Is there a difference between being "mentally ill" and  being "insane" ? what is your viewpoints on the issue of insanity.

Expert Answers
brettd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

For one thing, all insane people are mentally ill, while not all mentally ill people are insane.  Mental illness covers the entire range of brain, chemical and psychological disorders, from simple garden variety depression to schizophrenia, from chemical imbalances to Alzheimer's disease.

Many such mental illnesses are highly treatable, and these individuals who suffer from them can lead normal lives with no outward symptoms.

Those who are clinically or legally insane require at least long term treatment, and often times require isolation from the public while they receive that treatment.  Insanity by definition suggests someone who is divorced from reality, who can no longer tell right from wrong, real from imaginary - someone who is utterly unable to function in regular society, at least without serious treatment.

Not sure what you mean about "viewpoints" on insanity.  Does it exist?  Surely.  Should it make a legal difference in court cases?  Certainly.  Is it treatable?  Depends.

besure77 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The DSM IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) is a manual published by the American Psychological Association. It lists all disorders that can occur at any age, and gives very detailed descriptions of each one. The terms mental disorder and mental illness could be used interchangeably, however, illness suggests that a person is sick while disorder suggests dysfunction.

Insanity is a term that is generally used in a legal sense. For example, and individual may be proven not guilty due to reasons of insanity. A judge would not say that a person is proven not guilty due to reasons of schizophrenia.

Insanity is a term that needs to be used with caution. There are many different reasons a person could be classified as insane. Usually people who are given this label have no sense of reality or remorse.