Article Critique




HowClinical Diagnosis Might Exacerbate the Stigma of Mental Illness

Stigma can worsen the experience of mental illness. In manyinstances, diagnostic terms and classifications used by clinicalsocial workers enhance the stigma associated with mental illness.Hence, people tend to view patients as different relative to others.In fact, members of the public may view mental health patients interms of their diagnostic labels (Corrigan, 2007). Stereotypes alsoimply that individuals with mental illness can never recover to leadnormal lives. Nevertheless, the unintended effects of diagnosis canbe reduced through various ways. For example, practitioners can usedimensional approaches rather than classification. Stigma can also bereduced through regular interaction with patients suffering frommental illness. Practitioners should also focus on their clients’recovery.

HowDresses Can Make You Mentally Ill: Examining Gender Identity Disorderin Children

Gender Identity Disorder is defined as a persistent discomfort withone’s assigned sex or gender role. Strong cross-genderidentification may also manifest in children diagnosed with thedisorder. Indicative behaviors may manifest through cross-dressingand preference for playmates of the other sex. GIDC has experienced achange in its conceptualization. Initially, it was viewed as apsychosexual disorder. Later it was considered as an age-relatedvariation of Gender Identity Disorder (Langer &amp Martin, 2004).Although some people consider the disorder as a dysfunction, evidenceindicates that it is a normal variant of human experience. Themajority of children treated for GID have a higher likelihood ofbeing bisexual, gay, or lesbian.

Stigmaand the Cycle of Avoidance: Why Young People Fail to Seek Help forTheir Mental Distress

Persons with mental health conditions typically fail to seek help dueto the unavailability of resources. Low awareness of possibletreatments or facilities may also hamper mental health care.Stigmatization discourages people from seeking help due to shame andembarrassment. Non-help seeking behavior dominates the cycle ofavoidance in mental health patients. Young people who experiencesuicidal thoughts and cutting avoid labeling their conditions asdeserving of psychiatric help (Biddle &amp Gowen, 2009). Hence,practitioners need to help young people to manage the social andpsychological consequences of seeking care.

RecognizingMental Illness in Culture-bound Syndromes

In many cultures, somatic symptoms are used to define occurrences ofpsychiatric distress. For example, Japanese culture observestaijin-kyofusho where a person is burdened by an inordinatefear of offending others. Hence, some patients may be discouragedfrom seeking help for mental health conditions. Korean women alsoportray hwa-byung where suppressed anger or depression leadsto complaints of an abdominal mass (Juckett &amp Rudolf-Watson,2010). Practitioners should examine a patient’s cultural identitybefore making diagnoses. It is also crucial to examine culturalbarriers to treatment along with the condition’s explanatorymodels.

TheSocial Construction of Normality

Normality exists as a context-dependent social construct. In thisregard, different societies uphold varied standards and values. Thecommunity needs stipulated guidelines that determine acceptable andunacceptable behavior. Numerous standards have undergone drasticchanges with the passage of time. For example, normal child rearingand sexuality have experienced various modifications (Freud, 1999).The occurrence of social injustices justifies the manifestation ofabnormal behavior. On the other hand, therapeutic standards are usedas the ultimate guidelines for social work practice.

Transformingnormality into pathology: the DSM and the outcomes of stressfulsocial arrangements

Non-disordered people often experience distress due to subordination.The gradual loss of attachments, resources, and status can also causefrustration. Other people are burdened with a generic inability toachieve desired goals. The distress that occurs due to suchcircumstances occurs due to certain psychological mechanisms. Mentaldisorders reveal that some mechanisms do not function as desired.However, individual pathology and stress are classified as mentaldisorders (Horwitz, 2007). Practitioners should focus on people withan unmet need for treatment.


Biddle, L., &amp Gowen, L. K. (2009). Stigma and the Cycle ofAvoidance: Why Young People Fail to Seek Help for Their MentalDistress. Focal Point: Research, Policy, and Practice inChildren’s Mental Health.

Corrigan, P. W. (2007). How clinical diagnosis might exacerbate thestigma of mental illness. Social Work, 52(1), 31-39.

Freud, S. (1999). The social construction of normality. Familiesin Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services, 80(4),333-339.

Horwitz, A. V. (2007). Transforming normality into pathology: the DSMand the outcomes of stressful social arrangements. Journal ofHealth and Social Behavior, 48(3), 211-222.

Juckett, G., &amp Rudolf-Watson, L. (2010). Recognizing mentalillness in culture-bound syndromes. American Family Physician,81(2), 206-206.

Langer, S. J., &amp Martin, J. I. (2004). How dresses can make youmentally ill: Examining gender identity disorder in children. Childand Adolescent Social Work Journal, 21(1), 5-23.