Lake County's Voice On Mental Illness
Lake County's Voice On Mental Illness
Depressive disorder, frequently referred to simply as depression, is more than just feeling sad or going through a rough patch. It’s a serious mental health condition that requires understanding and medical care. Left untreated, depression can devastate those with it and their families. Fortunately, with early detection, diagnosis, and a treatment plan consisting of medication and/or therapy, and healthy lifestyle choices, many people can and do get better.
Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness that interferes with a person’s ability to think clearly, manage emotions, make decisions and relate to others. It is a complex, long-term medical illness. The exact prevalence of schizophrenia is difficult to measure, but estimates range from 0.25% to 0.64% of U.S. adults. Although schizophrenia can occur at any age, the average age of onset tends to be in the late teens to the early 20s for men, and the late 20s to early 30s for women. It is uncommon for schizophrenia to be diagnosed in a person younger than 12 or older than 40. It is possible to live well with schizophrenia.
Anxiety disorders are a group of related conditions, each having unique symptoms. However, all anxiety disorders have one thing in common: persistent, excessive fear or worry in situations that are not threatening. People typically experience one or more of the following symptoms:
Bipolar disorder is a mental illness that causes dramatic shifts in a person’s mood, energy and ability to think clearly. People with bipolar experience high and low moods—known as mania and depression—which differ from the typical ups-and-downs most people experience. Severe bipolar episodes of mania or depression may include psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations or delusions. Usually, these psychotic symptoms mirror a person’s extreme mood. People with bipolar disorder who have psychotic symptoms can be wrongly diagnosed as having schizophrenia.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by repetitive, unwanted, intrusive thoughts (obsessions) and irrational, excessive urges to do certain actions (compulsions). Although people with OCD may know that their thoughts and behavior don't make sense, they are often unable to stop them. Most people have occasional obsessive thoughts or compulsive behaviors. In an obsessive-compulsive disorder, however, these symptoms generally last more than an hour each day and interfere with daily life.
Traumatic events—such as an accident, assault, military combat, or natural disaster—can have lasting effects on a person’s mental health. While many people will have short-term responses to life-threatening events, some will develop longer-term symptoms that can lead to a diagnosis of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD symptoms often co-exist with other conditions such as substance use disorders, depression, and anxiety. While most often talked about with veterans, we now know that PTSD can impact many other people.
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a condition characterized by difficulties regulating emotion. This means that people who experience BPD feel emotions intensely and for extended periods of time, and it is harder for them to return to a stable baseline after an emotionally triggering event.
This difficulty can lead to impulsivity, poor self-image, stormy relationships and intense emotional responses to stressors. Struggling with self-regulation can also result in dangerous behaviors such as self-harm (e.g., cutting).
Early Psychosis, Delusions, and Psychosis
Most people think of psychosis as a break with reality. In a way it is. Psychosis is characterized as disruptions to a person’s thoughts and perceptions that make it difficult for them to recognize what is real and what isn’t. These disruptions are often experienced as seeing, hearing and believing things that aren’t real or having strange, persistent thoughts, behaviors and emotions. While everyone’s experience is different, most people say psychosis is frightening and confusing.
When you become so preoccupied with food and weight issues that you find it harder and harder to focus on other aspects of your life, it may be an early sign of an eating disorder. Without treatment, eating disorders can take over a person’s life and lead to serious, potentially fatal medical complications. Eating disorders can affect people of any age or gender, but rates are higher among women. Symptoms commonly appear in adolescence and young adulthood.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a condition in which characterized by inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. ADHD is most commonly diagnosed in young people. An estimated 8.8% of children aged 4-17 have ADHD. An estimated 4.4% of adults aged 18-44 have ADHD. With treatment, people with ADHD can be successful in school, work and lead productive lives. Researchers are using new tools such as brain imaging to better understand the condition and to find more effective ways to treat and prevent ADHD.
If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org to reach the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.
Thoughts of suicide can be frightening. But by reaching out for help or checking in with family and friends, we can avoid devastating outcomes.
Comments or thoughts about suicide — also known as suicidal ideation — can begin small like, “I wish I wasn’t here” or “Nothing matters.” But over time, they can become more explicit and dangerous.
Trying to tell the difference between what expected behaviors are and what might be the signs of a mental illness isn't always easy. There's no easy test that can let someone know if there is mental illness or if actions and thoughts might be typical behaviors of a person or the result of a physical illness.
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