Models of Mental Illness

Authored by: Jacqueline Sullivan

The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Medicine

Print publication date:  October  2016
Online publication date:  October  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138846791
eBook ISBN: 9781315720739
Adobe ISBN: 9781317519850


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Each and every one of us, at some point in our lives, will be touched by mental illness—our own, or that of a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, sibling, spouse, child, grandchild, friend, or coworker. Close to 450 million people worldwide suffer from mental or neurological disorders, and the numbers continue to rise (World Health Organization 2011). In order to address the current global mental health crisis, a conceptual-explanatory framework or model adequate for investigating the causes of, diagnosing, explaining, and treating mental illness is required. Yet, what kind of model will do? Should it include psychological factors like emotions, thoughts, and memories, or social factors like income or living conditions? Would a model that understood mental illness as exclusively brain-based be sufficient? Will a single model prove adequate for understanding mental illness or are different models necessary? Providing some preliminary answers to these questions is the aim of this chapter.

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