Mental illness, also known as mental disorders, refers to a wide variety of mental health problems – disorders that affect your mood, thinking, and behavior. Examples of mental illness are depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders, and addictive behaviors.
Many people have mental health problems at times. However, a mental health problem turns into a mental illness when the persistent signs and symptoms cause frequent stress and affect your ability to function properly.
Mental illness can make you unhappy and cause problems in your daily life, such as: B. at school, at work, or in relationships. In most cases, symptoms can be treated with a combination of medication and talk therapy (psychotherapy).
The signs and symptoms of mental illness may vary based on the disorder, circumstances, and other factors. Mental illness symptoms can affect emotions, thoughts, and behaviors.
Here are some examples of signs and symptoms:
- I feel sad or depressed
- Confused thinking or decreased ability to concentrate
- Excessive fear or worry or feelings of extreme guilt
- Extreme mood swings of ups and downs
- Retreat from friends and activities
- Severe tiredness, lack of energy or sleep disorders
- Detachment from reality (delusions), paranoia or hallucinations
- Inability to deal with everyday problems or stress
- Difficulty understanding and relating to situations and people
- Problems related to alcohol or drug use
- Significant changes in eating habits
- Changes in libido
It is believed that mental illness in general is caused by a wide variety of genetic and environmental factors:
- Hereditary traits. Mental illness is more common in people whose blood relatives also have mental illness. Certain genes can increase your risk of developing mental illness, and your life situation can trigger it.
- Environmental influences before birth. Exposure to environmental stressors, inflammatory diseases, toxins, alcohol, or drugs while in the womb can sometimes be linked to mental illness.
- Brain chemistry. Neurotransmitters are natural chemicals in the brain that transmit signals to other parts of your brain and body. When neural networks involving these chemicals are altered, the functioning of nerve receptors and nervous systems changes, leading to depression and other emotional disorders.
Certain factors can increase your risk of developing mental illness, including:
- A history of mental illness in a blood relative, such as a parent or sibling
- Stressful life situations like financial problems, the death of a loved one, or a divorce
- An ongoing (chronic) disease like diabetes
- Brain damage as a result of a serious injury (head trauma) such as a severe blow to the head
- Traumatic experiences such as military battles or attacks
- Use of alcohol or drugs
- A history of child abuse or neglect
- Few friends or few healthy relationships
- Previous mental illness
There is no surefire way to prevent mental illness. However, if you have a mental illness, taking steps to control stress, increase your resilience, and increase your low self-esteem can help keep your symptoms under control. Follow these steps:
- Pay attention to the warning signs. Work with your doctor or therapist to find out what could be triggering your symptoms. Make a plan of what to do if symptoms return. Contact your doctor or therapist if you notice any changes in symptoms or how you feel. Consider involving family members or friends to look out for warning signs.
- Get routine medical help. Don’t neglect exams or skip visits to your GP, especially if you’re uncomfortable. You may need to treat a new health problem or you may experience side effects from the medication.
- Get help when you need it. Mental health problems can be more difficult to treat if you wait for symptoms to get worse. Long-term maintenance therapy can also help prevent symptoms from coming back.
- Take good care of yourself. Adequate sleep, and healthy eating.