Mental/ Psychological Illness
A mental illness is a medical condition that disrupts a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning, often resulting in a diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of life. Mental disorders are generally defined by a combination of how a person feels, acts, thinks or perceives & may be associated with particular regions or functions of the brain or rest of the nervous system.
Mental illnesses can affect persons of any age, race, religion or income. Serious mental illnesses include major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder and borderline personality disorder. The good news about mental illness is that now recovery is possible.
Early Warning Signs of Mental Illness
- “Mood swings.” Depressed or sad mood.
- Recent social withdrawal and loss of interest in others, i.e. distance from friends & family
- A disturbance in functioning, especially at school or work, such as quitting sports, failing in school, or difficulty in performing familiar tasks. Confused thinking. Lack of participation in any activity
- Problems in concentration, memory, or logical thought and speech that are hard to explain. A sense of unreality.
- Increased sensitivity to sights, sounds, smells or touch; avoiding over-stimulating situations. Severe anxiety. Trouble dealing with stress.
- Uncharacteristic, peculiar behavior. Having a feeling of Fear or worry or suspiciousness of others or strong nervousness.
- Problem in sleep and appetite changes or deterioration in personal hygiene.
If a person experiences several symptoms together, then treatment is needed. If not treated, they may progress to a psychotic episode.i.e. delusions, hallucinations,schizophrenia. Treatments for mental illnesses are now more effective than ever before. Suicidal thoughts or attempts require immediate attention.
Causes of Psychological Illness
The development of mental disorders depends on numerous factors related to the disorder itself, the individual as a whole, and the social environment.
Risk factors include genetic inheritance, life experiences and substance intake or parenting [include parental rejection, lack of parental warmth, high hostility, harsh discipline, high maternal negative effect, parental favouritism, anxious childrearing, drug-abusing behaviour, and child abuse (emotional, physical and sexual)] & family history (e.g. of anxiety), temperament and attitudes. Abnormal functioning of neurotransmitter systems has been implicated in several mental disorders, including serotonin, norepinephrine, dopamine and glutamate systems.
A List of Psychological Disorders
A List of Psychological Disorders
There are many different categories of mental disorder, The more common types include:
- Anxiety disorders: People respond to certain objects or situations with fear and dread, rapid heartbeat and sweating.
- Mood disorders: involve persistent feelings of sadness or periods of feeling overly happy. e.g. depression, mania.
- Neurocognitive Disorders:– those that involve cognitive abilities such as memory, problem solving and perception.
- Psychotic disorders: Psychotic disorders involve distorted awareness and thinking. E.g. hallucinations, delusions, which are false beliefs(Schizophrenia).
- Eating disorders: Eating disorders involve strange behaviors involving weight and food.
- Impulse control and addiction disorders: unable to resist urges, or impulses, to perform acts that could be harmful to themselves or others.
- Personality disorders: the person’s patterns of thinking and behavior significantly differ from the expectations of society and are so rigid that they interfere with the person’s normal functioning. e.g. antisocial personality disorder
- Dissociative Disorders:- involve a dissociation or interruption in aspects of consciousness, including identity(split personality) and memory(such as amnesia & dementia).
- Factitious Disorders :- individual acts as if he or she has an illness, often be exaggerating symptoms or even self-inflicting damage to the body for personal gain.
- Neurodevelopmental Disorders:- childhood disorders, diagnosed during infancy, childhood, or adolescence. include: mental retardation, learning disabilities, communication disorder, conduct disorder, autism, attention-deficit, hyperactivity.
- Sleep disorders such as insomnia involve disruption to normal sleep patterns, or a feeling of tiredness despite normal sleep.
- Sexual and gender identity disorders may be diagnosed, including dyspareunia, gender identity disorder, etc.
- Somatoform disorders/Psycosomatic diseases (old diagnosis- neurasthenia) may be diagnosed when there are problems that appear to originate in the body that are thought to be manifestations of a mental disorder.
Psychosomatic Disorder —a mental disorder (psycho/mind) that causes (somatic) body symptoms. Psychosomatic disorder means a physical disease which is caused, or made worse, by mental factors such as anger, anxiety, depression, guilt,grief, stress, etc.
Eg. physical disease such as duodenal ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, bronchial asthma, eczema, psoriasis, high blood pressure, asthma, allergy, migraine, nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, chest pain, heart attacks, etc. are influenced by psychological factors. Sometimes psychological factors can cause physical symptoms without actually causing a physical disease. For example, when we are afraid or anxious or under stress we may develop: a fast heart rate, palpitations, feeling sick, shaking (tremor), sweating, dry mouth, chest pain, headaches, a ‘knot in the stomach’, and fast breathing.
There is a mental aspect to every physical disease. How we react to and cope with disease varies greatly from person to person. For example, the rash of psoriasis may not bother some people very much. However, the rash covering the same parts of the body in someone else may make them feel depressed and more ‘ill’. i.e body to mind.
Besides factors illustrated above, personality is a major factor in determining the illness we develop. Eg. people with Type A personality tend to be ambitious, impatient, and set themselves high standards & seem more likely to develop heart attacks. Quiet, introverted individuals, who tend to conceal their feelings and fears and to suppress emotions, may be more likely to develop cancers.
Prevention:-We can prevent many mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders and schixzophrenia(though having a high genetic risk) before they begin, by:-
- supporting the mental health and improving parenting skills of parents & family environment,
- encouraging the developmental competencies of children,
- using preventive strategies particularly for children at risk (such as children of parents with mental illness, or with family stresses such as divorce or job loss),
- Good stress management, Good communication, at first, between mother and baby, and later child and parents, teachers… and everybody later… Indeed, education is very important! But we should teach stress management to every child,
- Restricting use of cannabis in early adolescence esp. to prevent schizophrenia,&
- Social & emotional education, such as delaying young pregnancies & compulsory contraception.
- In allopathy, there is no attempt to cure the problem but only to make people happy despite their problem by drugging them.
- Psychiatrists tend to utilize medication on their understanding of brain function. Nerve cells transmit messages by sending electrical impulses and chemicals called neurotransmitters to one other. Psychiatric medications are chosen to influence these mechanisms. Various neurological, cardiovascular, digestive, hematologic (blood), and allergic symptoms are side effects of most antidepressive drugs but then these drugs are still needed as they reduce chances of suicide.
- If, however, there are alternatives to them, it is certainly prudent to consider them. Dr. Charles Frederick Menninger reminds us, “It is imperative that we exhaust the homeopathic healing art before resorting to any other mode of treatment, if we wish to accomplish the greatest success possible.”
Homoeopathy: Excellent for Psychosomatic ailments
Worried about mental illness? Maybe you’ve come to the right place- Manglik Homeo Clinic
Homoeopathy, firstly recognized the psychological origin of somatic (body) symptoms. Perhaps no other system of medicine has such a superb approach of treating (psycho-somatic) mind-body disorders with medicines. Homoeopathy always examines patient’s mental make-up in all cases and medicines are prescribed which acts on mind and body together, thus eradicating the disease.
Dr. Samuel Hahnemann’s name is not recognized in psychology today. Hahnemann before founding homeopathy, made important contributions to mental health care. In late 1700s, insanity was considered possession of demons & insane were regarded as wild animals and treatment was punishment. Hahnemann was one of the few physicians who perceived mental illness as a disease that required humane treatment. He opposed the practice of chaining mental patients, granted respect to them, and recommended simple rest and relaxation.
There are no particular side-effects from homoeopathic treatment. The psychosomatic disorders like Depression, Migraine, Asthma, Acidity, Peptic ulcer, Allergy, Ulcerative colitis, etc. are successfully treated with homoeopathy. Homoeopathic medicines are capable of curing mental & emotional disturbances by influencing the state of mind & can specifically act to relieve emotional disturbances such as excessive anxiety, irritability, insecurity, obsessive traits, undue jealousy, suspicion (paranoid) fears, depression, neurosis etc. bringing about mental & physical health.
Psychologists in allopathy categorize people in certain psychological or disease- types. Homeopaths, in contrast, individualize certain “bodymind” types.
During Treatment for a Psychosomatic Disorder-Psychotherapy(homoeopathic style)
Reasons for outcome of mental illness is often complex and not easy to deal with & can be confusing for doctor as well as patient. Time is required to allow understanding if healing is to take place. During the course of psychotherapy, patient must share his feelings with the therapist or doctor & it is important for the physician to understand patient feelings & find the cause for illness. People with psychosomatic disorders need support and understanding of their family and friends. A person is required who will listen and provide support to them at times of crisis.
Dr. Menninger said, “Homeopathy is wholly capable of satisfying the therapeutic demands of this age better than any other system of medicine.”
Psychiatrist Dr Zafeiriou, said to adopt homoeopathy to treat psychiatric disorders, and to move away from conventional medicines that have severe side effects. He said, “In psychiatry there aren’t any curative medicines, rather these relieve symptoms. Homeopathy can treat all kinds of disorders from anxiety and phobias to depression and schizophrenia. In mental hospitals, homoeopathy can treat patients with severe mental disorders, contributing considerably to the therapeutic outcome of conventional psychiatric treatment.”
From homeopathic point of view, allopathy suppresses various physical illnesses. Instead, a homeopathic medicine should be individually prescribed to attain person’s health. To complement prescription, good homeopaths will provide some psychotherapy based on homeopathic principles.