Mental illness, also called mental health disorders, refers to a wide range of mental health conditions — disorders that affect your mood, thinking and behavior. Examples of mental illness include depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders and addictive behaviors.
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 you miserable and can cause problems in your daily 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).
Signs and symptoms of mental illness can vary, depending on the disorder, circumstances and other factors. Mental illness symptoms can affect emotions, thoughts and behaviors.
Examples of signs and symptoms include:
- Feeling sad or down
- Confused thinking or reduced ability to concentrate
- Excessive fears or worries, or extreme feelings of guilt
- Extreme mood changes of highs and lows
- Withdrawal from friends and activities
- Significant tiredness, low energy or problems sleeping
- Detachment from reality (delusions), paranoia or hallucinations
- Inability to cope with daily problems or stress
- Trouble understanding and relating to situations and to people
- Problems with alcohol or drug use
- Major changes in eating habits
- Sex drive changes
- Excessive anger, hostility or violence
- Suicidal thinking
Sometimes symptoms of a mental health disorder appear as physical problems, such as stomach pain, back pain, headaches, or other unexplained aches and pains.
Suicidal thoughts and behavior are common with some mental illnesses.
Mental illnesses, in general, are thought to be caused by a variety of genetic and environmental factors:
Inherited traits: - Mental illness is more common in people whose blood relatives also have a mental illness. Certain genes may increase your risk of developing a mental illness, and your life situation may trigger it.
Environmental exposures before birth. Exposure to environmental stressors, inflammatory conditions, toxins, alcohol or drugs while in the womb can sometimes be linked to mental illness.
Brain chemistry. Neurotransmitters are naturally occurring brain chemicals that carry signals to other parts of your brain and body. When the neural networks involving these chemicals are impaired, the function of nerve receptors and nerve systems change, leading to depression and other emotional disorders.
RISK FACTORS: -
Certain factors may increase your risk of developing a mental illness, including: -
- A history of mental illness in a blood relative, such as a parent or sibling.
- Stressful life situations, such as financial problems, a loved one's death or a divorce
- An ongoing (chronic) medical condition, such as diabetes
- Brain damage as a result of a serious injury (traumatic brain injury), such as a violent blow to the head
- Traumatic experiences, such as military combat or assault
- Use of alcohol or recreational drugs
- A childhood history of abuse or neglect
- Few friends or few healthy relationships
- A previous mental illness
Mental illness is common. About 1 in 5 adults has a mental illness in any given year. Mental illness can begin at any age, from childhood through later adult years, but most cases begin earlier in life.
The effects of mental illness can be temporary or long lasting. You also can have more than one mental health disorder at the same time. For example, you may have depression and a substance use disorder.
Mental illness is a leading cause of disability. Untreated mental illness can cause severe emotional, behavioral and physical health problems.
Complications sometimes linked to mental illness include:
- Unhappiness and decreased enjoyment of life
- Family conflicts
- Relationship difficulties
- Social isolation
- Problems with tobacco, alcohol and other drugs
- Missed work or school, or other problems related to work or school
- Legal and financial problems
- Poverty and homelessness
- Self-harm and harm to others, including suicide or homicide
- Weakened immune system, so your body has a hard time resisting infections
- Heart disease and other medical conditions.
There's no sure way to prevent mental illness. However, if you have a mental illness, taking steps to control stress, to increase your resilience and to boost low self-esteem may help keep your symptoms under control.
STEPS TO BE FOLLOWED:
Pay attention to warning signs. Work with your doctor or therapist to learn what might trigger your symptoms. Make a plan so that you know what to do if symptoms return. Contact your doctor or therapist if you notice any changes in symptoms or how you feel. Consider involving family members or friends to watch for warning signs.
Get routine medical care. Don't neglect checkups or skip visits to your health care provider, especially if you aren't feeling well. You may have a new health problem that needs to be treated, or you may be experiencing side effects of medication.
Get help when you need it. Mental health conditions can be harder to treat if you wait until symptoms get bad. Long-term maintenance treatment also may help prevent a relapse of symptoms.
Take good care of yourself. Sufficient sleep, healthy eating and regular physical activity are important. Try to maintain a regular schedule. Talk to your primary care provider if you have trouble sleeping or if you have questions about diet and physical activity.
There are many different categories of mental disorder, and many different facets of human behavior and personality that can become disordered.
ANXIETY DISORDER: -
An anxiety disorder is anxiety or fear that interferes with normal functioning may be classified as an anxiety disorder.Commonly recognized categories include specific phobias, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, agoraphobia, obsessive–compulsive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.
MOOD DISORDER: -
Other affective (emotion/mood) processes can also become disordered. Mood disorder involving unusually intense and sustained sadness, melancholia, or despair is known as major depression (also known as unipolar or clinical depression). Milder, but still prolonged depression, can be diagnosed as dysthymia. Bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression) involves abnormally "high" or pressured mood states, known as mania or hypomania, alternating with normal or depressed moods. The extent to which unipolar and bipolar mood phenomena represent distinct categories of disorder, or mix and merge along a dimension or spectrum of mood, is subject to some scientific debate.
PSYCHOTIC DISORDER: -
Patterns of belief, language use and perception of reality can become dysregulated (e.g., delusions, thought disorder, hallucinations). Psychotic disorders in this domain include schizophrenia, and delusional disorder. Schizoaffective disorder is a category used for individuals showing aspects of both schizophrenia and affective disorders. Schizotypy is a category used for individuals showing some of the characteristics associated with schizophrenia, but without meeting cutoff criteria.
Personality—the fundamental characteristics of a person that influence thoughts and behaviors across situations and time—may be considered disordered if judged to be abnormally rigid and maladaptive. Although treated separately by some, the commonly used categorical schemes include them as mental disorders, albeit on a separate axis II in the case of the DSM-IV. A number of different personality disorders are listed, including those sometimes classed as eccentric, such as paranoid, schizoid and schizotypal personality disorders; types that have described as dramatic or emotional, such as antisocial, borderline, histrionic or narcissistic personality disorders; and those sometimes classed as fear-related, such as anxious-avoidant, dependent, or obsessive–compulsive personality disorders. Personality disorders, in general, are defined as emerging in childhood, or at least by adolescence or early adulthood. The ICD also has a category for enduring personality change after a catastrophic experience or psychiatric illness. If an inability to sufficiently adjust to life circumstances begins within three months of a particular event or situation, and ends within six months after the stressor stops or is eliminated, it may instead be classed as an adjustment disorder. There is an emerging consensus that personality disorders, similar to personality traits in general, incorporate a mixture of acute dysfunctional behaviors that may resolve in short periods, and maladaptive temperamental traits that are more enduring. Furthermore, there are also non-categorical schemes that rate all individuals via a profile of different dimensions of personality without a symptom-based cutoff from normal personality variation, for example through schemes based on dimensional models.
Eating disorder: - Eating disorders involve disproportionate concern in matters of food and weight. Categories of disorder in this area include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, exercise bulimia or binge eating disorder.
SLEEP DISORDER: -
Sleep disorders are associated with disruption to normal sleep patterns. A common sleep disorder is insomnia, which is described as difficulty falling and/or staying asleep. Other sleep disorders include narcolepsy, sleep apnea, REM sleep behavior disorder, chronic sleep deprivation, and restless leg syndrome.
Narcolepsy is a condition of extreme tendencies to fall asleep whenever and wherever. People with narcolepsy feel refreshed after their random sleep, but eventually get sleepy again. Narcolepsy diagnosis requires an overnight stay at a sleep center for analysis, during which doctors ask for a detailed sleep history and sleep records. Doctors also use actigraphs and polysomnography. Doctors will do a multiple sleep latency test, which measures how long it takes a person to fall asleep.
Sleep apnea, when breathing repeatedly stops and starts during sleep, can be a serious sleep disorder. Three types of sleep apnea include obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, and complex sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can be diagnosed at home or with polysomnography at a sleep center. An ear, nose, and throat doctor may further help with the sleeping habits.
SEXUALITY RELATED: -
Sexual disorders include dyspareunia and various kinds of paraphilia (sexual arousal to objects, situations, or individuals that are considered abnormal or harmful to the person or others).
Other:- Impulse control disorder: People who are abnormally unable to resist certain urges or impulses that could be harmful to themselves or others, may be classified as having an impulse control disorder, and disorders such as kleptomania (stealing) or pyromania (fire-setting). Various behavioral addictions, such as gambling addiction, may be classed as a disorder. Obsessive–compulsive disorder can sometimes involve an inability to resist certain acts but is classed separately as being primarily an anxiety disorder.
Substance use disorder: This disorder refers to the use of drugs (legal or illegal, including alcohol) that persists despite significant problems or harm related to its use. Substance dependence and substance abuse fall under this umbrella category in the DSM. Substance use disorder may be due to a pattern of compulsive and repetitive use of a drug that results in tolerance to its effects and withdrawal symptoms when use is reduced or stopped.
Dissociative disorder: People with severe disturbances of their self-identity, memory, and general awareness of themselves and their surroundings may be classified as having these types of disorders, including depersonalization disorder or dissociative identity disorder (which was previously referred to as multiple personality disorder or "split personality").
Cognitive disorder: These affect cognitive abilities, including learning and memory. This category includes delirium and mild and major neurocognitive disorder (previously termed dementia).
Developmental disorder: These disorders initially occur in childhood. Some examples include autism spectrum disorder, oppositional defiant disorder and conduct disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which may continue into adulthood. Conduct disorder, if continuing into adulthood, may be diagnosed as antisocial personality disorder (dissocial personality disorder in the ICD). Popular labels such as psychopath (or sociopath) do not appear in the DSM or ICD but are linked by some to these diagnoses.
Somatoform disorders: - may be diagnosed when there are problems that appear to originate in the body that are thought to be manifestations of a mental disorder. This includes somatization disorder and conversion disorder. There are also disorders of how a person perceives their body, such as body dysmorphic disorder. Neurasthenia is an old diagnosis involving somatic complaints as well as fatigue and low spirits/depression, which is officially recognized by the ICD-10 but no longer by the DSM-IV.
Factitious disorders are diagnosed where symptoms are thought to be reported for personal gain. Symptoms are often deliberately produced or feigned, and may relate to either symptoms in the individual or in someone close to them, particularly people they care for.
There are attempts to introduce a category of relational disorder, where the diagnosis is of a relationship rather than on any one individual in that relationship. The relationship may be between children and their parents, between couples, or others. There already exists, under the category of psychosis, a diagnosis of shared psychotic disorder where two or more individuals share a particular delusion because of their close relationship with each other.
There are a number of uncommon psychiatric syndromes, which are often named after the person who first described them, such as Capgras syndrome, De Clerambault syndrome, Othello syndrome, Ganser syndrome, Cotard delusion, and Ekbom syndrome, and additional disorders such as the Couvade syndrome and Geschwind syndrome.
APPROACH OF HOMOEOPATHIC REMEDIES AND ITS VASTNESS IN CONQUERING MENTAL ILLNESSES: -
Several homoeopathic medicines are effective in the management of mental Illnesses and the symptoms associated with it. Some of these remedies include:-
Ignatia amara:- It primarily works on emotions and is used to manage conditions that occur due to hampering of mental condition. There is feeling of deep sadness without any cause alongwith sighing and sobbing. A feeling of heaviness in the head. Effects of grief, shock, disappointment and worry, for example, insomnia due to grief. Twitching of limbs while falling asleep.
Phosphoric acid:- The symptoms are: Impaired memory, delirium with shock, effects of mental shock and grief. Heaviness of the head with a crushing headache. Loss of interest in activities. Thinning and greying of hairs. Vertigo in the evening, while walking and standing. Drowsiness.
Pulsatilla pratensis:- Fear of being alone in the evening and fear of ghosts. Feeling sad for no reason. Fond of sympathy. Easily encouraged. Stitching pain in the head which travels to face and teeth. Excessive sleepiness in the afternoon.
Anacardium:- Hallucinations. Anxiety while walking,as if person is being followed. A profound feeling of sadness with no reason. Absent mindedness. Vertigo. Brain fag.
Sepia:- Irritability. Extreme sadness. Weeping while telling the symptoms. Anxiousness in the evening.
Belladonna:- Hallucinations and illusions, the person sees gruesome faces and monsters. A desire to escape. Absent mindedness. Fainting. Screaming in sleep. Sleepiness with drowsiness.
Hyoscyamus:- The symptoms are jealousy and foolishness. Obscene and lascivious mania. Laughing at everything. Delirium with a desire and attempt to escape. Sleeplessness.
Cannabis:- There are hallucinations and imaginations. Forgetfulness and inability to complete sentences. Delirium. Uncontrollable laughter. Anxiety and depression. Constant fear of madness.
Aurum met:- Extreme sensitivity to noise. Excitement and confusion. Blaming oneself for everything. Fear of people and society. Sleeplessness. Sobbing aloud in sleep. Nightmares