Three Essential Characteristics of a “Mental Illness” One essential characteristic of what we define as a mental illness is that it should be a persistent behavioral disorder; that is, it must persist over a period of time. A brief, transient strange behavior does not qualify as a mental illness. If for example a person with an otherwise normal life behaves very strangely for one hour, or even for a day, but then goes back to completely normal behavior, then this person cannot be said to have a mental illness. Another important characteristic of a mental illness is that it must render the person unable to perform the social and occupational roles that are considered part of a normal life. For example, a person who has schizophrenia may be...The end:
.....nosis can be made with so little understanding that the fact that it is NOT a disorder is missed, this means that the DSM has little validity in this sense. The next factor that prevents the DSM from providing a valid and reliable definition of mental illness is that it is entirely culture-bound: there are therefore times when definitions are impacted by cultural considerations that have more to do with the “big picture” than with any impartial definition process. For example, feminists successfully lobbied to prevent premenstrual dysphoric disorder from being classified in the DSM, due to the negative social impact this might have on some women. Again, it is not scientifically valid to include or exclude definitions on such considerations.