Mental Health

The human mind serves as the control centre for all the functions of the body. Because everything is connected to the brain via the network of the nervous system, a malfunction or disorder in the brain can greatly alter the health state of the rest of the individual. At present, the National Institutes of Health estimate that there are about 60 million Americans aged 18 and older who develop a form of mental disorder. Dealing with a mental ailment in the family has always been a challenge for both the patient and his relatives, which is why people who are diagnosed with such conditions should be given medical help immediately.

Because the symptoms and conditions connected with mental illnesses vary greatly, doctors classified them into two categories: functional disorders and organic disorders. These two subdivisions have helped mental health experts determine avenues for conventional and alternative treatments.

Organic mental disorders are caused by damage to brain tissues and nerves, which are congenital in nature and are often diagnosed at birth or early in life. Some examples of which are mental retardation, Down syndrome, and other conditions where the person has an abnormally low IQ. According to statistics, about 3% of the people in the United States are mentally retarded. There are several institutions across the nation which help children and adults with such disorders.

For persons suffering from functional mental disorders, they have no physical damage or abnormalities in their brain tissues, and from the outside, they look just like normal healthy individuals. Most functional mental disorders develop from an event during childhood and progresses until adult life. Functional disorders are classified into five: neuroses, psychosomatic disorders, personality disorders, and psychoses.

Neuroses are more on changes in the emotions of the person, rather than his physical behavior. Some examples of these are anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), depression, and phobic reaction. Anxiety is when a person feels constant bouts of fear and apprehension even if there was no reason to do so. A patient with OCD performs repetitive habits out of the notion that something negative will happen if he does not complete them. When a person persistently feels pessimistic to extreme levels, he or she may be suffering from depression. A phobia is the tremendous fear of an object or scenario, often causing the body to illicit the flight or fight response.

Psychosomatic disorders, which are physical ailments that are triggered by a mental cause, even if there is no physiological problem, may be manifested through skin conditions, cramps, ulcers, and others. Some examples of personality disorders are sociopaths, paranoids, and passive-dependent individuals. The most common psychosis is schizophrenia, which affects about 2 million people in America.

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