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Let’s Talk Mental Illness

mental illness

The state of a person’s mental health is what determines how the person thinks, feels, and behaves. Just as we suffer physical illnesses, we can also have mental illnesses. A person is considered to have a mental illness if he or she is unable to cope with challenges and daily activities and/or poses a serious danger to other people’s health and safety. The inability to cope with daily activities usually causes frequent distress and affects the person’s ability to think, behave appropriately and relate with others.

Types of Mental Illnesses

Mental health illnesses are divided into two broad groups, which are: psychoses and neuroses. Psychoses are mental disorders that have severe symptoms such as hallucinations, delusions, and the inability to reason in an objective manner.

Examples of psychoses are schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Compared to psychoses, neuroses are less severe and quite treatable. Examples of neuroses are depression, anxiety disorder, paranoia, obsessive compulsion disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. The most common types of mental illnesses found in society today are as follows:

Anxiety Disorders

Individuals suffering from these disorders usually experience crippling fear, restlessness, uneasiness, and worry that makes it difficult for them to cope with their daily activities. Examples of anxiety disorders are generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, social phobia, and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Mood Disorders

These typically throw the emotional state of the affected individual out of balance. Symptoms of mood disorders include persistent and deep sadness, anger, or happiness. Examples of mood disorders are depression, bipolar disorder, dysthymia, and substance-induced mood disorder.

Psychotic Disorders

these are a class of severe mental illnesses that mess up the mind and make it hard for the affected individual to think clearly. Symptoms of psychosis are hallucinations, delusion, agitation, and incoherent talking. Because they have lost contact with reality, affected individuals are usually unaware of their behaviors.

Examples of psychotic disorders are schizophrenia, schizophreniform disorder, and schizoaffective disorder.

Eating Disorders

These are serious eating behaviors that negatively affect one’s health, emotion, and ability to function in important aspects of life. Examples of eating disorders are anorexia, bulimia nervosa, avoidant food intake disorder, and binge eating.

These disorders are most common in females who are in the adolescent or young adult stage. Affected individuals are usually preoccupied with how the foods they eat affect their weights and shapes.

Impulse Control and Addiction Disorders:

These are serious mental illnesses in which the affected person finds it impossible to exercise self-control and this usually leads to disruption in personal, family, and social life. An individual is said to be suffering from Impulse control disorders if the person cannot resist the urge to engage in certain harmful and destructive behaviors.

Examples of impulse control disorders are pyromania (starting fires), kleptomania (stealing), compulsive buying, pathological gambling, and aggression. Examples of impulse addiction disorders are abuse and misuse of drugs and alcohol.

Obsessive-compulsive Disorders:

OCD is a mental illness

People suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorders often have uncontrollable, recurring, and unreasonable thoughts and fears that result in compulsive behaviors. Examples of compulsive behaviors are washing hands repeatedly (to the point of bleeding) for fear of germs, and continuously checking a locked door to ensure that it is actually locked.

Post-traumatic Stress Disorders:

These are mental conditions that are caused by terrifying events that a person experienced or witnessed. Such experiences are usually scary, shocking, life-threatening, and dangerous. The events usually have negative effects on the physical, mental, social, and spiritual well-being of the affected individuals. Examples of traumatic events are fatal accidents, war, rape, natural disasters, bullying, and domestic violence.

Common Symptoms of Mental Illnesses

Although each mental disorder has its specific symptoms, there are some symptoms that are common to all mental illnesses, examples of such symptoms include:

  • Inability to cope with daily activities.
  • Change in eating habits.
  • Change in sleeping pattern.
  • Substance abuse.
  • Long-term negative moods
  • Constant outbursts of anger.
  • Loss of interest in social activities.
  • Self-isolation.
  • Excessive worrying.
  • Hearing voices or seeing things.
  • Regular nightmares.

Getting the Needed Care

mental health assessment

Mental illnesses are normally diagnosed based on signs and symptoms. If a doctor decides that an individual has symptoms of a mental illness, further examinations, which can include medical, developmental history, family history, and physical assessment, will be carried out.

Based on the results of the examination, the affected individual will be referred to psychologists or psychiatrists, who are specialists in diagnosing and treating mental illnesses.

Parting Shot

Just because mental illnesses are not as obvious as physical illnesses do not mean that mental disorders are less deserving of recognition and appropriate treatments. If you know that you ought to see a mental health professional, then make that visit today and create a brighter tomorrow for yourself, your family, and the society at large.

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