Author: Lisa Graas
•10/10/2002 02:13:00 PM
Unclear, to be sure. On the website Catholic Way: the Medical Corner.... waaaaaay (so to speak) down at the bottom of the page, we read this:
Alzheimer’s Disease is not a mental illness; it is organic brain disease in which brain chemistry is altered and brain cells die.
This needs some MAJOR CLARIFICATION for lay people: Use of the word "organic" does not mean "biological", therefore this statement above about Alzheimer's DOES NOT MEAN that "mental illness" is not biological in origin. Tricky terms, eh? Bipolar disorder, for instance, is a brain disease in which the brain chemistry is altered, however it is not "organic". Biological, yes. Organic? No. It's all in the terminology, folks. Just for the record, you know? Okay. Is it just me or could someone with Alzheimer's Disease be reading that and say to himself, "Whew!!! At least it's not a MENTAL ILLNESS!! At least it's ORGANIC, which means it's not my FAULT!"

Here is a definition of organic disease, which mental disorders are NOT and a definition of FUNCTIONAL DISEASE which mental disorders ARE.

Organic Disease -- a disease attended with morbid changes in the structure of the organs of the body or in the composition of its fluids.

Functional Disease -- a disease of which the symptoms cannot be referred to any appreciable lesion or change of structure; the derangement of an organ arising from a cause, often unknown, external to itself opposed to organic disease, in which the organ itself is affected.

Organic and Functional Diseases are both BIOLOGICAL (pertaining to biology) disorders. So, there ya have it, folks. The absence of the term "organic" does not mean that it is not biological.
~Love from Lisa~
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