What is Mental Illness?


We watch it in movies, read about it in magazines and come across stories regarding mental illness in our everyday lives. But what is mental illness really all about? Why is it important to know more about this topic?

This is Mental Illness 101 – a comprehensive introduction to the world of psychological disorders.

What is Mental Illness

What is Mental Illness?

Most of the population in the whole world will experience a mental health problem at least once in their lifetime. A big part of that group of people will not be diagnosed. Either way, it will happen.

The term ‘mental illness’ is a vague term that refers to a variety of psychological disorders that dramatically affects a person’s judgment, feelings, thinking, behavior and social interaction. These disorders may be experienced temporarily or permanently. Thus, some people can still function properly even if they are experiencing mental problems due to the stresses of life.

It is important to know that mental illnesses should be taken seriously. Some people may seem well physically, but they are suffering a lot alongside their friends and families. Moreover, in the next years to come, the World Health Organization said that depression, a kind of mental illness, would be one of the biggest health related problems by year 2020.

What are the Different Types of Mental Illnesses?

There are more mental illnesses than you can imagine. This is the main reason why experts such as psychiatrists and psychologists take their time in meticulously studying all the mental illnesses so that they can properly diagnose and treat each patient.

The most common ones are anxiety and depression. You’ve probably seen someone become anxious or depressed. In fact, you’ve probably been depressed or anxious yourself. Although it is true that everyone experiences feelings of sadness or tension, it becomes a mental illness when these feelings become so overwhelming that it disturbs a person’s daily activities and functions.

When a depressive disorder becomes out of hand, a person may actually find it hard to care for himself. He might not want to go out of his bedroom or bed and he might not be able to maintain relationships. Those who have anxiety disorders develop obsessive or compulsive habits just to get rid of their anxiety.

The less popular mental disorders include those where a person experiences psychosis. These usually include bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. When a person experiences psychosis, they have an acute episode of detachment from the real world and start to make up their own world in their heads. Thus, they are unable to make decisions properly, do their jobs or socialize. Some may even have delusions or hallucinations. When you see someone experiencing psychosis, it may seem a bit threatening but knowing more about the disease can really help.

What are the Treatments for Mental Illness?

Mental Illnesses are very challenging. The good news is that people can deal with it, manage it and treat it. The key in treating mental illness is making sure that signs and symptoms are recognized at an early stage. The earlier the treatment, the better the results.

Some mental illnesses may reoccur while some may experience mental disorders only once in their life.  There are many treatments being used when it comes to different kinds of mental disorders. There is medication, psychological therapies, rehabilitation, medicine and self-management.

A handful of people would say that willpower is the perfect solution to cure mental illness. Though this may be possible, it would be difficult. Alongside willpower, a person must be willing to undergo medication and treatment so they can fully recover from the illness.

It’s vital to know that for a person to successfully go through treatment, there should be understanding and support coming from loved ones. Without this, a person suffering from a mental disease is at risk of alcohol and/or substance abuse. Sadly, some patients result to suicide as well.

Common Myths and Truths About Mental Illness

 Mental illnesses are lifelong and cannot be cured – NO. As discussed above, mental illnesses may be cured and treated. Though there may no be full recovery for some, they are still able to live their lives normally and function like an occupational person. This is the reason why some people require lifelong treatment. And though some may experience very extreme episodes, with the right help and support, these people are still able to live productive lives.

People are born with mental illness – NO. Though it’s true that some psychological disorders are inherited such as mood disorders, there’s a bigger chance that even if your parents have the disorder, you might not have it. The reason behind this is because there are many factors that contribute to mental disorders such as environmental factors, sexual, physical or emotional abuse, isolation and the like.

Anyone can develop mental illness – YES. Everyone is at risk of mental disorders. This is why it’s highly important to make sure that you are well aware of the signs and symptoms of mental disorders so you can easily determine if you are at risk.

People with mental illnesses are dangerous – NO. This is the worst notion that other people have regarding people who suffer from mental illnesses. They are seldom dangerous. They only seem dangerous because they have poor socialization skills.

People who suffer from mental illnesses should be isolated from the community – NO. People recover faster when they socialize with people who care about them. Support is very important to treat and curing people with mental disorders.

Where do you go for help?

Going to the right people is the first step to treat mental disorders. You can contact a general practitioner, a health center or doctors who specialize in psychiatry.

Once you see that your loved ones are suffering from psychological disorders, seek for medical assistance immediately. Mental disorders get worse when not treated. Getting help as early as possible is the key.