Mental illness is a wide term that is used to describe a wide range of disorders affecting the brain which result in abnormal behaviour and thought processes in affected individuals. Recent evidence and research has shed a lot of light and our understanding has shifted from the idea that spirituality and mysticism was responsible for mental illnesses. We now know that the underlying cause for most of these is abnormal transmission of chemical transmitters such as dopamine and serotonin.
Common mental illnesses can be treated easily with medication but others which are more serious require more intensive treatment. Mental Health: The mental health of an individual refers to their state of mind and emotional well being (or an absence of a mental disorder). Mental health may include an individual’s ability to enjoy life and obtain a balance between life activities. Psychosis: A person suffering from psychosis looses touch with reality; it is a severe disturbance of a person’s personality and results in abnormal behaviour.
Mental Health Essay Example
The individual may suffer from delusions (where the person has a fixed belief that is false, this belief persists even when the individual has evidence that the belief is not true), hallucinations (where the individual hears, sees, feels smells or tastes something that is not there), paranoia (they may have unrealistic beliefs that people have personal vendettas against them), strange and disorganised thoughts, and difficulty speaking clearly. They may experience difficulty with social interaction and impairment in carrying out the activities of daily living. Psychosis prevents and affects rational thought.
When an individual is displaying any of these symptoms, they are said to be having a psychotic episode. For some people these episodes may develop quickly, for others it may progress slowly. A psychotic episode can also be linked to mental diseases such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Neurosis: Any mental imbalance that causes distress is referred to as neurosis. It does not however, prevent or affect rational though. The individual has difficulty coping with portions of regular daily activity. A neurotic person is still able to function well in the community but shows signs of compulsive behaviour.
Schizophrenia What is it? Schizophrenia affects 1 in every 100 people world wide and is classifies as a psychosis. It is a mental disorder that interferes with the way a person thinks or acts. In schizophrenic individuals there is impairment in the perception of reality. The main symptoms of schizophrenia include: •Hallucinations: the individual hears voices which they believe are telling them what to do or criticising them. They may also see, feel or smell things that are not really there. To the individual experiencing the hallucination, it is real, even when told otherwise. Thought disorder: their thoughts and speech are often disorderly and chaotic. They jump from one topic to another without any obvious link •Delusions: false beliefs of guilt, being persecuted or of being very powerful. Some believe that they have special powers others feel afraid and withdraw in order to keep safe •Lack of insight: because the hallucinations and delusions seem so real they may not be aware that they are ill and as a result refuse to take their medication •Social withdrawal: may be due to the face that they believe that someone is set on destroying them.
As a result they tend to be anti-social and retreat to a place they consider a safe haven. The onset of these symptoms usually occurs in adolescence and young adulthood (usually between 15 and 30). Although the term schizophrenia literally means ‘split mind’ or ‘split personality’ the mental illness is not about having a split mind however, in the long term, there may be a change in the person’s personality. What Causes Schizophrenia? There is no single cause of schizophrenia that has been found, however there are several factors that scientists believe to contribute to the likelihood f an individual developing schizophrenia. These include: -Genetic Factors: the individual is more likely to develop schizophrenia if a parent or relative has the disease. They may inherit certain genes that may make them prone to developing schizophrenia, although, many changes within the genes are needed for a person to be at risk of developing schizophrenia -Biochemical Factors: the balance of some of the chemicals in the brain that pass messages from one cell to another may change -Environmental Factors: in some people, stress seems to trigger the first signs of the illness.
In some cases, stressful experiences happen before a person shows the first signs of schizophrenia, however it is difficult to determine whether stress caused the illness or is a result of the illness -Drug Use: ecstasy, cannabis and LSD’s may trigger an episode of schizophrenia Individuals with schizophrenia, including those who have never been treated, have a reduced volume of gray matter in the brain, especially in the temporal and frontal lobes. Neuroscientists have detected gray matter loss of up to 25% in some areas of the brain.
In a recent study, results showed that the damage started in the outer (parietal) regions of the brain and over a 5 year period, the loss of grey matter slowly spread. It was found that those with more tissue loss had the worst symptoms, these included hallucinations, chaotic thoughts and delusions. How can it be treated? There is no cure for schizophrenia; however, those suffering from the illness are able to get treatment. The most effective way of treating schizophrenia is through a combination of medicine and psychological counselling.
Most people who experience their first psychotic episode are admitted to the hospital, they usually are able to go home after they have received medication and psychological support. The medication works by correcting the imbalance in the chemicals within the brain. Simply taking the medication may not help the individual, it may control the symptoms but the may need help in other aspects of daily living such as finances, accommodation, interaction with others and loneliness. Psychological counselling aids the individual in this regard.
Rehabilitation programs focus on social training, these only programs are only effective if the individual is able to stay committed it their goals. Having family around is helpful for the individual. They are able to assist their loved one and provide for them when they are having a difficult time with the disease. Overall, it is essential for a schizophrenic person to look for assistance and get treatment for their illness by means of medication, counselling and through their family members, this way they will be able to control the signs and symptoms of the disease and blend in with society.