Week 5 forum post responses

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In need of a 250 word response/discussion to each of the following forum posts. Agreement/disagreement/and/or continuing the discussion.

Original forum discussion/topic post is as follows:

Our readings this week focus on three categories of disorders your textbook author deems “Problems of Mind and Body”. In your post this week, discuss why that terminology may be both accurate and inaccurate. In addition, choosing any two of the specific disorders covered in the textbook readings this week – but with some additional research, if you’d like – make some points of comparison and contrast, taking care to choose different disorders than did your classmates. Be sure to discuss cultural and gender factors which may be relevant to an understanding of these disorders.

Forum post response #1

I think that the label of “problems of the mind and body” that is given by the author of the book can be misleading. Saying that either the any of these disorders are a problem, can be an opinionated statement. With eating disorders, it can be looked on both sides. For example, according to our textbook, theorists have argued that families of people who develop eating disorders are often dysfunctional to being with and that the eating disorder of a member is the root of a larger problem (Comer, 2015). This could be listed as a problem to both the mind and body, if it is effecting the relationship of the individual and their family. There are also issues that arise from eating disorders that can harm a person’s mental state of mind, such as higher rate of developing a case of being depressed or a higher level of anxiety. Looking into the aspect of different cultures, the textbook used a good example. Studies that were conducted found that eating behaviors, values, and goals of young African American women were healthier than those of young white American women. The study then found that white and African American adolescent girls has different ideas of what beauty was. I think that when using culture as an example of a disorder can lead to problems within someone’s mind. As we know, each culture can be raised on believing or doing something a certain way is the right way. However, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is the right way it is just the way that is the normal for them and they have always been used to doing.

Since the announcement for this week suggested that we pay close attention to gender dysphoria, I decided to take a deeper look into it. This has also been a hot topic in society today, so I figured I would educate myself on it as well. Before conducting any research, I think that the label of “Problems of Mind and Body” can be somewhat looked at as offensive for someone who is dealing with this disorder. I also think that this is a majority of the lack of information of many people in society when they label someone as having a problem with their mind, since the definition of the disorder is defined in Lesson 5 as a pattern which people feel they are born into the wrong sex. In conducting my research, I stumbled upon an interesting question stated by Lev (2013), what if gender transitions are a normal part of the diversity of human identity and what if there is nothing disordered, dysfunctional, odd, or unnatural about trans gendering and there is nothing to be diagnosed? These people are already coping with the discomfort of believing that they are not born the person who they are supposed to be, so when society continuously tells them that they are not who they should be, it can be discouraging to them. I think that the main line goal of society needs to be educated on this disorder, so that we as whole can better understand what the person is going through as well as ways to approach this situation to make others not feel as uncomfortable.

Forum post response #2

Hello, Classmates and Dr. Sedore,

In this week’s discussion, we examine eating disorders, substance-related disorders, and sexual disorders. To note, Comer (2015) describes these as “Problems of the Mind and Body,” a descriptor I find inaccurate in some instances. As we learned earlier in this class, the origins of mental illness continue to be a topic of debate. Advances in medical and psychological research, enable experts to better understand, diagnose, and treat these aforementioned disorders. While this is true, much remains unknown how the complex interplay of genetic sociocultural, familial, physiological, and psychological factors contributes to the development of these disorders.

To answer the author’s interpretation of eating, sexual, and substance-related pathology, I find his label not completely precise. For instance, in eating disorders, I perceive them as chiefly psychological in nature. Although, yes, they manifest in physical symptoms, I would argue that illnesses like anorexia, and bulimia start in erroneous thinking and behavior. According to Comer (2015), a key attribute of both bulimia and anorexia is that an impacted person has inaccurate self-perception. This means that they view themselves through a distorted lens. The real question seems why do these individuals inaccurately view themselves? Some explanations in the text include difficult childhoods, unhealthy family dynamics, and societal and media pressure to look thin. In substance-related disorders, I view these as a psychological disorder with strong genetic factors. I would not, however say that everyone with substance-related disorders have genetic predisposition. In my estimation, the environment in which a person lives (highly stressful or not), their overall psychological functioning, and social/familial network play a far greater role. Substance-related disorders start with exposure to the substance. If a person lives in an environment where substance use is the norm, one is more likely to experiment. If one is under significant stress, like an immigrant, the unemployed, and the homeless, they are more likely to use substances as an escape. And, then, if they have a genetic predisposition to addiction, they are more likely to become dependent. Lastly for sexual disorders, I view the subcategory of sexual dysfunction as an illness of body and mind. For example, Bob has high blood pressure and diabetes. Due to complications from his illnesses, he struggles with erectile dysfunction. His medical difficulties (erectile dysfunction) created feelings of shame, frustration, and possibly depression. Yet, on the other hand, someone may have unresolved stress, anxiety or conflict with their partners. These emotions can, and often do, bring about difficulties achieving and maintaining an erection. In the other subcategory of sexual disorders, the paraphilias, these disorders appear to have roots in early childhood experiences. Examples include as witnessing paraphiliac encounters and child sexual abuse (Comer, 2015). Maybe an individual witnessed violence growing up, and they found themselves sexually aroused. Or in another instance, one, for reasons unknown, develops a fetish which develops into fetishistic disorder.

Lastly, for my discussion of two disorders, I will touch upon frotteuristic disorder and polysubstance use disorder. Frotteurism was first recognized by French psychiatrist Valentin Magnen in the late 19th century when he observed these behaviors in men. Over the years, this behavior has been noted in many cultures, including European countries, and in Japan, where it is known as chikan (Johnson, Ostermeyer, Sikes, Nelson, & Coverdale, 2014). According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), frotteuristic disorder is defined as an individual (mostly men) whom engage in inappropriate touching, rubbing one’s genital against another’s consent that creates intense sexual arousal, urges, or fantasies in the frotteur (2013). Additionally, these actions must continue for at least six months, disrupt one’s daily functioning and they generate feelings of distress in the actor (Comer, 2015; DSM-5, 2013). The other key element to this diagnosis is that it must cause harm or distress to the victim. This disorder, also termed courtship disorder, primarily impacts males, but some females struggle. Although it is not uncommon for some males to commit frotteuristic acts, only between 10 to 15% of the United States population at large (primarily males) meet the requirements for frotteuristic disorder (DSM-5). And, there is no research on frotteuristic disorder in Arab or other Muslim countries. Unfortunately, there is limited research on the incidence of frotteuristic disorder worldwide. A final note is that frotteuristic disorder can considered criminal behavior.

Polysubstance use disorder is characterized by a chronic and debilitating use of medications and illicit medications through which: a) cause dysfunctional living (i.e., losing job, not paying rent, stealing drugs, or other criminal behaviors); b) a person desires to quit, but cannot do so;, c) a person has strong cravings for the substances, and d) the individual devotes a great amount of time pursing acquisition of the substances (DSM-5, 2013). Additional consequences of polysubstance use disorder are that one may experience dangerous interactions between substances. For example, use of alcohol, opioids, and barbiturates – all potential respiratory depressants – have a synergistic effect when ingested at the same time. In other words, the effects of alcohol, opioids, and barbiturates are much more potent together (Comer, 2015). While the incidence of polysubstance use disorder is not clear, we know that in Western countries like the United States, access to illicit substance is much easier than in Saudi Arabia (Chan, Kelly, Carroll, and Williams, 2017). We do know that polysubstance use disorder is more prevalent in males versus females, and that the nature of the culture in which one lives play a factor. Case in point, in predominantly Muslim, Arab states, the highly conservative and morally strict society results in fewer known cases of polysubstance disorder. Additionally, in Muslim countries, Islam forbids the use of alcohol and other substances. This is not to say it does not occur, but simply the numbers are less (Arfken, Kubiak, & Farrag, 2009). Also, in the United States, polysubstance use disorder is becoming more prevalent, particularly given the opioid crisis.

Forum post response #3

When I hear the term “mind and body” it makes me think of the relationship the mind has with the body. It used to be believed that the mind and body were separate and worked independently, this was known as mind-body dualism (Comer, 2015, pg. 318). Due to science and research it has been shown that the mind and body actually work together and not independently, the mind can lead to issues in the body as well as the body leading to issues with the mind. This mind and body problem appears in disorders and illness such as Anorexia and Alcohol use disorder. Dysfunctions in thinking cause the individual to behave in a matter that negatively effects their body.

Anorexia, described by Comer, is when a person is afraid to gain weight and the perception of their body is distorted. The individual will have a low body weight due to poor nutrition, they intentionally take in less nourishment than the body needs in order to prevent gaining any weight (Comer, 2015, pg. 350). When an individual suffers from anorexia the illness takes over their thinking, they become obsessive about their weight, food, and exercise. The individual could also suffer from psychological issues such as self-esteem issues, anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbances. They could also experience medical issues as well, such as a lowered heart rate, low blood pressure and body temperature, their body could swell and their bone density decline (Comer, 2015, pg. 352). Their mind has distorted thoughts about their self-image and weight causing them to do harm to their body.

Alcohol use disorder, described by Comer, is when a person uses alcohol in excess and becomes dependent upon it to function in their daily lives (Comer, 2015, pg. 385). The individual suffering from an alcohol use disorder has difficulty doing normal daily tasks such as working or having healthy relationships because of their inability to think clearly. Individuals who drink heavily could experience problems with memory, thinking speed, balance, and attention. The more an individual drinks the higher their tolerance becomes, requiring them to need even more to feel the same effects. If the person stops drinking they will more than likely experience physical symptoms like nausea, weakness, rapid heart rate, and high blood pressure (Comer, 2015, pg. 386).

These two disorders are similar in the way that cause the individual to allow their behaviors to interfere negatively with their daily activities. Even though these disorders are similar in the way they take over one’s life, cause psychological and medial issues and consumes their thoughts, one difference is that alcohol use disorder is an addiction and anorexia in and of itself is not. Both of these disorders cause the individual to suffer in their personal relationships as well as do harm to their bodies and their minds.

The role of gender does play a part in anorexia, 90-95 percent of the reported cases occur in females (Comer, 2015, pg. 350). As far as culture, anorexia occurs more often in Western countries but it is starting to become more prevalent in Japan, North America and Europe (Comer, 2015, pg. 351). In my opinion, social media and technology in general have created this disorder to continue to grow and become more widespread. As the pressures to live up to the images we are all exposed to daily become greater, the more relevant this disorder will be in our society. In alcohol use disorder, men experience this disorder at double the rates than women do, with America Indians being the highest demographic to suffer from this disorder (Comer, 2015, pg. 385). Depression is one of the main reasons people turn to alcohol, with the American Indian culture they are at a higher risk than the rest of the US population for developing depression (Comer, 2015, pg. 239). With the stressors that exist within their culture and that come with living on the reservation, this would explain the reason behind this demographic having the highest rate of alcohol use disorder.


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