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MENTAL ILLNESS / WORRIES

⚚ Mental illness / worries


A mental illness is a disease that causes mild to severe disturbances in thought and/or behavior, resulting in an inability to cope with life’s ordinary demands and routines. There are more than 200 classified forms of mental illness. Some of the more common disorders are depression, bipolar disorder, dementia, schizophrenia and anxiety disorders. Symptoms may include changes in mood, personality, personal habits and/or social withdrawal. Mental health problems may be related to excessive stress due to a particular situation or series of events. As with cancer, diabetes and heart disease, mental illnesses are often physical as well as emotional and psychological. Mental illnesses may be caused by a reaction to environmental stresses, genetic factors, biochemical imbalances, or a combination of these. With proper care and treatment many individuals learn to cope or recover from a mental illness or emotional disorder.

Handling unusual behavior
The outward signs of a mental illness are often behavioral. A person may be extremely quiet or withdrawn. Conversely, he or she may burst into tears, have great anxiety or have outbursts of anger. Even after treatment has started, some individuals with a mental illness can exhibit anti-social behaviors. When in public, these behaviors can be disruptive and difficult to accept.

Warning Signs and Symptoms

In adults :
Confused thinking
Prolonged depression (sadness or irritability)
Feelings of extreme highs and lows
Excessive fears, worries and anxieties
Social withdrawal
Dramatic changes in eating or sleeping habits
Strong feelings of anger
Delusions or hallucinations
Growing inability to cope with daily problems and activities
Suicidal thoughts
Denial of obvious problems
Numerous unexplained physical ailments
Substance abuse

In older children and pre-adolescents :
Substance abuse
Inability to cope with problems and daily activities
Changes in sleeping and/or eating habits
Excessive complaints of physical ailments
Defiance of authority, truancy, theft, and/or vandalism
Intense fear of weight gain
Prolonged negative mood, often accompanied by poor appetite or thoughts of death
Frequent outbursts of anger

In younger children :
Changes in school performance
Poor grades despite strong efforts
Excessive worry or anxiety (i.e. refusing to go to bed or school)
Hyperactivity
Persistent nightmares
Persistent disobedience or aggression
Frequent temper tantrums