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Often, people with mental illness are looked down on and blamed for "poor choices" which led to their disease. But many choices that may cause mental illness, also often cause physical illness.

Lifestyle causes of the specific mental illnesses that I would like to bring attention to in this article, depression, anxiety, and eating disorders, include:


lack of exercise
lack of sleep
poor diet
drug abuse


Lack of exercise is said to be responsible for 1 in 10 deaths from physical illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Lack of sleep (not necessarily always a lifestyle choice if it is a result of isnomia) can cause heart attacks, accidents, heart failure, and stroke. Poor diet can cause cardiovascular disease. Drug abuse can cause liver and kidney damage, respiratory problems, and cardiac arrest.

According to BBC news, over 40 percent of cancers are a result of lifestyle. We don't look down on or ridicule these people, in fact, we'd probably never even think of doing that! Instead, we view them as strong, brave individuals, because they are. Did they make choices that may have led them to their illness? Perhaps, but they would go back and change those choices if they could, and there are many other factors that can cause cancer as well.

Mental illness, though quite different from cancer, is the same way; sometimes lifestyle choices can cause them, but sometimes they are caused by things that are beyond the control of an individual. These causes include a family history of mental illness, suffering from abuse, exposure to toxic chemicals, stressful life events, and physical illnesses.

My question is: Why is the bar raised so high for those of us who have emotional problems? We often treat people with physical illness, such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes, who may (or may not) have made poor lifestyle choices, with respect and kindness (which we should). So why don't we treat people with emotional problems, who may, or may not have, made some of the same exact choices as people with serious physical illnesses, with respect and kindness? Is it because we are unaware? Is it because negative thinking and pessimism is sometimes a cause of emotional problems, such as depression and anxiety?

The point of this article is not to beat anyone over the head for their choices, neither is it to neutralize them. Rather it is to show that we all make poor choices. Some of them lead to obvious consequences, some of them do not. Some of them do not result in serious problems because of lack of other risk factors. Some of us are pessimists, some of us are optimists. Some of us have personalities that make us more prone to emotional problems. But we are all human and we deserve to be treated as human. We all need love, grace, and forgiveness, and we all need wisdom so that we don't get caught up in prejudgements or prejudice.

To quote Tenth Avenue North lyrics,

"We're all the same,

desperate for a change

we need Your love."


Sources:



http://www.news-medical.net/news/20120718/Lack-of-physical-activity-causes-1-in-10-deaths.aspx

http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/excessive-sleepiness-10/10-results-sleep-loss

http://www.bbc.com/news/health-16031149

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/mentaldisorders.html

http://www.world-heart-federation.org/cardiovascular-health/cardiovascular-disease-risk-factors/diet/

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mental-illness/basics/causes/con-20033813

http://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/medical-consequences-drug-abuse

Depression: The Way Out by Neil Nedly



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This article has 3 comments. Post your own!

Thanks4theTradgedyIneedIt4myArtThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Aug. 5 at 10:43 am:
Nice work ...
 
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SabrinaFaireThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jul. 28 at 12:30 am:
Love it. I wish some of the people in my life would read it...
 
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HudaZaveryThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jul. 12 at 11:56 am:
I'm really thankful that you wrote this. Very informative, and I think this is something that everybody needs to read. Good work!
 
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