Did you know that mental disorders and illnesses are considered to be, in many cases, invisible disabilities? A vast amount of people probably do not know this. As a result, a person with a mental disorder often bears the emotional strain of loneliness in disability and isolation.
Are mental disorders disabilities?
For a long time, mental illnesses and disorders were not considered disabilities. This was probably due in large part to their physical invisibility. Today, things are different. The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities “states persons with disabilities are those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments.”
While mental disorders and illnesses are unable to be seen by the naked eye, they are disabilities nonetheless.
The sooner people understands this, the better. All too often, people with mental illnesses, disorders, or disturbances hear such expressions as, “Can’t you just get over it,” “Deal with it,” or worse, “Just stop acting mental.” The social stigma on mental issues doesn’t help things, either.
Thankfully, society as we know it is beginning to accept the reality of invisible disabilities — this includes mental disorders. “Society is quickly becoming a place that embraces people at their personal level and pace of learning, and is able to recognize characteristics that indicate invisible disabilities.”
What types of mental illnesses might be considered invisible disabilities?
The list of invisible, disabling mental disorders could be endless. Here are just a few common mental illnesses (some fall under the heading of neurological disorders), disorders, and disturbances that are considered by some to be invisible disabilities:
– Tourette Syndrome – TS is actually a neurological disorder that is “characterized by repetitive, stereotyped, involuntary movements and vocalizations called tics.”
– Generalized Anxiety Disorder – This disorder bears the symptoms of anxiety as well as serious, “uncontrollable” worry. It is a life-burdening invisible disability.
– Depression – Of all invisible disabilities, depression may be among the most misunderstood. People often assume depression can be “turned off” by the sufferer. The truth is, depression can be overwhelming and, in many cases, must be treated medically.
When will mental issues be seen for what many of them are — invisible disabilities?
The answer to this question is, when people get educated about this reality. This is where awareness comes into play. Get educated about the reality of mental disorders and illnesses as disabilities, and educate others by talking about it. This can do more than you know as far as increasing awareness of these invisible disabilities.
*Please note: All research for this article is compiled from direct and third party sources. Mention of programs, organizations and companies does not imply support of The National Benefit Authority. Pictures are for creative purposes only; they are not intended to sell or promote products for the NBA and belong to the accredited individual, organization or company.
Let’s Talk About It
Do you consider mental illnesses and disorders to be invisible disabilities? Why or why not?
Do you suffer from a mental issue that you think falls under the heading of “invisible disability”? If so, what do you wish others understood about your condition?