Chronic Diseases and Mental Illnesses are Different - Paper Example

Published: 2024-01-28
Chronic Diseases and Mental Illnesses are Different - Paper Example
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Health and Social Care Healthcare Mental health
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 923 words
8 min read

Although there exists a relationship between mental health and chronic diseases, vastly differs from each other. Today’s psychiatrist classification systems may categorize mental illnesses as diseases that emanate from other medical conditions. However, the approach is confusing as chronic diseases, and mental illnesses largely differ from each other. In persuasion, this paper seeks to give distinct facts between the two conditions. It cites the differences from severity, prevalence and treatment of chronic diseases and mental illnesses.

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To begin with, although both mental health disorders and chronic diseases are common and disabling, chronic diseases are more prevalent than mental illnesses as far as causing deaths is concerned. According to the CDC (2012), chronic diseases have been responsible for many deaths in the United States. In a death count of approximately 10, there are chances that 7 of those perished due to chronic disorders in a year. Additionally, CDC (2012) reports that chronic related diseases cost a huge percentage of the budget. Statistically, chronic diseases consume a majority of $ 3.5 trillion budget allocated to healthcare. In contrast, the prevalence of mental illnesses is lesser than chronic diseases. From a sample population of 12, there is an 8.5% probability of people with a mental health disorder. Further, the severity of mental health disorders falls short of chronic diseases. In a sample size of 24 people, only one person is likely to have serious mental health disorder.

Next, abnormal thoughts, emotions, perceptions and behavior are a combination of traits that relates to mental health disorders. That is to mean, mental illnesses involve the radical changes in thinking or behavior of an individual. As such, social activities, together with family issues, are the most associates of mental health disorders. From the changes in social and family activities, an individual with mental health disorders may suffer from depression, anxiety, bipolar disorders. While on the other hand, chronic diseases are persistent with long-term effects. Thus, patients with chronic disorders require endless intervention for at least one year to guarantee them of being vibrant in their daily activities. Majority of mental health disorders have effective control strategies at the health sector’s disposal. Due to increased awareness of people suffering from depression and anxiety, which are the most common mental health disorders, public and private entities have rallied to control the conditions. Chronic related diseases, for example, heart diseases, cancer and diabetes as CDC (2012) reports, can equally be treated but with less effective as compared to mental health disorders. Additionally, preventing mental health illnesses such as depression and anxiety is manageable as compared to chronic diseases (WHO, 2019).

Furthermore, the co-occurrence of mental health disorders with chronic diseases is different. In many cases, patients with chronic conditions are likely to develop mental health disorders. For instance, NIH (“Chronic Illness & Mental Health”) reports that individuals with stroke, a chronic condition, are more likely to have depression because of the changes it brings in the brain. Chronic diseases are subject to an individual’s lifestyle, unlike mental illnesses. Individuals with HIV/AIDS, cancer, stroke and diabetes have at some point let their lifestyle practices contribute towards their current state. In some circumstances, their chronic conditions worsen if they develop mental health disorders (NIH, “Chronic Illness & Mental Health”). Depression is a common mental health disorder that patients with chronic conditions develop. Due to the changes in the brain, which is associated with mental health, patients with cardiovascular diseases, and stroke falls victims of depression (Carta et al., 2017). Whereas, mental health disorders do not originate from lifestyle practices. Instead, changes in emotions and behavior are the notable causes of depression, anxiety and other mental health-related disorders.

Besides that, individuals with mental health disorders are less susceptible to develop other medical conditions as compared to those with chronic conditions. According to NIH (“Chronic Illness & Mental Health”), save from depression, people with other mental health disorders are unlikely to develop other complications. Depression has been a disturbing mental disorder that attracts Alzheimer’s diseases and cardiovascular diseases. The changes in individuals’ blood circulation and heart rate are common conditions that make them susceptible to develop other medical conditions. However, with effective treatment and preventive measures of depression at disposal, it is possible to treat depression even if a patient has other medical conditions (NIH “Chronic Illness & Mental Health”).

In conclusion, chronic diseases and mental health illnesses are different from each other. With regards to prevalence and severity, mental illnesses are responsible for the majority of disability condition in the United States. However, as far as the number of deaths is concerned, chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, cancer and heart disease are the leading causes of deaths as compared to mental illnesses. Besides, chronic diseases consume much of the budget allocated to health care services which is not the case with mental illnesses. Lastly, comorbidity of the two conditions is different as individuals with chronic disease are more likely to develop mental illnesses. Depression is a common mental illness developed by patients with chronic diseases. As such, mental illness and chronic diseases are different.


Carta, M. G., Patten, S., Nardi, A. E., & Bhugra, D. (2017). Mental health and chronic diseases: a challenge to be faced from a new perspective.

CDC. (2012). Mental Health and Chronic Diseases. Accessed December 9, 2020

NIH. Chronic Illness & Mental Health. Accessed December 9, 2020

WHO. (2019). Mental Disorders. Accessed December 9, 2020

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