Mental health is all about how we think, feel and behave. It refers to our cognitive, and/or our emotional wellbeing. It describes a sense of wellbeing. Mental health ‘problems’ or ‘difficulties’ are terms used to describe temporary reactions to a painful event, stress, or systems of drug or alcohol use, lack of sleep or physical illness. It can also be used to describe long-term psychiatric conditions, which may have significant effects on an individual’s functioning.
Some of the most common mental health problems are; anxiety, depression, psychosis, mania, schizophrenia, anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, OCD.
A qualified clinician should only diagnose such conditions. Anxiety and depression feature as the two most common reasons for people to consult their doctor. There are two sides of mental health, which we all may experience. One side is relatively mild anxieties and frustration associated with everyday life, the other side is having severe problems affecting mood and the ability to think and communicate rationally.
This essay will discuss three mental illnesses: Schizophrenia, Munchausen Syndrome and Bipolar Disorder. It includes the sign and symptoms, cause, the affect on an individual, possible treatments and their strength and weaknesses. I choose schizophrenia and bipolar disorder because their one of the most common serious mental disorders (illnesses). And third I chose for Munchausen Syndrome because as a serious mental disorder it is also very interesting, which researchers are still trying to figure out the cause for someone to desire playing the sick role that they develop Munchausen syndrome.
Schizophrenia Schizophrenia is the most common psychotic disorder and it is a very complex illness. Whether or not schizophrenia is a single disorder or a group of related illnesses has yet to be fully determined. It usually appears for the first time in a person during their (late) teens or their twenties. It affects more men than women and is considered as a life-long condition that rarely is cured, but treated. People with schizophrenia often have a different idea of what is real and what is not.
This can cause problems with behaviour, thinking, emotions and motivation. The sufferers have thoughts that appear fragmented and find it hard to process information. Schizophrenia can have negative or positive symptoms. Positive symptoms include delusions, thought disorders and hallucinations. Negative symptoms include withdrawal, lack of motivation, poor personal hygiene and a flat or inappropriate mood. Other symptoms include hearing voices, paranoid thoughts, agitated or bizarre behaviour and extreme emotional states.
The exact cause of schizophrenia is still unknown, although there are many things that have influence on the condition. According to scientist, both life experiences and the biology of the brain and body play an important role. Schizophrenia is partly genetic, which passes within families, and can also be triggered by a trauma. This illness changes the person’s life and makes it hard to have healthy relationships and communicate with people. Schizophrenia is usually treated by medication, which affect the brain, and by training people with psychotherapy to understand their thoughts and behaviour.
There is no cure for the illness, and while medication helps control the psychosis, delusions and hallucinations, it cannot help a person learn to be effective in social relationships, coping skills and help learn to communicate with others. Following the medications is also one of the largest problems because people who live with this disorder often go off of their medication. Therefore the person depends on life-long treatment of both drugs and psychosocial, support therapies. About one out of every ten people with schizophrenia commits suicide.
Bipolar Disorder Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, causes serious shifts in mood, energy, thinking, and behaviour and goes from the highs of mania on one extreme, to the lows of depression on the other. Mania is when a person’s brain goes into a high energy state. Everyone has off and on days but the cycles of bipolar disorder last for days, weeks or months. Unlike ordinary mood swings, the mood changes of bipolar disorder are so intense that they interfere with your ability to function.
During a manic episode a person might impulsively quit a job, spend huge amounts of money or feel rested after sleeping two hours. During a depressive episode, the same person might be too tired to get out of bed and might experience a feeling of self-loathing and hopelessness. Although the causes of bipolar disorder aren’t completely clear, it is known that it often runs in families. Problems with chemicals in the brain that help control moods may play a role. It can change the person’s life drastically.
The first symptoms usually occur in the teenage years or early adulthood. The symptoms include sadness, feeling of worthlessness; changes in sleep changes in eating, anhedonia and suicidal behaviour. The symptoms vary widely in their pattern, severity, and frequency. Some people are more prone to either mania or depression, while others stay equally cycling between the two types of episodes. The symptoms of bipolar disorder can be treated but there is no known cure. Although long term counselling is a very important part of the treatment, it can often be very challenging.
It is hard for people with this disorder to have a good relationship with the therapist/counsellor. There are medications that can help treat the depression or help control moods. The return of symptoms is a common problem, which is called relapse. The treatment can be very hard, and it can take years to get better, but if treated well, most people improve over time. Munchausen Syndrome Munchausen syndrome is a serious mental disorder in which someone with a deep need for attention, pretends to be sick or gets sick or injured on purpose.
People with Munchausen syndrome usually make up symptoms, push for risky operations, or try to manipulate laboratory test results to win sympathy and concern. Munchausen syndrome belongs to a group of conditions called factitious disorders, that are either made up or self caused on purpose. Symptoms of Munchausen syndrome revolve around faking or producing illness or injury in order to get attention for the emotional needs. People with Munchausen do everything to avoid getting caught in their deception, that’s why it’s difficult to notice that their symptoms are actually part of a serious mental disorder.
Some symptoms are dramatic stories about numerous medical problems, frequent hospitalizations, vague or inconsistent symptoms, and eagerness to undergo frequent testing or risky operations. To this day there’s little evidence that biology or genetics plays a role in Munchausen syndrome. Researchers are still searching for a cause. There are some risk factors, including childhood trauma, such as emotional, physical or sexual abuse, or a serious illness during childhood, a relative with a serious illness, or personality disorders. Munchausen syndrome affects people strongly.
They have such deep emotional needs that they’re willing to risk their lives to be seen as ill. Treating Munchausen is often difficult and there are no standard therapies for the condition. This is because people with Munchausen often want to be in the sick role, so they’re unwilling to seek treatment. If treated, the treatment often focuses on managing the condition, rather than trying to cure it. Treatment includes psychotherapy and behaviour counselling. It’s very hard to treat if the patient keeps making up symptoms. People with Munchausen don’t fake illnesses to achieve a benefit such as finance, but for the attention.
In conclusion you could say that mental illnesses can take many forms, just as physical illnesses do. They are feared and misunderstood by many people, but the fear disappears as people learn more about them. It is said that everyone suffers from a kind of schizophrenia, but luckily not in the extreme way. Thanks to medication it can make life of the sufferer and his/her family easier. Bipolar disorder is also one of the common disorders with good treatments if followed. Munchausen is a rare mental illness, but just as serious, with unfortunately not enough treatment.