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Sociological theories on mental illness Sociological theories on mental illness Mental health refers to an individual’s cognitive, behavioral, and emotional wellbeing which involves how people think,...

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Sociological theories on mental illness
Sociological theories on mental illness
Mental health refers to an individual’s cognitive, behavioral, and emotional wellbeing which involves how people think, feel, and behave. The term 'mental health' is sometimes used to mean an absence of a mental disorder (Ottewell, 2016).
Mental illness
Mental illness which is also called mental health disorders, refers to a wide range of mental health conditions — disorders that affect an individual’s mood, thinking and behavior. Examples of mental illness include depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders and addictive behaviors (Chikaodiri, 2010).
Symptoms of mental illness
Feeling sad or down
Confused thinking or reduced ability to concentrate
Excessive fears or wo
ies, or extreme feelings of guilt
Extreme mood changes of highs and lows
Withdrawal from friends and activities
Significant tiredness, low energy or problems sleeping
Detachment from reality (delusions), paranoia or hallucinations (Enos, 2017).
Symptoms of mental illness
Inability to cope with daily problems or stress
Trouble understanding and relating to situations and to people
Problems with alcohol or drug use
Major changes in eating habits
Sex drive changes
Excessive anger, hostility or violence
Suicidal thinking (Pavelko, and Myrick, J2019).
Inherited traits. Mental illness is more common in people whose blood relatives also have a mental illness. Certain genes may increase your risk of developing a mental illness, and your life situation may trigger it.
Environmental exposures before birth. Exposure to environmental stressors, inflammatory conditions, toxins, alcohol or drugs while in the womb can sometimes be linked to mental illness.
Brain chemistry. Neurotransmitters are naturally occu
ain chemicals that ca
y signals to other parts of your
ain and body. When the neural networks involving these chemicals are impaired, the function of nerve receptors and nerve systems change, leading to depression and other emotional disorders (Pavelko, and Myrick, J2019).
Risk factors
Certain factors may increase your risk of developing a mental illness, including:
A history of mental illness in a blood relative, such as a parent or sibling
Stressful life situations, such as financial problems, a loved one's death or a divorce
An ongoing (chronic) medical condition, such as diabetes
Brain damage as a result of a serious injury (traumatic
ain injury), such as a violent blow to the head
Traumatic experiences, such as military combat or assault
Use of alcohol or recreational drugs
A childhood history of abuse or neglect
Few friends or few healthy relationships
A previous mental illness (Pavelko, and Myrick, J2019).
Functionalism theory
Functionalism theory was the dominant theoretical perspective in sociology in the 1940s. Emile Durkheim initially proposed this in which behavior in society is structured, and the relationship between different members of the society is organized in terms of certain rules (Burnette, et al. 2013).
Sociological theories on mental illness
Functionalism theory
 this theory further states that:
All elements within a society are interconnected and work togethe
If one dynamic is changed, it can alter the whole of society
Society will change to accommodate this change
Society will always function in harmony as it will accommodate change, by changing itself (Burnette, et al. 2013).
Functionalism theory
According to functionalism theorists, emotional processes are evoked with reference to motives and concerns of the developing person and as such undergo a quantitative and qualitative change in development. And hence, any conflict in emotions or emotional processes can give rise to depression.
Criticism of Functionalism theory
Not all the elements within a society are interconnected
It fails to provide an explanation for wars and conflicts that may arise in particular societies.
It disregards the immediate causes and motivations which are necessary in order to give rise to a phenomenon (i.e., like mental illness) which are purposeless for society (Melchert TP. 201).
Labeling theory
 the labeling theory which is proposed by Howard Becker proposed mentioned that people labeled as mentally ill are treated as i
esponsible, denied access to normal activities, forced to spend time with other deviants and gradually get socialized into the mental-patient culture, and adopting mental patient worldview (Rudolph, 2010).
Labeling theory proposition
Deviant behavior by an individual is labeled as deviant by powerful, influential, or significant social groups.
People who are labeled as deviant suffer stigmatization, which excludes them from normal interactions and thus converts their behavior into a distinctive one.
Behavior that is stigmatized by social labeling becomes amplified because alternative lifestyles and careers are no longer available for the deviant (Rudolph, 2010).
Criticism of labeling theory
The critique of this theory is that it does not explain initial causes of deviant behavior and hence has limited usefulness. However, it has sensitized mental health personnel to the dangers of "institutionalization.“(Melchert TP. 201).
From the above description of social theories it is evident that metal illness has been a social issue that has caused discrimination and stigmatization among sick people in the society so the implication of social theory will continue to play a major role in human understanding of mental illness and its relevance in the society.
Burnette, J. L., O'Boyle, E. H., Van Epps, E. M., Pollack, J. M., & Finkel, E. J XXXXXXXXXXMind-sets matter: A meta-analytic review of implicit theories and self-regulation. Psychological Bulletin, 139, 655–701, http:
Chikaodiri, A XXXXXXXXXXHealth professionals’ familiarity and attributions to mental illness. Mental Illness, 2(1), p.1.
Enos, G XXXXXXXXXXMental health becomes routine care in health system's medical clinics. Mental Health Weekly, 27(41), pp.1-7.
Melchert TP XXXXXXXXXXFoundations of Professional Psychology: The End of Theoretical Orientations and the Emergence of the Biopsychosocial Approach. 1 st ed. London: Elsevier.
Ottewell, N XXXXXXXXXXStigma against mental illness: Perspectives of mental health service users. Mental Health & Prevention, 4(3-4), pp XXXXXXXXXX.
Rudolph, K. D XXXXXXXXXXImplicit theories of peer relationships. Social Development, 19, 113–129, http: XXXXXXXXXX00534.x
Pavelko, R. and Myrick, J XXXXXXXXXXMeasuring Trivialization of Mental Illness: Developing a Scale of Perceptions that Mental Illness Symptoms are Beneficial. Health Communication, pp.1-9.
Answered Same DayDec 18, 2021


Ishita answered on Dec 20 2021
56 Votes
Essay Topic
Mental illness.
ief discussion regarding mental illness is provided in this section of the essay. The term is defined and the possible causes as well as its symptoms are provided here. Then the characteristics of sociological theories in understanding mental illness is given. The outline of the whole essay is provided in this section.
Paragraph 1
The functionalism theory is

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