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Below are descriptions of some
common mental illnesses.
Depression and depressive illnesses
Depressive disorders are among the most responsive to treatment.
If given proper care, approximately 80 percent of patients with
depression demonstrate significant improvement and lead productive lives.
Successful treatment is also available for people with manic
depression; a substantial number of patients return to a higher quality of
life than before diagnosis.
The National Depressive and Manic-Depressive Association (National DMDA)
has identified the following symptoms for depression.
If you should experience four or more of these symptoms for longer
than two weeks please seek help.
Symptoms of Depression
Prolonged sadness or unexplained crying spells
Significant changes in appetite, sleep patterns
Irritability, anger, worry, agitation, anxiety
Loss of energy, persistent lethargy
Feelings of guilt, worthlessness
Inability to concentrate, indecisiveness
Inability to take pleasure in former interests, social withdrawal
Unexplained aches, pains
Recurring thoughts of death or suicide
Depression has a high success rate in treatment and is worth the effort
to seek help.
Manic depression - bipolar
A disorder of affect or mood. The person’s mood usually swings between overly “high”
or irritable to sad and hopeless, and then back again, with periods of
normal mood in between.
The high (manic) mood associated with manic-depression
is sometimes a pleasurable, euphoric and productive state, but can involve
potentially dangerous lapses of judgment, impulsive and potentially ruinous
behavior. In the most sever forms it is similar to, and can be
confused with, major depression, and involves feelings of sadness,
hopelessness and helplessness.
The disorder occurs about equally in men and women,
and, because it tends to run in families, there appears to be a strong
Generalized Anxiety Disorder - Chronic, excessive worry about
everyday routine life events and activities for at least six months; almost
always anticipating the worst even through there is little reason to expect
it. Accompanied by physical
symptoms, such as fatigue, trembling, muscle tension, headache, or nausea.
Panic Disorder – Characterized by panic attacks, sudden feeings
of terror that strike repeatedly and without warning.
Physical symptoms include chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness
of breath, dizziness, abdominal discomfort, feelings of unreality, fear of
dying, and concern and apprehension
over the occurrence of future panic attacks.
– Repeated, intrusive and unwanted thoughts or rituals that seem
impossible to control.
A general name for a group of psychotic reactions
characterized by withdrawal, disturbances in emotional and affective life,
and depending upon the type, the presence of hallucinations, delusions,
negativistic behavior, and progressive deterioration.
are often shown by non-schizophrenic individuals
in certain situations. Thus,
it is not the presence of these symptoms but their intensity that
distinguishes the schizophrenic process.
symptoms that occur after experiencing a traumatic event such as war, rape,
child abuse, natural disasters, or being taken hostage.
Nightmares, flashbacks, numbing of emotions, depression, and feeling
angry, irritable, distracted and being easily startled are common.
The use of any drug or chemical to modify mood or
behavior that results in some form of physical, emotional, or social
impairment. Abusers may fail to
fulfill major school, work or family obligations.
They may have drinking-related legal problems, such as drunk driving
arrests, or they may have relationship problems related to their
drinking. They may find it increasingly difficult to maintain
financial stability. This may lead to feelings of depression and even
Dependence occurs when use of the substance is
compulsive. Although they may
use the substance infrequently, the abuser is often unable to stop once they
start. As their tolerance
increases, they may need more and more to achieve the same effect.
Or they may become physically dependent on the substance suffering
withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, sweating, restlessness, irritability,
tremors and even hallucinations and convulsions. Substance dependent
people simply lack reliable control over their use.
it is addiction or alcoholism if the person has had negative consequences
resulting from his or her substance use – yet continues to use anyway.
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