World Mental Health Day
“If only” is a phrase we hear too often in mental health. If only we knew what was going on. If only they knew they weren’t alone.
If only we had recognized the signs.
If only we were admitted to treatment. If only….
Unfortunately, the conversation becomes short after tragedy strikes, then suicides, homelessness, unemployment, and incarceration has already taken its course.
Studies shows time and time again that people are able to prevent or reduce the effects of mental illness and allow individuals to live productive lives in their community.
From the influence of genetics and prenatal health all the way into early adulthood, studies show more about the critical points in brain development and life experiences that increase the risk for or provide protection against the development of mental health disorders.
Mental illness refers to a wide range of mental health conditions — disorders that affect your mood, thinking and behavior.
Many people have mental health concerns from time to time. But a mental health concern becomes a mental illness when ongoing signs and symptoms cause frequent stress and affect your ability to function.
A mental illness can make a person miserable and can cause problems in life, such as at school or work or in relationships. In most cases, symptoms can be managed with a combination of medications and talk therapy (psychotherapy).
What Are the Types of Mental Health Disorders?
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is characterized by an inability to remain focused on task, impulsive behavior, and excessive activity or an inability to sit still. Although this disorder is most commonly diagnosed in children, it can occur in adults as well.
Anxiety disorder is defined by intermittent and repeated attacks of intense fear of something bad happening or a sense of impending doom.
Bipolar disorder causes a periodic cycling of emotional states between manic and depressive phases. Manic phases contain periods of extreme activity and heightened emotions, whereas depressive phases are characterized by lethargy and sadness. The cycles do not tend to occur instantly.
Depression covers a wide range of conditions, typically defined by a persistent bad mood and lack of interest in pursuing daily life, as well as bouts of lethargy and fatigue. Dysthymia is a milder but longer-lasting form of depression.
Schizophrenia is not, as commonly thought, solely about hearing voices or having multiple personalities. Instead, it is defined by a lack of ability to distinguish reality. Schizophrenia can cause paranoia and belief in elaborate conspiracies.
Mental health problems can cause a wide variety of emotional symptoms, some of which include:
- Changes in mood
- Erratic thinking
- Chronic anxiety
- Exaggerated sense of self-worth
- Impulsive actions
Physical Symptoms of Mental Health Problems
Mental health problems typically do not cause physical symptoms in and of themselves. Depression, however, can indirectly cause weight loss, fatigue and loss of libido, among others.
Eating disorders, a separate class of mental health disorders, can cause malnutrition, weight loss, amenorrhea in women, or electrolyte imbalances caused by self-induced vomiting. This makes eating disorders among the most deadly of mental health disorders.
It is hard, bordering on impossible, to accurately diagnose yourself for mental disorders with an online questionnaire. You do not have an objective view of yourself and are bound to answer questions inaccurately.
Also, online tests are not comprehensive, so they do not check for all possible symptoms. Only a face-to-face session with a qualified mental health professional can begin to diagnose a mental health disorder with any degree of accuracy, because that professional has an outside viewpoint and can pick up on subtle cues.
It’s important that you or your loved one should seek help to treat mental health issue. First, a physical checkup can rule out physical illnesses. An appointment with a mental health professional will usually include an interview and subsequent evaluation to determine the most obvious symptoms and to ascertain the type and severity of mental disorder. In certain cases, an intervention may be required from family and friends.
If you or someone you know needs help, seek professional help at your nearest Behavioral Clinic.