Understanding Mental Illness

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Mental illness is often misunderstood. For centuries, it has been seen as either possession by evil spirits, a moral weakness or punishment from a higher being. Those suffering from mental illness are commonly perceived to be restless, violent and unpredictable.

THIS IS FAR FROM THE TRUTH

There are many forms of mental illness that differ in severity, duration and degree. It is a disturbance of the mind which can affect thinking, feeling and behavior that may interfere with normal functioning, and thus make daily life difficult. Most mental illness can be treated so that a reasonable state of health can be enjoyed. Like physical illness, mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of.  IT IS NOT ANYONE’s FAULT.

SYMPTOMS 

Mental illness is identified by symptoms. These include anxiety, depression, intense fear, thought disturbances, paranoia, delusions (false beliefs), hallucinations and unusual elation.

CAUSES

It is unclear what causes mental disturbances. It is often preceded by emotional stress and difficulty coping with conflict or adjusting to adverse events. Other factors are biochemical imbalance, deterioration of brain cells (especially in elderly people) and alcohol or drug abuse.

TYPES

    1. MINOR MENTAL ILLNESS (NEUROSIS)

 

Best understood as exaggerated emotional responses that the sufferer is aware of, yet unable to control. Very often related to stress.

    1. MAJOR MENTAL ILLNESS (PSYCHOSES)

 

      • Organic Psychoses – In the organic psychoses, there is a demonstrable physical or structural injury to the brain or central nervous system such as head injury, brain tumor, syphilis and brain hemorrhage due to strokes and alcoholism.

 

    1. Functional Psychoses – in the functional psychoses, doctors do not know yet the exact cause. The cause may be in the patient’s early emotional experiences, his physical make-up or his environment. Most likely, it is a combination of all these factors that is responsible.

 

Several Types of Mental Illness includes:

Anxiety Disorder

Bipolar Disorder

Depression

Schizophrenia