“Mental Illness” vs. “Brain Disorder”

brain disorderI’ve seen the term “brain disorder” cropping up all over the place– a replacement for the term “mental illness.”

I like it.

It’s a better description, sounds more clinical (to me), and is free of the baggage that comes with the phrase “mental illness.” I think it suits the sufferer better too– it frames the person as a victim of a sickness instead of as a culprit. It’s more of an noun than an adjective. (Yes, yes, I know “mental illness” is a noun too, but so often we hear it used as a descriptor: she is mentally ill.  I don’t think people would say, She’s brain disorder-y.) It gets to be what it is: an affliction.

I’d love to hear your thoughts: do you like one term more than the other? Or would you suggest something entirely different?

Image credit: Dierk Schaefer

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