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Matthew Cribb
Professor Lancer
ENG 111 D04P
24 Mar. 2016
Definition Essay
The brain is set apart from every organ in the human body because it is the only organ
that supports the vitality of a functional human; it is the circuit for every decision a person makes
and controls every nerve and muscle in the body. The brain itself is susceptible to both physical
and psychological damage and illness. Mental disorder, and ultimately insanity, is a condition of
the brain and or mind that is extremely abnormal, controlling, and long term.
First, insanity is characterized by extreme abnormality and is seen in the debilitation of
an individuals mental judgments and keeps him from living a functional, consistent lifestyle.
One type of mental illness that is characterized by extreme abnormality is shown in a person with
a mood disorder. For example, depressed individuals often experience problematic changes in
their sleep and appetite, such as eating and sleeping more than usual, struggling with insomnia,
or not feeling like eating much at all (Lane). Eating and sleeping are two of the most basic
functions in humans and all breathing life forms; however, these basic activities are strangely
negatively affected in a depressed person. Another form of extreme abnormality is personality
disorders, where reality is distorted in the mind of the beholder, and beliefs and feelings are
consistently out of line. Bonnie states, A person with a borderline personality disorder might
experience transient stress-related paranoid ideation or might have a dissociative episode (761)
where the individual's mind drifts away from reality. Personal beliefs, feelings, behavior, and
rational conclusions are a normal part of a person's life, but people with a personality disorder

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have a reality consisting of these human qualities that are completely distorted from the truth.
Another type of extreme abnormality is depicted in a psychotic disorder, such as the
schizoaffective disorder. More than one severe psychological symptom can arise at any given
moment with this disorder, furthermore both symptoms can occur at the same time. This type of
extreme abnormality shows that multiple problems and elements of subject matter can coexist
within a specific disorder. The characteristic of extreme abnormality associated with mental
illness is essential to understanding it because otherwise there would be no basis for why the
condition should be considered a mental disorder.
Secondly, insanity is also characterized by its controlling nature; it can take over ones
life and dictate one's actions and thoughts leaving a person helpless in its vice. One type of
mental illness that is very controlling is a mood disorder. For example, depression is a mood
disorder many people experience, however in severe cases, depressed individuals may
contemplate and even attempt suicide usually in an attempt to escape their emotional pain
(Lane). Severe depression is different from other mental illnesses because as a result of taking
over the emotions, it engulfs a persons entire life, causing unbearable emotional pain and a
negative outlook on life that can leading some people to see no reason for their life to exist.
Similarly, a person with a personality disorder may become overpowered by a heightened
uncontrollable mental state provoked by many situations and environments, and can easily result
in wrongful actions and committing crimes; meanwhile the person is unaware of the
implications, and wrongfulness of them while in the act. As an illustration, someone with this
disorder could become mentally unstable after having been in a heated argument, then while
driving recklessly commit a violent crime by releasing her inner tension and anger out on another
innocent driver who is severely hurt in the process (Bonnie 760). This mental disorder is

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different from others in its controlling nature because many experiences and occurrences in what
should be a normal day for someone become inflamed resulting in a mental state that consumes
the person, becoming emotionally disarrayed and physically intractable from harmful, potentially
dangerous acts. Finally, another type of mental illness that is very controlling is a psychotic
disorder. A person with this disorder is subdued by delusions, which are false fixed beliefs that
the ill person accepts as true, despite evidence to the contrary (Types of Mental Illness). This
mental illness is different from others in its controlling nature because real world facts and truth
are subordinate to, and dictated by the minds paralyzing fixed beliefs. Ultimately, if mental
illnesses were not controlling, the people who have them would be able to easily overcome them,
or at least cope with their mental difficulties on their own.
Thirdly, mental illness is also characterized by being long-term. Schizophrenia is an
example of psychosis that is a long-term mental illness. This mental illness is a type of
psychosis in which a person experiences some psychotic symptoms for at least six months, with
a significant decline in the persons ability to function (The Different Types). In this case,
only once symptoms of psychosis have lasted more than six months can schizophrenia be
diagnosed; although minor and brief occurrences of psychosis may resemble traits of
schizophrenia, the duration of the psychosis is a primary factor in verifying the presence of this
serious illness. In addition, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is often a long-term illness.
Recovery from this disorder is possible and can even be relatively short, yet it is not uncommon
for symptoms to be lasting, with no clear end. (Post-Traumatic). Unlike many mental illnesses,
this disorder is known especially for its problematic lifelong attributes. Finally, borderline
personality disorder is an example of personality disorder that is long lasting. Many years of
living with this disorder result in deeply ingrained personality traits that can become a major

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barrier for some clinicians to facilitate a meaningful, and productive interview, and to assess and
better understand their disorder (Blackburn 23). Unlike PTSD, or many other mental illnesses, a
borderline personality disorder is different because of how gradual and subtle it infiltrates into
one's entire life, seeming complex, difficult to treat, and ultimately irreversible. The long-term
characteristic of most mental illnesses is inherent to its definition because unlike a virus within
the body, there is no inborn immunity to remove it; instead, mental illness has abstract qualities
and is usually much more challenging to combat, and as a result often persist for some time.
Mental illnesses exhibit unusual qualities and are extremely abnormal, can take over a
persons life, and persist for a long time. Mental illnesses are not an uncommon illness, and all
humans are susceptible to it. They are often difficult to detect as their unusual traits can be
overlooked in ignorance and misunderstanding. By being informed, a person can recognize
behaviors and actions that do not align with a normally functioning human and have awareness
and insight on such matters for their own sake and for others who have mental illnesses. Being
informed also allows a person to appreciate and provide invaluable assistance and direction for
an affected person, even perhaps in climatic situations where the aid of a counselor or skilled
psychologist is not present.

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Works Cited
Blackburn, Ronald. Classification and Assessment of Personality Disorders in Mentally
Disordered Offenders: A Psychological Perspective. Criminal Behavior & Mental
Health 10 (2000): 8-34. SocINDEX with Full Text. Web. 23 Feb. 2016.
Bonnie, Richard. Should a Personality Disorder Qualify as a Mental Disease in Insanity
Adjudication? Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics 38.4 (2010): 760-763. CINAHL with
Full Text. Web. 23 Feb. 2016.
Lane, Cheryl. Mood Disorders. PsyWeb.com. PsyWeb.com, 15 May 2013. Web. 23 Feb. 2016.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD). National Institute of Mental Health. US
Department of Health and Human Services, n.d. Web. 23 Feb. 2016.
The Different Types of Psychosis. CAMH. Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, 2012.
Web. 23 Feb. 2016.
Types of Mental Illness. WebMD. WebMD, LLC., 2014. Web. 23 Feb. 2016.