Why Do People Think "Mentally Disabled" Means Retarded?

I have Bipolar I, but I am higher functioning than others.

I consider myself slightly above average intelligence as well.

But still, Social Security deems me as Mentally Disabled.

So if that term is used with a social worker, etc. they think I'm not articulate and totally detached from reality.

Some tend to be condescending, which leads to a passive aggressive pissing match, and nothing gets accomplished.

9 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    Mentally disabled is a nonsensical term to be used by no one but in the Social Security field because they define it.

    Mentally disabled has no real meaning at all - it could mean any type of disability that effects your mental funtioning. People who are gifted are by Social Security's definition mentally disabled.

    So stop using the term to define your self. (And stop using the word retarded - it is offensive.) From a previous post I see you are bi-polar ----- that is a term that means something. It still does explain your disability 100% but it gives a much clearer picture.

    People who are given the medical label of having the diagnosis of mental retardation are people with cognitvie or intellectual disabilities. The diagnostic term of mental retardation is going to be retired in the next DSM which is where most of these diagnosis come from. (But not mentally disabled - that is not used as a diagnosis.)

    Your confusion over the meaning of the term is the same reason others are confused.

  • 1 decade ago


    It's because there are specific terms which are given to disorders, such as Bipolar, (OCD, ADHD, etc.) that the term "mentally disabled" is often used to describe more serious conditions, such as mental retardation - which has more varied symptoms, that are harder to enumerate and fully comprehend. People also struggle to be "PC" and use the "nicer" term (mentally disabled) to refer to retardation. We should be able to expect more from our government employees; i.e. social workers - than to have them make such an offensive mistake. One would like to think that in dealing with people of all kinds on a daily basis, they might develop a bit of "bedside manner", but sadly this is often not the case. At the very least, however, I'd like to point out that anyone with the smallest shred of common sense would be intelligent and tactful enough to keep their condescending manner in reserve until they saw what sort of disorder it is that the person across the table from them actually has, and to what degree, if any, it manifests itself in their personality. Many people who have disorders are completely normal individuals whose symptoms have little or no bearing on their public persona, additude, or disposition. Only a piece of paper and a prescription indicates for sure that there is even any disorder at all. I personally would like to see our tax dollars go toward training in public relations and civility for our less-than-professional government employees. Good luck with your fight to be treated normally! Know that you are not alone in thinking this should be the rule and not the exception.

  • 1 decade ago

    The term itself is kind of a misnomer. It seems to infer that the person is drooling vegetable, when in reality the person may just have some relatively minor disability. It's misleading at best and insulting at worst.

  • ?
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    It's just a matter of confused semantics. Mentally disabled is a common euphemism for retarded; it just seems social security needs to get its terminology right.

  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • 1 decade ago

    People don't understand what they're saying. There is no such thing as being retarded. People who refer to mentally disabled people as being retarted, don't know what they're saying.

  • 1 decade ago

    mentally disable is a way of saying your brain doesn't function correctly so they probably think your dumb, don't care what other people say or think.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Political Correctness.

    We can no longer use straightforward, commonly understood terms. We have to keep changing words to fit someone's idea of proper terminology. It gets confusing, obviously.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    if you are deemed Mentally disabled, and you are above average intelligence, then take full advantage of all the benefits that they have to offer.

  • popper
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    they are not intellegent enough to know the difference

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.