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10 Things You Need to Know about Mental Illness

mental health don't give up

Some illnesses are transient, but mental health disorders are often longer-lasting and complex. They can affect one's daily life and relationships, so there's every need to be informed about certain realities while living with a mental illness.

How much you understand about your mental health disorder can impact how it affects your life. Even when you don't have a mental illness, knowing some facts can help improve your relationships with people that live with it.

To help you improve your quality of life and relationships, here are 10-things to know about mental illness.

1. Mental illnesses are real

Mental illness isn't just a mood you can just will yourself out of. So asking a depressed person to "snap out of it" just doesn't cut it. Just like heart diseases and physiological disorders, mental health disorders pose real dangers to our health.

2. Mental illnesses are common

Mental health disorders are very common. In fact,  as other physical conditions like cancer and diabetes. Statistics show that about one in five American adults yearly experiences a mental health issue, while 1 in 25 American adults are living with a mental health disorder at any given time.

3. It's not a personal weakness

It would help if you didn't consider your mental health challenges as a personal weakness. No, they're more about how your genes and brain are wired. Your personal experience, such as trauma, may also influence your mental health. But it's never because you're weak.

Many mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder may pass through genes. A brain malfunction, possibly during development, may also affect one's intelligence and thinking patterns.

Whether you're mentally ill or know someone who is, this information can go a long way to prevent discrimination.

4. The symptoms are not the same for everyone

While one person may experience only a few symptoms of depression, another may experience many others. Each person may be affected differently based on their personality and unique nature.

But it is still depression, and getting treatment regardless of severity is crucial to maintaining a high quality of life.

5. Mental illness affects everyone, almost

About one in five American adults experience one mental health challenge or the other.

One in six young people experiences major depression at some point.

Even though everyone doesn't have a mental illness, it affects virtually everyone all the same. It may be your relative, friend, or partner battling the condition. Imagine losing a loved one to suicide due to severe depression. The pain is felt by many.

6. Children are also affected

Unfortunately, children also live with mental health issues. Schizophrenia, ADHD, and bipolar disorder are some mental illnesses that begin from childhood. Half of all mental problems shoe first signs before the individual turns 14.

If you notice your child exhibiting any warning signs of mental illness, the best you can do is get help immediately.

7. A medication may not work the same way for everyone

Some mental illnesses can prove very stubborn to treat. For example, treatment resistant bipolar disorder and major depression. Sometimes, and for some people, antidepressants may not even work.

And studies show that your genes may influence how well certain medications work for your mental health condition. Such studies neccesitated Pharmacogenetic testing, which involves testing a patient's genes to understand how it reacts in the presence of a drug.

8. People with mental health disorders are not more likely to be violent

A general misconception is that people with mental health challenges tend to be violent. But the truth is, they are not more likely to be violent than anyone else. Only 3%-5% of violence is associated with people with a severe mental health disorder. In contrast, mentally ill individuals are ten times more likely to be victims of violence.

9. You can fight the stigma

It would be best not to treat people with mental illnesses like outcasts. Avoid calling them debilitating names, and do your best to show inclusion, knowing their condition was never their fault.

Even though you don't personally know anyone living with a mental illness, you can help fight the stigma by spreading the truth about the condition just like people do with breast cancer.

10. You can get help

Mental illness can severely impair one's quality of life and relationships. Even though you're not the one with depression or substance abuse, you can help that person find help.

The truth is, people living with mental illness are often shy to come out and get help. Treatment can be through medication, therapy, or counseling. But the first step is to step out and contact a mental health care provider.

Author
Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu H. Woodland, PMHCNS-BC, APRN Satu Woodland is owner and clinician of Hope Mental Health, an integrative mental health practice located at Bown Crossing in Boise, Idaho. She sees children, adolescents, and adults.  Ms. Woodland with her background in nursing, prefers a holistic and integrative approach to mental health care that addresses the mind and body together. While Ms. Woodland provides medication management services in all her patients, she believes in long-lasting solutions that include a number of psychotherapies, namely cognitive behavioral therapy, exposure and response prevention therapy, attention to lifestyle, evidenced based alternative psychiatric care and spirituality. If you’d like to gain control over your mental health issues, call Hope Mental Health at 208-918-0958, or use the online scheduling tool to set up an initial consultation.

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