Mental illnesses cover a group of mental health conditions that affect your behavior, thinking and mood. Mental health concerns occur for many people over their lifespan, but they only become a concern when the symptoms begin to affect one's ability to function normally on a daily basis.
While the signs and symptoms of mental illnesses vary, most can affect your thoughts, emotions and behaviors. There is a broad range of symptoms for mental health issues from feeling sad and confused to excessive changes in diet, sex drive and mood, just to name a few. Other physical changes may include fatigue, digestive problems, headaches, sudden weight gain/loss and dizziness.
There are a number of mental illnesses, including:
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
The exact cause of mental illnesses is unknown, but the following seem to be contributing factors: genetics, injuries, illnesses, life experiences (i.e. loss of loved one, financial stress, etc.) or brain chemical imbalances.
Mental illnesses affect approximately 25% of adults, but can develop as early as childhood.
Diagnosing mental illnesses can be somewhat difficult as the symptoms may be a result of another condition. Generally, if the symptoms above become persistent and make it difficult for you to function, you may be suffering from a mental illness. Symptoms of certain mental illnesses like schizophrenia may only be recognizable by family or friends.
If it is believed that you or a family member may be suffering from a mental illness, it is important to see your doctor. The majority of mental illnesses does not improve without medical treatment, and may possibly become worse over time.
After we have conducted a thorough physical examination, psychological exam and laboratory tests, we will be able to determine if you or your loved one are suffering from a mental illness, and if so, what type. There are several classes of mental illness from mood, anxiety and developmental disorders to personality, psychotic and cognitive disorders, just to name a few.
Depending on the class of mental illness you have, treatment will vary. We will first develop a treatment team that may consist of your family physician, family and friends, a psychiatrist, psychotherapist, pharmacist and a social worker. Certain medications, such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety and antipsychotic medications may be used to help stabilize your symptoms. Other treatments including psychotherapy and brain stimulation treatments may be necessary for more severe cases of mental illnesses. When a mental illness becomes so severe that you or your loved one may pose a threat to themselves or someone else, hospitalization or residential treatment options may be recommended.
It is also important for you to be actively involved in your own treatment. Working together, we can achieve a true partnership with a common goal – helping you achieve and maintain a balanced, healthy state of mind.