Mental Health


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Mental Health

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Mental health issues can range from needing to take a "mental health day" from work to homicidal or other violent acts towards oneself or others. The range of mental health disorders is so broad that it can be difficult to understand how two situations fall in the same category. How many of our world's geniuses may have been better appreciated if only their mental illnesses had been understood and treated?

The days of shock therapy are gone for the most part, but it still is used for certain mental illnesses (though it goes by a different name now). Gone, too, is the routine procedure of frontal lobotomies to calm patients into total submissiveness. Mental health education has come a long way from the days of the mentally ill being put in prisons or killed for no other reason than their illnesses. But there is still a long way to go.

We now understand that men returning from wars endure thoughts and images that affect them in ways that we have only begun to be aware of (discovered, in large part, since Vietnam). Post traumatic stress disorder can affect victims of abuse and violence of all types. Only recently have we begun to understand how traumatic events can affect the people who survive them.

Five Common Mental Health Disorders
Despite the many types of mental health disorders, some tend to be much more common than others. Mental health disorders are not discriminatory. They do not choose people in one financial bracket over another. They do not choose one race over another. Mental health disorders are equal opportunity.

A very common mental illness is bipolar disorder manic-depressive disorder. This is characterized by extreme highs and lows in moods for no apparent reason. Sufferers are irrational and quick to change, in terms of mood.

Eating disorders, which are also quite common, include anorexia (not eating), and bulimia (binging and purging). Anxiety disorders are characterized by an irrational dread of living one's life, to the point where it is incapacitating. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a form of anxiety disorder where a person obsesses (thinks about) and is compulsive (does) about a particular action, to the point where he or she repeats this action an inordinate amount of times. This disorder can also manifest itself as an attention to detail that is so extreme as to be irrational.

Causes and Treatment of Mental Health Disorders
Mental health disorders can be caused by a variety of reasons. Some are hereditary--family members may have a predisposition for inheriting them. Others are caused by drug or alcohol abuse in which brain cells are damaged. A head trauma can cause certain types of mental health disorders. Other disorders are caused or exacerbated by the stress of daily life.

Depending on the type of mental health disorder, treatment can also vary in great degree. What works on one person may not work on his brother. Some things to be taken into consideration when treating mental health disorders are drug tolerance, genetics, and medical history. What works for a while may not work forever. Treatment can be a constant trial and error process, with the mental health professional and the patient working together to find the right answers to the problems that arise.

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