Medicine Q&A (Part 1): What is mental illness?
Mental illness is actually a hard thing to describe because there are numerous and competing efforts to define it. Many in our culture point to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders (DSM) as the authoritative compendium for what is and is not a mental illness. The authors of DSM have recently made significant revisions to their definition of mental illness, however.
When most people use the term “mental illness” I think they are referring to hard and complex problems that they do not understand and do not know exactly how to treat. Some of these problems require professional medical treatment. Many of these problems are not illnesses at all, but are spiritual problems, which require repentant faith in Jesus and biblical wisdom as a response.
Dr. Heath Lambert will discuss this topic at the ACBC Annual Conference on “The Gospel and Mental Illness.” The conference will be held October 6-8th at Grace Community Church in Los Angeles California.