunction as a cause for mental illness.  Studies of twins, even those raised separately, show a similarity in brain chemistry and function.  Technological advances allow brain imaging and biochemical monitoring that demonstrate differences between affected and non-effected individuals.  The responsiveness of many illnesses, including depression and bipolar disorder, show that medicine can alter the brain’s functioning.

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