Mental Health Info

To reach the 24 Hour Project Crises and Information Line, call (310) 751-5252.

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

  Pessimism, indifference

  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 disorder

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 genetic link.

Anxiety disorders

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. 

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – Repeated, intrusive and unwanted thoughts or rituals that seem impossible to control.

Schizophrenia

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.

Symptoms 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.

Post-traumatic stress disorder

Persistent 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.

Substance abuse/substance dependence

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 suicide attempts.

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.

Generally it is addiction or alcoholism if the person has had negative consequences resulting from his or her substance use – yet continues to use anyway.

 

[Under Construction]
This site is under construction.

Home Up Referrals Success Stories Donations Mental Health Info Memorial Page A Special Message...

Send mail to marc@vividlizard.com with questions or comments about this web site.
Copyright © 2000, 2001 Mary Kay Bergman Memorial Project
Last modified: September 19, 2001