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• Health and Stress
• Psychological Disorders
• Treatment


A. Difference between mental health and mental disorder

• Mental health includes several dimensions, among which are

self-esteem, realization of one’s potential, the ability to
maintain fulfilling and meaningful relationships, and
psychological well-being

• A person with good mental health is described as one who

 feels good about himself or herself
 feels comfortable with other people
 is able to meet the demands of life

• Mental disorder is a form of deviant behavior that is bizarre,

irrational or usually distressful (David Mechanic)

B. In the process of understanding mental health vis-à-vis mental

disorder, it is important to look into the criteria for differentiating
abnormal from normal behaviors
• Statistical infrequency
• Violation of societal norms
• Personal distress
• Disability or behavioral dysfunction (i.e., maladaptive vis-à-
vis adaptive functioning (day-to-day functioning in terms of
relationships and work)

C. There are several perspectives or approaches that one can use to

explain and understand mental health vis-à-vis mental or
psychological disorders
• Biological or Medical Approach: Mental illness is viewed
as a disease of the brain. The biological approach in
psychiatry was sparked by evidence for a genetic
component to psychiatric disorders and by pharmaceutical
advances in drug therapies. However, this model does not
explain why people experiencing the same “illness” may
display very different kinds of symptoms.

• Psychoanalytic Approach: Psychological disorders arise

from unconscious conflicts that produce anxiety and result in
maladaptive behavior.

• Cognitive-Behavioral Approach: Observational learning,

expectancies, self-efficacy, self-control, beliefs about oneself
and the world, and other cognitive processes are key to
psychological disorders

• Humanistic Approach: A psychological disorder is a

reflection of one’s inability to fulfill one’s potential, likely
arising from pressures of society to conform to other’s
expectations and values. A person with a psychological
disorder is likely to have a low self-concept because he or
she has experienced criticism or negative circumstances.

• Socio-cultural Approach: In explaining psychological

problems, this approach places more emphasis on the larger
social contexts in which a person lives – including the
individual’s marriage or family, neighborhood,
socioeconomic status, ethnicity, gender, or culture- than do
the other approaches.

• Diathesis-stress Model: In the stress and coping model,

psychological distress and some mental disorders are seen
as resulting from failures in coping with stressful life events.

• Biopsychosocial Approach: Mental health and mental

illness may involve biological, psychological, and
sociocultural factors alone or in combination with other
D. Depending on the perspective one takes, mental health and
abnormality may be explained by any or a combination of the
• Genes (organic)
• Stress
• Faulty parenting
• Culture and environment
• Physical and psychological trauma

2. Specifically, people are predisposed to react adversely to

environmental stressors, and this predisposition may be biological
or psychological, and may be caused by early childhood
experiences, genetically determined personality traits, or
sociocultural influences.

A. In the stress model of understanding mental health, the 3

components of the stress process are
1. Stressors – any type of condition which can upset the
adaptive capacity of an individual (major life events,
daily hassles, chronic strains)
2. Moderators – refer to the resources of coping, social
support, and mastery that are used in response to
3. Outcomes – refer to mental health and well-being, or to
the degree of mental illness and disorder

B. In his article “Stress and Mental Health: A Conceptual

overview”, Perlin emphasizes that people exposed to the
same stressors are not necessarily affected in the same

C. Turner, in another article entitled “Social Support and

Coping”, emphasized that the degree to which social support
affect one’s mental health and the degree to which it buffers
the effects of stress vary across different social status
groups of the population. Social status (gender, SES, marital
status) affects the availability of social support of social
support as well as exposure to stress.
D. Stress does not cause mental illness, exposure to stress
increases the relative risk of experiencing mental health
problems. It is said that the risk brought about by a stressor
is not necessarily inherent to the stressor but it merges in
interaction with attributes of the individual and his or her life

3. In summary, the process of maintaining mental health and of

developing mental disorders is shaped not only by biological and
psychological factors but also by the social environment as well.

4. In the Philippines, the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of

Mental Disorders, 4th ed., Text Revised) classification system is
adopted in diagnosing and classifying mental disorders. There is,
however, another classification system (ICD-10) used in other
parts of the world. While these classification systems help in
understanding the features and symptoms of psychological
disorders, they have their limitations as well.

5. For individuals diagnosed to have the same psychological

disorders or observed to display the same abnormal behaviors,
their experiences vary, which may be explained by their individual,
family, and or culture differences.

6. Among children and adolescents, parental resources (intellectual

ability, self-esteem), social stressors (family size, family
composition, parental working conditions, family income), and
family functioning (communication, trust) contribute to their mental

7. There are various interventions for these psychological disorders.

The intervention is unique to each person.