Happy World Mental Health Day.
The first thing that comes to the mind of some people when they hear of mental disorder is the mad people on the streets. That may not be totally true., we will get to know from this article
World Mental Health Day, celebrated every October 10th, is an opportunity for the world and communities to unite behind the the term Mental health; it’s a collective step towards a healthier, more understanding world.
What is mental health all about? It includes our emotional, psychological and social wellbeing. It affects how we think, feel and act. It also help us to determine how we handle stress, relate to others and make healthy choices.
There are several commonly held beliefs and misconceptions about mental health. Here are some examples.
MYTH1: Bad parenting causes adolescents to have mental health conditions. Fat lie.
FACT 1 : Many adverse experiences and factors may influence a person’s mental health and well-being. Adolescents’ relationships with their parents and family are just one factor. A person raised in supportive and loving homes and those raised in homes maintained by caregivers who need mental support can experience mental health difficulties equally.
MYTH 2: A person with a mental health condition has low intelligence.
FACT 2: Mental illnesses can affect anybody regardless of intelligence, income, or social status.
MYTH 3 Teenagers do not have mental health issues. They just have mood swings due to their fluctuating hormones.
FACT 3 While it is true that teenagers often have mood swings, it does not mean that they cannot have mental health issues. Half of all mental health conditions begin by age 14.
MYTH 4: People with mental health illnesses are dangerous, violent, and unpredictable.
FACT 4 : Many people are quick to label people doing mass violence and crime as “mentally ill.” However, crimes committed by people with serious mental health disorders only make up 5% of all violent crimes.
Before we continue with other myths and facts lets quickly talk about:
Types of Mental disorder
1. Mood disorder such as depression or bipolar disorder
2. Anxiety disorders. This deals with excessive uncontrollable worry about everyday issues such as health, work or finances.
3. Personality disorders e.g zero interest in social relationship, excessive paranoidial or suspicion about everybody.
4. Psychotic disorders (such as schizophrenia, madness)
5. Eating disorders. These set can eat for Africa even when not hungry and are excessively excited when they see food, also people for fear of not gaining weight could almost starve themselves until they are emaciated and sickly.
6. Trauma-related disorders (such as post-traumatic stress disorder). It happens when memories of fear, anxiety and traumatic events don’t go away. The feeling last for a long time and interfer with how people cope with everyday life
7. Substance abuse disorders. “The Kolos” comes to mind right? This disorder is related to people who abuse substances. Drug abuses such as heroin, cocaine etc.
- Suicidal thoughts is a form of mental disorder : If you have someone around stay with the person until professional help arrives , listen to the person without judgement and try to remove any weapons, medications, or other potentially harmful objects. Up to 1 in 12 people with mental illness have felt suicidal.. Seek help immediately if you have suicidal thoughts.
No physical test or scan reliably indicates whether a person has developed a mental illness. However, people should look out for the following as possible signs of a mental health disorder:
- withdrawing from friends, family, and colleagues
- avoiding activities they would normally enjoy
- sleeping too little
- Sleeping excessively
- eating too much
- Eating too little
- feeling hopeless
- having consistently low energy
- using mood-altering substances, including alcohol and nicotine, more frequently
- displaying negative emotions
- being confused
- being unable to complete daily tasks, such as getting to work or cooking a meal
- having persistent thoughts or memories that reappear regularly
- thinking of causing physical harm to themselves or others
- hearing voices
- experiencing delusions
Practicing self-care can help improve a person’s mental health by reducing a person’s risk of illness, increasing energy levels, and managing stress
- Regular exercise: Exercising for 45 minutes, three to five times a week, improve mental health.
- Eat a balanced diet and stay hydrated: Eating a nourishing, balanced diet and staying hydrated can give a constant supply of energy throughout the day.
- Aim for good-quality sleep: A 2021 review of multiple studies found that more significant improvements in sleep quality led to greater improvements in a person’s mental health.
- Perform relaxing activities: Breathing exercises, meditation, wellness apps, and journaling can help reduce stress and improve overall health and well-being.
- Practice gratefulness: People can practice mindfulness and gratitude by actively identifying things they are grateful for daily.
- Challenge negative thoughts: A person can practice positivity by becoming aware of their negative and unhelpful thoughts and challenging them.
- Look for positive social interactions: Connecting and maintaining meaningful connections and relationships reduces stress and can also be a source of support and practical help in times of need.
Causes of mental illness?
Researchers are still trying to understand what causes mental illness. There is not simply one cause, and often it is a complex mix of factors. These can include genetics and aspects of social learning, such as how you grew up.
It can also be impacted by how your brain works and the interplay with your environment. Your social group, your culture and life experience can also play a part in the development of a mental illness.
Some examples of these factors include:
- Genetic factors — having a close family member with a mental illness can increase the chance that you might get a mental illness. However, just because one family member has a mental illness doesn’t mean that others will.
- Drug and alcohol abuse — illicit drug use can trigger a manic episode (bipolar disorder) or an episode of psychosis. Drugs such as cocaine, marijuana and amphetamines can cause paranoia.
- Other biological factors — some medical conditions or hormonal changes can cause mental health problems.
- Early life environment — negative childhood experiences can increase the risk of some mental illnesses. Examples of negative childhood experiences are abuse or neglect.
- Trauma and stress — in adulthood, traumatic life events or ongoing stress can increase the risk of mental illness. Issues such as social isolation, domestic violence, relationship breakdown, financial or work problems can impact on mental health. Traumatic experiences such as living in a war zone can increase the risk of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
- Personality factors — some traits such as perfectionism or low self-esteem can increase the risk of depression or anxiety.
How is mental illness diagnosed?
Mental illness can be diagnosed by talking to your health professional in detail about your symptoms.
It may be helpful to bring along a family member or carer when you see your physician.
Your physician will ask questions about your thoughts and mood. They will also ask about your behaviours and if anything is worrying you. Some experiences can increase the chance of developing a mental illness.
There are generally no blood tests or brain scans that can confirm a mental illness. But your physician may suggest getting these tests done, as the results can help rule out other causes for your symptoms.
The symptoms of different mental illnesses are described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). This manual is used by physicians to help diagnose mental illnesses.
Your physician may refer you to:
- a specialist physician in mental illness (a psychiatrist)
- a psychologist
- another specialised service
How is mental illness treated?
Mental illness is treatable. Most people with mental illness recover and live productive and happy lives.
Treatment is different for each type of mental illness. It can vary according to the individual and how serious the symptoms are. It can also depend on your past history of illness. The main types of treatment include the following.
There are many different types of psychotherapy. Some examples are:
- supportive therapy
- cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT)
- psychodynamic therapy
- interpersonal therapy
- acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
Other therapies are group, couple and family therapy.
Medicines can be used in the treatment of mental illness.
- Antidepressants can be used for anxiety or depression.
- Mood stabilisers are used for bipolar disorder.
- Antipsychotic medicines are used for schizophrenia or psychosis.
- Exercise is known to help ease or prevent anxiety and depression.
- A healthy diet and good nutrition are also important.
- Maintaining good social support is important.
- People should avoid illicit drugs and alcohol.
Complementary therapies for mental illness can include:
Community programs can help with practical aspects of life such as employment, education and training, and accommodation. They can be helpful for people with mental illness that is long-term.
Sometimes mental illness is severe, with a risk of suicide. In these cases, treatment may involve hospital assessment and maybe admission.
Can mental illness be prevented?
Good mental health can be boosted by positive things in life such as:
- having support from family, friends and the community
- having a strong sense of identity and culture
- having a healthy body, by eating a healthy diet and exercising
- reducing stress if possible
- being optimistic
- developing adaptive ways of coping with life’s problems
- getting support
Complications of mental illness
Mental illness can attract stigma and discrimination. These are 2 of the biggest problems for people with mental health issues.
Other myths and facts:
Myth: People with mental health needs cannot keep and perform well in a job.
Fact: People with mental health conditions can perform well in a jobTrusted Source, especially in a supportive workplace that supports and promotes mental health.
Myth: People with bipolar disorder are moody.
Fact: Bipolar cycles last from weeks to months and do not change as fast as people’s moods often do.
Myth: A person with a mental health condition is weak. Such conditions would not affect strong people.
Fact: Having a mental health condition is beyond choice or willpower. Anyone can have a mental health condition.
Myth: Psychiatric medications are harmful.
Fact: Mental illnesses, like other health conditions, are real illnesses. These medications may be necessary to help them function normally, ease their symptoms, and improve their quality of life. They are not harmful or an “excuse” for people to avoid dealing with their problems.
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Everymind (Understanding mental health, mental ill-health and suicide), Beyond Blue (Anxiety), SANE Australia (Treatments for mental health issues), Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) (Mental health: prevalence and impact), National Institute of Mental Health (Caring for your mental health), SANE Australia (The facts about mental health issues), SANE Australia (Is someone you know unwell?)