Tangible diseases are easy to understand. Sore throat and runny nose? You probably have a cold. Vomiting and fever? Could be food poisoning. But what about illnesses you can’t see but only feel? What about mental fatigue that prevents you from getting out of bed? These are all real symptoms which affect people daily.
Many of us suffer from a mental illness but never understand what it is. So what is it exactly? Mental illness, also known as mental health disorders, refers to a very wide range of mental health conditions. These conditions affect your mood, thinking and even behavior. We all have mental health concerns that are temporary. But this concern can transition into a mental illness when the signs and symptoms persist for a long period of time and affect your ability to function. A mental illness can make you feel miserable and interrupt your work, relationship and school.
Mental illness can be affected by factors such as genetics, environment and daily habits. Genetics can actually play a big part in mental illnesses as some illness are hereditary. Other than genetics, external causes such as abuse or trauma can have a long-lasting effect on a person and could lead to a mental illness. Some other factors include infections that cause brain damage and even brain defects that could alter the functioning of the brain. Prenatal damage to the brain can result in conditions such as autism spectrum disorder.
Mental illnesses are difficult to diagnose as there are no obvious external symptoms and sometimes it’s symptoms are excused as a person being lazy, always irritated or annoyed. Most major mental illnesses have early symptoms that can be recognized before it gets worse. Some of the symptoms include dramatic sleep and appetite changes, rapid mood swings, apathy, nervousness and unusual behavior.
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Most people also report feelings disconnected from themselves or reality and problems with concentration and memory as well. if you are experiencing several of these symptoms at once and are facing difficulty in functioning normally, then contacting a physician or mental health professional would be highly recommended. There is no shame in reaching out for help because it could change your life and help you feel a lot better. A better life is what everyone wants.
Luckily, the stigma around mental illness has been fading gradually. And there are many treatments available to people who suffer from a disorder. The most common forms of treatment are talk therapy and psychiatric medication.
Talk therapy, AKA psychotherapy, is a place where an individual can talk about their thoughts and experiences which help ease difficult feelings or memories. A therapist accompanies you through each session and helps you develop better ways of living day-today. Talking can turn to be advantageous since it makes a person’s vision and thinking process more rational and well-connected to reality.
The other method of treatment is medication. Medication doesn’t necessarily cure mental health problems but they greatly ease the symptoms which makes the illness more manageable. There are many types of medications. For example, antidepressants, sleeping pills, minor tranquillizers and mood stabilizers. Sometimes, these drugs can have unpleasant side effects which make you feel worse than before, which is why it takes some trial and error to find the right one.
Mental health should be taken seriously as it can effect one in five 13-18 year olds and about one in 25 adults. It should not be seen as a taboo subject as treatment is available at our disposal. Who knows, maybe someone’s words of encouragement could save a life. It’s important to include healthy habits such as therapy in our daily lives since there is no harm in it. Recovery from these illnesses is possible with the right mindset and supportive peers.
Until Next Time,
Team Doctor ASKY!