Mental Health

This section analyzes the General issues of the male psyche, personality structure, emotional health and well-being, some of the most common problems of borderline disorders (stress, depression). We do not describe mental illness because it is beyond the scope of this book. They are the subject of special science of psychiatry and should not be solved by a person on their own.

Mental health is one of the three components of overall health. Mental health determines the functions of the body as a whole, its systems and organs, affects the behavior of men, his performance, relationships with other people, adaptation to constantly changing environmental and social conditions, the ability to deal with stress and successfully overcome its consequences. Only a mentally healthy person has a sense of self-respect.

Two great discoveries made in the early 20th century changed the world: albert Einstein’s theory of relativity (in physics) and the new concept of human personality by Sigmund Freud (in psychology). 3. Freud carried out a real revolution, revealing the depths of man’s “I”. The impact of Freud’s work went far beyond biology, psychology and medicine and spread to all areas of modern culture. Freud believed the main, Central elements of human life sex and work. They are the basis of human personality. Freud first showed the role of human sexuality, its impact on human life and the fundamental importance of the libido – psychic energy of attraction associated with love (in all senses of the word). “Libido is a term borrowed from the theory of affectivity. We use it to denote the energy (seen as a quantitative but not yet measurable quantity) of aspirations related to what we combine with the word “love.” The core of love in our understanding, of course, consists of what is usually called love and sung by poets, that is, sexual love, the completion of which is sexual Union. But we do not separate from it other kinds of love, such as self – love, love for parents and children, friendship, human love in General, as well as do not separate attachment to specific objects and abstract ideas,” Freud writes. According to Freud’s dualistic theory, there are two basic instincts – life (Eros) and death (Thanatos). Libido as energy of the erotic, is opposed to the destructive forces of attraction to death. In the” Short course of psychoanalysis ” Freud points out that the source of libido is a living functioning body as an energy center. Libido is realized if it finds its object. “We see then,” Freud says, ” how the libido concentrates on objects, fixates on them or leaves these objects, passes from them to others, and from these positions directs the sexual activity of the individual, which leads to satisfaction, that is, to satisfaction. the partial temporary extinction of the libido … being taken away from the objects of the libido, remains hovering in a state of tension and finally returns to the “I”…” the Libido is aimed at obtaining maximum pleasure, satisfaction.

The concept of Freud’s personality includes three components: ID, ego and superego. ID is the subconscious, which consists of libido and aggression. Eid seeks to possess everything he wants, which leads to the satisfaction of the libido. To satisfy aggression, Eid is able to destroy all obstacles in its path. Personal development leads to control over the requirements of ID. The ego is the conscious part of the personality. The ego controls the ID. Ego allows the person to satisfy the reasonable requests of ID and suppress the threat. The process of suppression consists in the exclusion from consciousness of unlawful thoughts, desires, memories, motives. They are directed to the subconscious and operate on an unconscious level. And finally, the superego is conscience, understanding of good and evil. The ego “makes sure” that the person does not do bad things, the superego shows how to do it. Superego functioning mainly in the sphere of the subconscious. According to Freud, the essence of human personality is a conflict between ID, ego and superego. Personality depends on which component “wins”.

The personality of each person is unique. And at the same time all people, being representatives of a kind “the person reasonable reasonable”, have a set of identical anatomical, physiological and mental qualities inherent in the person reasonable (about differences between the man and the woman we wrote much in the first section of the book). Personality-a relatively stable system of individual behavior, built primarily on the basis of inclusion in the social context. The core formation of personality is self-esteem, which is based on the individual’s assessments by other people and his assessment of these others [2] . Personality-an alloy of inherited as a result of complex genetic processes of nature and acquired as a result of hard work principles.

The structure of a man’s personality includes biological properties associated with his sex, age and type of higher nervous activity; features of mental processes associated with thinking, memory; habits, skills, knowledge and skills; beliefs, interests, ideas.

At the core of the human personality lies a few fundamental characteristics:

• consciousness;

• thinking;

• articulate speech;

  • learning ability (learning) and memory;
  • intelligence and creativity;

• motivations;

• emotions.

One of the most important properties of personality is responsibility and freedom of choice. A person is free to walk in the way that he chose. This path can lead to health, well-being and happiness, and can lead to disease and unhappiness. “Life and death I offered you, a blessing and a curse. Therefore choose life, that you live, and to thy seed,” – said in the Bible (Deuteronomy, 30:19). Man and mankind at all times concerned with the same question: “Who is man?”The definition of a major modern philosopher-anthropologist A. Espinoza of Cervera sufficiently complete and complies with the current level of various branches of the science of man: “Man is the creature, occupying a special place among the animals, as the individual becomes a person because of their freedom and sociability, and through its spatial-temporal dimension imposes itself to the world as the image of God” (emphasis added. – G. B., E. 3.).

Life is a process of growth and development, both physical and spiritual. Only man is inherent in self-education and spiritual perfection. Buddhism says this very well: “Gradually, little by little, from time to time, the sage should shake off the dirt, like a silversmith – with silver” (Dhammapada, 23a). Personality development continues throughout a person’s life.


Consciousness-this is perhaps the main sign of human existence, which is characterized by a number of criteria, the main ones:

  1. Awareness of one’s self, one’s own individuality and the individuality of others.
  2. Attention and ability to focus on various subjects and phenomena.
  3. The ability to predict.
  4. Abstract thinking.
  5. The ability to Express thoughts through articulate speech or other means.
  6. Availability of ethical and aesthetic values.
  7. Volition.
  8. Human sexuality.

The essence of consciousness is the harmonious unification of the various aspects of mental activity into a single whole. These include feelings, attention, perception, thinking, emotions, motivation. Most modern scientists distinguish two States of consciousness: sleep and wakefulness. It is wakefulness that meets the above criteria.


Thinking is the process of thinking about something, creating an image or an idea. Abstract thinking does not require a specific object or phenomenon. Thinking is the highest form of human cognitive activity, it reflects the reality (the external and internal world of man). The most important feature of human thinking is its connection with articulate speech and memory.

Morpho-physiological basis of consciousness are functioning neurons in the cortex of the brain. Consciousness is generated as a result of a certain functional activity of the Central nervous system in the process of interaction of the cerebral cortex and subcortical structures.

Unique thinking abilities of the person, articulate speech, special human sexuality, ability to learn-all this is not connected with the presence of any special nerve cells. All these features are due to the increase in the number of neural connections and neural networks involved in the processing of information, which provides a high speed of information processing, for example, in learning, extracting information from memory, articulate speech. The frontal cortex is an anatomical substrate of thinking (including abstract).

Articulate speech

Human consciousness is closely connected with articulate speech and depends on it. A person is aware of only those objects and phenomena that turn into verbal symbols.

Most animals communicate with each other using different signals. Articulate speech is unique and different from these signals, which, by the way, exist in humans (for example, grimace or cry of pain), the fact that it conveys not only what is currently in this particular situation, but also what was in the past, what can happen in the future. It conveys information about the experience that the speaker does not have. It is speech that is the instrument of abstract thinking. I. P. Pavlov called it the second signal system, which differs from the first (sense organs) distraction and generalization.

Recall the interhemispheric differences and the works of R. Sperry (see section. The “brain” of Chapter 1), which showed that the isolated left hemisphere is as effective in providing human consciousness and articulate speech as both hemispheres, while the isolated right hemisphere can not provide oral and written speech. However, “it is more correct to speak not about the dominance of the left hemisphere, but about the complementary specialization of both hemispheres with the predominance of speech functions (as a rule) in the left” (R. Schmidt, 1985).

Cortical speech centers are located near the centers of the corresponding analyzers(see section. “Brain” Chapter 1). Thus, Brock’s speech center is located anterior to those parts of the motor analyzer nucleus that control the function of the muscles involved in articulation. More than 100 years ago, p. Broca described the loss of speech – motor aphasia associated with the defeat of the described speech center. In this case, the person understands the speech, but can not pronounce the words. A little later, Wernicke described another type of aphasia (sensory) – a disorder of understanding of oral speech, which develops with the defeat of the speech center of Wernicke – the cortex of the posterior temporal lobe in the zone of the nucleus of the auditory analyzer. In this case, the patient speaks, although slightly distorts the speech. In other words, a person hears the words addressed to him, but does not understand them. When the cortex of the occipital lobe is damaged in the region of the nucleus of the visual center, the patient sees letters and words, but can not recognize them – reading in the native language becomes impossible.

Learning ability (learning) and memory

“Learning – a process that allows you to accumulate information in the nervous system… memory – a set of information acquired by the brain and control behavior,” writes G. Chapoutier (1980). Memory is a sacred gift. The purpose of memory is to preserve the past and gain the fullness of life in the present and future. Memory (among other things) implies responsibility for the creative continuation of the history of mankind and for the preservation in the soul of the images of the departed.

According to G. Korhuber (1973), the total information capacity of the cerebral cortex reaches 3×10 bits, it is enough to store only 1% of the total flow of information that passes through the human brain. Of all the huge flow of information to the brain in memory, fortunately, delayed very little. Without the ability to learn and remember, and without the ability to forget, neither an individual nor a species of “intelligent man”could survive.

The main distinctive feature of human memory is the ability to formulate ideas in the form of verbal symbols and to preserve them in an abstract form.

There are three types of memory (Fig. 2.1).

  • Touch memory. The information received by the senses is stored about 1/4 C, during which the brain decides whether it is necessary to preserve it.
  • Short-term, or primary, memory. If sensory information is needed for the brain, it is processed, integrated and maintained at about 20 C. the Capacity of short-term memory is limited to seven items (5 to 9). If more elements need to be stored in short-term memory, the brain groups them into the appropriate number.

• Long term memory. If the information stored in short-term memory is not needed or used, it is quickly erased. If it is necessary, it is transferred to long-term memory. The more often a person extracts this information, the better it is recorded. This process is called consolidation. Long-term memory depends on how familiar the information is, i.e. the frequency of repetition, the context, the level of motivation, i.e. the need to remember a particular information. Long-term memory is divided into secondary and tertiary.

Students during the session manage to “shove” into their memory a huge amount of information that evaporate immediately after the exam. Patients with so-called senile forgetfulness remember in great detail the events that took place in early childhood or many years ago, but can not keep in mind what was half an hour ago.

Forgetting depends on many reasons: non-use of information stored in memory; age; interference, i.e. interference with the layering of some previous or subsequent information; suppression or active forgetting associated with unconscious mental protection.

According to modern data, memory begins to function in the human fetus 20 weeks after conception. In the experiment, a sound signal was sent through the mother’s abdomen, which the embryo could hear, then the reaction was checked using an ultrasonic scanner. It turned out that the fetus reacts to the noise, slightly moving the body or legs. However, after the fifth signal he “got used” to the repeated sound and could ignore it. When re-sending the signal after 10 minutes and even a day later, the fetus easily recognized the familiar sound. Scientists believe that a person can in principle remember what happened to him in the womb.

Memory is individual and is influenced by many factors. Someone better remembers what he saw, someone-heard. In such cases, talk about visual or auditory memory. It is better to remember the subject of interest. The steadfastness of the memory of the senses is well known. In a state of emotional recovery from memory sometimes called things seemingly long forgotten. Remember the brilliant poetry: “…the memory of the heart. You’re nicer than reason, memory sadder … ” motivation is very important. A person who considers himself absolutely incapable of languages, having got in a foreign country in a stressful situation, when the question is about physical survival, easily learns the language. In many ways, the ability to remember depends on training.

The possibilities of memory are endless. It is believed that an adult can remember from 20 to 100 thousand words. There are people with phenomenal memories. Alexander the great remembered the names of all his soldiers. Academician Abram Ioffe knew by heart the whole table of logarithms. Mozart only had to hear a piece of music once to perform it and write it down on paper. After listening to “Miserere” Allegri (in 9 parts), he was able to write down the entire score of this work, which was kept secret by the Vatican. At the second listening Mozart found in his record only a few wrong notes. The same musical memory possessed and Sergei Rachmaninoff. Conductor Arturo Toscanini remembered every note from 400 scores. Winston Churchill knew almost all of Shakespeare by heart. Dominic O’brien from Britain was able to remember the location of shuffled cards in one deck for 38 s. bill gates remembers hundreds of codes he created programming language.

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