In the past few years, mental health has become an increasing focus in the media. There have been TV shows and movies that have brought mental illness to the forefront of our society. With these topics in the public eye, it has fueled a growing interest in mental health issues by many people. As people are more curious about their own illnesses and what it is like to live with one, there are many questions that come up as well. This mental health blog will offer some answers on various mental illnesses from a professional perspective so you can get a better understanding into the emotional realm of living with chronic anxiety disorder or schizophrenia for example.
1. What is a mental illness?
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) released by the American Psychiatric Association provides a standardized classification of mental illnesses. The DSM offers criteria for diagnosing mental illness by listing symptoms that are present in a person’s life.
2. Are all mental illnesses serious?
No – some ailments, such as depression, can be serious but it’s important to understand that not all of them are life threatening conditions that need to be immediately addressed by professionals. Many times, people can live comfortably with their conditions without interfering with their daily routines or careers.
3. Why would I want to know about my mental illness?
Because you can live a happy, healthy life. In case you have any questions or concerns about your condition, it’s important to understand what’s going on in your mind so you can act accordingly. Understanding and accepting issues with anxiety and depression can go a long way in helping those who want to take control of their lives again.
4. What is anxiety disorder?
Anxiety is one of the top five mental illnesses affecting the country and affects nearly 40 million Americans per year. It is a condition where a person experiences excessive, overwhelming worry. It causes physical stress on your system that can lead to many health issues if left untreated.
5. What are the symptoms of anxiety disorder?
How you experience anxiety is different for everybody but generally, when you have anxiety it may feel like:
· You have difficulties breathing and are always out of breath
· You get nauseous often or feel sick to your stomach
· You avoid certain situations because you’re worried about what may happen (driving in heavy traffic, going out in public)
· You experience racing thoughts and constant worrying about everything
6. How can I manage my anxiety?
There are several treatments for anxiety. The first step is understanding what causes these symptoms. By knowing the triggers, you can better avoid them and calm yourself when they happen. Many people find help in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or talk therapy, which allows you to express yourself freely and openly. Other options include Yoga , Massage Therapy , and Workout routines . These are just some of the ways that you can manage your anxiety while avoiding prescription medication if possible. Always remember that your mental health is as important as any other part of your body and needs just as much attention and care to live a healthy life.
7. What is bipolar disorder?
Bipolar Disorder, also known as “manic depression,” affects nearly 6 million people per year. Bipolar disorder is characterized by extreme mood swings and may have symptoms of depression, irritability, insomnia, and hyperactivity. You alternate between episodes of mania (being overly elated) and depression (feeling hopeless). This cycle can repeat itself over and over again.
8. What are the symptoms of bipolar disorder?
The mood swings associated with bipolar disorder can be severe and may include:
· Feeling overly excited and active with lots of energy (hyperactivity)
· Having really bad temper tantrums and outbursts (argumentative, easily annoyed)
· Being up late at night, unable to sleep, then sleeping all day
· Losing interest in things they previously enjoyed (socializing, attending work or school)
9. How can I manage this condition?
There are several ways to help manage bipolar disorder but first you should see a medical professional for diagnosis and recommendations. There are many options for helping manage bipolar disorder such as:
· Working out at the gym or going for a run
· Eating healthy foods (lean meats, vegetables, fruits)
· Getting enough sleep each night and avoiding alcohol, cigarettes, or other drugs
10. What is schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia affects nearly 3 million people per year and is one of the most commonly misunderstood mental illnesses. People often believe schizophrenia is split personality disorder but that is not true. Schizophrenia could be explained as living in an endless tunnel with no light at the end. It can be hard to see reality accurately and it’s not a good idea to mix with others as they won’t understand what you’re going through at that time.
11. What are the symptoms of schizophrenia?
The symptoms of schizophrenia include:
· Delusions (superiority, persecution, self-harm, extreme violence)
· Hallucinations (hearing voices or seeing things that aren’t there)
· Difficulty forming real relationships (being rejected by people because they don’t understand what’s happening)