Conditions misinterpreted as mental disorder - 1: Homosexuality

Conditions misinterpreted as mental disorder – 1: Homosexuality

A lot of uproar has been recently experienced on the concept of homosexuality across the world. Considered as taboo, as well as an unacceptable and abnormal human inclination, homosexuality has always been viewed as a matter of shame, disgrace and regret. While many people believe the orientation to be against nature, others unfortunately perceive it as a pathological disorder. However, homosexuality as a sexual orientation can be without any doubt regarded as absolutely normal and healthy.

As such, homosexuality is not a new concept. In fact, it has been prevalent ever since the existence of mankind. Many documents, theories, works of literature and stories have talked about the concept in a subtle or calmer manner. Despite so much being written on homosexuality, the subject continues to be taboo, which gives a tough time to the society when it comes to acceptance.

Due to the varied views on the concept of homosexuality, ranging from being caused by a person’s inner conflict, biasedly considered as a lifestyle issue to stigmatization by the society, it has emerged as one of the matters of concern among the masses.

Declassification of homosexuality

Since the beginning of the human race, homosexuality has been wrongly perceived as a mental illness, or a sin, with none ready to talk about it openly. Based on its history of medicine and psychiatry, homosexuality was enlisted as a mental disorder in DSM-II (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual) in 1968. In 1973, homosexuality was replaced from the category of ‘sexual orientation disturbance’ to ‘in conflict with sexual orientation’ by a majority.  Homosexuality was completely removed from the DSM in 1987 based on empirical data, changing social norms, and increased activism on LGBT rights.

Scientific evidences suggest that a person’s sexual orientation is his or her natural inclination, with a strong biological component and tendency to be influenced by other factors, such as genetics, hormonal changes and environment. For years, people have tried undergoing ‘conversion therapy’ with a belief of homosexuality being a mental disorder. However, such therapies have been largely observed to cause risks, such as depression, suicidality, anxiety, etc.

Due to increased discrimination and low self-esteem, homosexual people have been mostly observed to display symptoms of mental health illness, such as depression, phobia, substance abuse, etc. Additionally, both self-harm and suicidal tendencies are comparatively much higher in homosexual people than in heterosexual people.

Post declassification of homosexuality as a mental illness, there has been an increased focus on educating people on the subject. Despite the continuous efforts, homosexuality is still largely considered as taboo. As a result, homosexual people are subjected to a lot of embarrassment, insults, rejection, dejection, etc. When exposed to discrimination regularly, one is likely to develop mental disorders and the problem of substance abuse. As highlighted by many studies, social stressors are the prime triggers of mental disorders in homosexual people.

Stop stigmatizing homosexuality

As homosexuality is a natural orientation, people need to be educated more on the concept. A focused approach is required to remove homosexuality from the list of taboos, as it was declassified from the list of mental disorders. However, considering the high probability of development of mental illness in homosexuals due to discrimination, they need special attention and consideration than others.

If you or your loved one is suffering from any kind of mental illness, contact the California Mental Health Helpline to learn about mental health facilities in California. You may call us at our 24/7 helpline number 855-559-3923 or chat online with our representatives who can guide you to one of the best mental health centers in California.