| OpenMindsOpenDoors is an MHAPA initiative aimed at ending discrimination against people with mental illnesses. Approximately one in five people in this country live with a mental illness. More»
Mental Illness In Society
It is reported that 50% of the adult population experience or suffer from a mental disorder at one point in their life. Over a half of the rate are experiencing moderate up to severe symptoms. In some cases, suffering from these disorders also leads to disability, especially to kids aged 5 years old and above. In all the known mental disorders, it is depression which is considered as the leading cause of disability. The unfortunate thing about the situation is that from the high prevalence of these illnesses, only 20% receive professional help.
From the past years, research and studies about mental disorders are done continuously. It is done to understand the illness better and enable the development of an efficient treatment. However, even with this,
the stigma concerning people with such illnesses still remains. For instance, a person suffering from the illness might still be blamed for this reason and even viewed as irresponsible or lazy. These illnesses may be viewed as less legitimate than a physical illness, which makes insurance companies and policy makers reluctant in paying for the patient’s treatments. But, is clearly seen how this factor is changing the trend in health care costs.
At present, mental disorder is described as one caused by intricate interactions of environmental and hereditary factors. But, a research showed that it is the hereditary factor that contributes more to the development of the disorders. It develops because of the person’s genetic make-up, which makes them at risk of it. The occurrence of this leads to more stress in the family and even in their work or social life. Some experts also state that malfunction in the brain’s neurotransmitters may contribute to the development.
The good thing is that if the case is dealt with immediately, the further worsening of a mental disorder might be prevented. The use of brain imaging techniques like magnetic resonance imaging or positron emission tomography can aid in the prevention. It aids by showing the changes in a person’s brain with a mental illness.
Such illnesses of the mind cannot be differentiated from a normal behavior all the time. The difference between suffering from a personality disorder and particular personality trait is also an unclear subject. That is why mental health and illness are best considered as a continuum. And, the dividing line would be the length of the symptoms experienced and the changes of people from their normal self. The severity of the effects of symptoms in the patient’s lives is also part of the dividing line.
It is the movement in which people who are mentally ill were wanted to be brought out from institutions and afterward just care and support the patients so that they are able to live normally in communities. The movement was started all because of the availability of effective drugs and the changes in the attitude of people with the illness. The movement made great changes within the community, especially for the mentally ill people. But, this did not stop the negative effects of the movement from happening.
Social support is considered to be one of the most useful means of enabling improvement in mentally ill people. Various researches showed the same information. However, because of the changes in the society, social support slowly became unavailable. Fortunately, self-help groups were established to provide that social support needed by people with mental illness.
How To Prevent Mental Illness
A mental illness is described as either a behavioral or mental pattern or an anomaly which causes impaired ability or suffering to a person. It is linked to the way a person acts, feels, perceives and thinks. And, it can either involve certain brain functions or regions or the whole nervous system. As for the cause of why these illnesses occur, there are several reasons why it does. However, some of these are unclear and at times, theories may come from findings on different fields. There are also ways on how such illnesses can be treated. Most of the services in treating the disorders are only present in psychiatric hospitals. There are also ones present within the community. But, the primary subject of how these disorders can be prevented from occurring always remains.
Mental Disorder Prevention Facts
There are several facts about the prevention of mental disorders. The primary facts are the following:
- Evidence shows that reducing psychological and biological factors can lead to the prevention of these disorders.
- Programs for treating these illnesses are not the only ones present. Exemplary programs for mental disorder prevention are present as well. These programs specifically help in the prevention of psychosocial and biological risk.
- Realistic evidence are provided and stated that certain programs that are well-implemented can lead to significant further benefits than cost to taxpayers. Thus, it can effectively result in the prevention of mental illness.
- It has been agreed by scientists that interaction between environmental and genetic factors has an impact to the mental health.
- Genetic Factors There are some scientists who believe that there are certain individuals who have inclination for mental illnesses. And, even though genes have something to do with a mental illness’ development, it still does not mean that it predetermines it. Also, the development of such illness linked to genes still requires the presence of some environmental condition. It is also 50% likely for both identical twins to develop schizophrenia if it is a highly heritable illness. On the other half of the percentage, it is likely that only one of the twins may develop the disorder.
- Environmental Factors There are several aspects included in this, including damage caused by exposure to illegal drugs, alcohol and tobacco. Low birth weight, infection, toxin exposure, oxygen deprivation, poor nutrition and brain injury are also some examples. All of these have an impact to the development of fetus as well as newborn. It also contributes to the beginning of a mental disorder development.
Other environmental factors that can trigger the development of a mental disorder include stress caused by poverty, neglect and abuse. Children who experience this are vulnerable to disorders like antisocial behaviors, anxiety and depression. The unfortunate thing about these is that it may continue until the adulthood years. Parental mental health issues have an impact to the development of mental disorders in children. And, traumatic events can contribute to the development of such disorders too.
The development of any mental illness can depend on 2 factors, the genes and environment. The latter factor can be easily dealt with. However, prevention of a mental disorder with the association of genes can be tricky.
Quick Facts About Mental Illness
Mental illness is a health issue that can affect anyone. But, according to studies, Canadians can be affected by the illness indirectly at some point of their life. The person who can be affected can be any member of the family, colleague or family. At most, there is a rate of 20% Canadians who personally experience a particular mental illness. A general fact is that illnesses can affect people from different cultures, with diverse income and educational levels and of all ages. 8% of adults experience major depression at one point of their lives. And, there is 1% rate of Canadians who will be diagnosed with a bipolar depression. This is the general fact about who gets affected with mental illness.
How Common is This Illness Experienced in Terms of Percentage?
Mental illness has different classifications. Each of the mental disorder under the classifications has a different percentage in terms of being common. For one, there is 1% of Canadians who gets affected and diagnosed with Schizophrenia. There is 5% from the household population that gets affected by anxiety disorders. It can range from mild to severe type of impairment. People between 15 and 24 years old have 24% rate of suicide occurrence and 16% from ages 25 to 44 years old. Also, suicide is considered as the primary cause of death among men and women, which is from adolescence until middle age. However, the mortality rate is higher among men than women.
Cause of Mental Illness
Mental disorder occurs for a cause, which is diverse. Among these causes is the complex relationship of biological, genetic environmental and personality factors. Nearly half of people who feel that they suffer from anxiety or depression have never considered or visited a doctor about the problem. Discrimination and stigma which are linked to mental disorder present a severe barrier to diagnosis as well as treatment along with acceptance within the community. The good news is even with the not so good things linked to the problem, such disorders can still be effectively treated.
Economic Cost of Mental Illness
It was estimated in 1998 that mental illness’ economic cost in Canada in connection to the health care system has reached $7.9 billion just for the necessary care. The economic cost incurred from early death and disability reached $3.2 billion. A record in 1999 shows that there was 3.8% of people who got admitted to several mental disorders, including personality and eating disorders, major depression and more.
Impact of Mental Illness to the Youth
10 to 20% of youths in Canada are getting affected by such disorders. In current times, the affected rate for the male is 5% while 12% from the female population. The commonly affected age group is from 12 to 19. Major depression is the common mental disorder experienced by these people. And, the rate of people from this age gap is continuously increasing at present.
But, it is stated that even with the rising percentage from the youth who gets affected, a difference can still occur for 80% of these people if the illness is immediately recognized. Among the mental disorders, schizophrenia is the primary one that strikes people. At present, mental disorder is already considered as the second hospital care with the highest expenditure in Canada after injuries. The unfortunate thing is only 1 child gets the needed mental health services out of 5.
Mental disorders are also referred to as psychiatric disorder or mental illness. It is described as that behavioral or mental pattern and even anomaly that leads to impaired ability or suffering. This type of disorder is also described as a combination of how an individual acts, feels, perceives and thinks. The disorder may be linked to that particular function or region of the brain or even the entire nervous system. It is an aspect of mental health. This type of disorder has different types.
It is the type of fear or anxiety that affects normal functioning. Under this classification are different categories that include generalized anxiety disorder, agoraphobia, panic disorder, specific phobias and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Social anxiety disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder is included as well.
The one that gets affected is emotion or mood. This mental disorder involves intense as well as sustained sadness, despair and melancholia, which are categorized as major depression. Milder type of the disorder is diagnosed as dysthymia.
Bipolar Disorder or Manic Depression
It is described as the abnormally high mood states known as hypomania or mania. It involves the alternating between normal and depressed mood.
It is the type of mental disorder in which belief patterns, perception about reality and language use become disordered. The classification includes delusional disorder and schizophrenia.
The type of mental illness in which a person’s fundamental characteristics influencing behaviors and thoughts across time and situations become disordered. There are several disorders that are classified under this and these include schizotypal personality, disorders, borderline, antisocial, narcissistic or histrionic personality disorders and those that are sometimes classified as fear-related disorders. It is said to either emerge in childhood or in adolescence or the early years of adulthood.
It has to do with a person’s disproportionate concerns related to weight and food. It includes bulimia, exercise bulimia, anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.
One common example here is insomnia, which entails disruptions to one’s normal sleeping patterns. Or, it can also involve feeling tired even after having a normal and enough sleep.
Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders
This includes ego-dystonic homosexuality and dyspareunia. Paraphilia is also included under the classification.
Impulse Control Disorder
People diagnosed with the disorder are those who are not able to resist certain impulses and urges that can either be harmful to others or to them. This includes pyromania, kleptomania and various addictions, including gambling addiction.
It is the disorder that entails usage of drugs, both legal as well as illegal and alcohol. It generally means dependence on substance or abuse of it.
Dissociative Identity Disorder
An example of this is depersonalization disorder and related cognitive or memory disorders like old age dementia and amnesia.
It typically occurs in childhood for which oppositional defiant disorder, ADHD, autism spectrum disorders and conduct disorder are examples.
It can be diagnosed as an antisocial personality disorder if it continued to adulthood.
It is diagnosed when problems occur and originated in the body, ones that show signs of a mental disorder.
One example of this is the Munchausen syndrome, in which symptoms are deliberately produced or feigned for personal gain.
Diagnosis in this type is more of relationship instead of just an individual involved in the relationship. It can either be between couples, children and parents or others. A diagnosis of this already exists in which 2 or more persons are sharing a specific delusion due to their close relationship.
There are more classifications of mental disorders with some named after the person who first described it. Each of the disorder has its own types of diagnosis, with some being occasionally proposed.
Mental Illness Diagnosis
Medical diagnosis on individuals with mental illnesses can only be done by the psychiatrist. The diagnosis is done through assessing the signs and symptoms associated with a certain mental disorder. Other similar professionals like clinical psychologists may still or not use the same diagnostic steps. But, all primary mental health issues need to be assessed and also treated by the family physicians during consultations.
Routine Diagnostic Practice
These mental health services normally involve interviewing the patient, which is known as mental status examination. In this, evaluations are typically made of self-reported symptoms, appearance as well as behavior, current circumstance of the patient’s life and the history of their mental health. The views of relatives, third parties and other professionals can be included here. There are cases when a physical examination will need to be done to check medication effects or ill health.
Psychological testing is done either with the use of computerized or paper-and-pen questionnaires. The test may include neuroimaging tests, which are used in rare cases and algorithms.
Time and Budgetary Constrains
These constrain results in limited time in conducting detailed diagnostic evaluations. It has even been found out that many clinicians are evaluating their patients with the use of an unstructured and open-ended approach. Thus, it is common for an inaccurate diagnosis to be provided in routine practice.
Comorbidity is common when it comes to psychiatric diagnosis. It is when the same individual meets criteria for several disorders. There are cases as well when a person experiences different difficulties yet only meets some of the criteria. As such, there are specific problems when it comes to accurate diagnosis in developing countries.
Right now, more approaches that are structured are used in measuring the exact level of a person’s mental illness. One of these is the HoNOs. It is now considered as the most used measure when it comes to English mental health services. There is an approximate count of 61 trusts that are using HoNOS. Research is supportive of the measure, but there are still so many questions about it. Even with all those popping questions, HoNOS is still considered as the best of the tools available today.
Mental Illness Diagnosis Before and Now
Paula Caplan has been long concerned with psychiatric diagnosis’ subjectivity since the 1980s. Caplan stated that even though the diagnosis is unregulated, it does not mean that doctors are no longer required to interview patients for enough time or ask for a second opinion. In some records, it was described that the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders leads a psychiatrist to have their focus on narrowing the symptoms checklist. And, all these are done without considering the actual cause of the patient’s problems. Thus, Caplan concluded that getting the diagnosis along with the label prevents the way to recovery.
Recently, a paper has been written stating that psychiatric diagnosis is still done based on subjective judgement instead of objective biological exams. Then, there is the other issue about overdiagnosis, which was what Frances was concerned as well. In this case, no matter what the purpose of performing a diagnosis is, it seems that it just worsens the situation. And it is due to the way professionals are performing it.
Mental Illness Management
All treatments and supports needed by a person with mental disorders are offered in psychiatric clinics and hospitals. There are also those provided in community mental health places. From the past years, many professions have been developed and these were ones that specialized in treatment for mental disorders. Such develop professions include medical specialty of psychiatry, clinical psychology and social work. Under the subject mental illness management, there are several psychotherapists professionals that are present. These include family therapy, public professionals and counselors. There is also the peer support in which the major source of expertise is those personal experiences that involve the same issues.
Management of mental illness and the services involved are based on recovery approach. It is the case in some countries. It is the approach when a person’s personal journey is being supported to aid them in having the life they want and prefer. As for the treatments, there are numerous types of these. And, the ones being used depend on the disorder as well as the person. Many of the patients diagnosed with such disorders have already tried several of the available treatments in the market. Some of the things have been discovered to deliver more effect than others. Management of this illness is necessary. But, not all patients can be that cooperative. Thus, there are cases when they are being treated even if it they are against it. These are cases that are highly difficult to manage.
Mental Illness Management: Some Means to Treat the Disorder
It is among the leading options when it comes to treating and managing mental disorders. It comes in different types, with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as one of it. It is used to modify behavior and thought patterns that are associated with a certain disorder. The second type is Psychoanalysis. It addresses the cause of psychic defenses and conflicts. It became a dominant means of managing mental disorders and is still highly used today. The last type is Systematic or Family Therapy. It used in addressing an individual and network of important members at times.
It is also one of the primary options that people with mental disorders turn to. The same as psychotherapy, medication comes in several types as well. One of these is the antidepressants, which are used in clinical treatment along with anxiety and a wide range of other mental disorders. There is the anxiolytics type, which includes sedatives. It is used in treating anxiety disorders as well as related problems like insomnia. Mood stabilizers are medications prescribed for people with bipolar disorder. Antipsychotics are medications for individuals with psychotic disorders and experience the symptoms for schizophrenia. Last are the stimulant medications, which are commonly used in treating ADHD.
There are many more ways to manage a mental illness. Counseling can be one. ECT is also a treatment, but it is only used in severe cases when all others have failed. Psychosurgery is also an option, but is still considered in the experimental stage. However, some neurologists turn to using it in rare cases.
Mental disorders might be present in a wide range. But, the treatments that can be used in each are also wide. With proper use of the treatment and considerations of factors, there is a chance that the disorder can be settled.