A buzzword, A reality, A nightmare.
Why is everyone suddenly getting sick?
- The Covid Era?
- Harsh Economic Times?
Whatever the reason, this cluster of jargon and overall confusion is a big issue.
Did you know that in Kenya (my home), 1 out of every 4 individuals seeking healthcare has a mental health condition? This ranks Kenya as 4th in Africa with 1.9 million people affected by mental illness, with depression being the most common condition followed by substance and alcohol abuse.
Putting scary statistics aside, this document aims to answer the following questions:
- What is a mental disorder?
- How does it affect individuals?
- What can be done to address it?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a mental disorder is a disturbance in an individual’s cognition, emotional regulation, or behavior that is clinically significant. It is typically associated with distress or impairment in important areas of functioning.
Some mental health illnesses include:
- Depression: It is characterized by poor concentration, persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness about the future, and a loss of interest in activities. Depression can affect a person’s mood, thoughts, and physical well-being. This varies from regular mood fluctuations and normal everyday emotional responses to life.
Did You Know: Globally, an estimated 5% of adults suffer from depression.
- Anxiety Disorders: These include conditions such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, phobias, and social anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders involve excessive worrying, fear, and apprehension that can interfere with daily activities.
Anxiety Fact: (This article will be full of them) Autophobia, also known as monophobia, isolophobia, or eremophobia, is a specific phobia characterized by a morbid fear or dread of oneself or of being alone, isolated, abandoned, or ignored.
- Bipolar Disorder: This condition involves extreme mood swings, ranging from manic episodes characterized by elevated mood and increased energy, to depressive episodes marked by low mood and loss of interest. Bipolar disorder can affect a person’s mood, energy levels, and ability to function.
The Rule of 3, well sort of: Bipolar disorder is a category that includes three different diagnoses:
- Schizophrenia: A chronic and severe mental disorder that affects a person’s thinking, perception, emotions, and behaviour. Symptoms can include hallucinations, delusions, disorganized thinking, extreme agitation and social withdrawal.
5. Eating Disorders: Conditions such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder are characterized by unhealthy eating behaviors, distorted body image, and an obsession with body weight and food.
6. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): This disorder can develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. It involves symptoms such as flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety, and avoidance of triggers related to the traumatic experience.
7. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): OCD involves unwanted and intrusive thoughts, also known as obsessions, as well as repetitive behaviors or rituals, also known as compulsions. These compulsions are performed by individuals to alleviate anxiety.
8. Neurodevelopmental disorders: They typically occur during the developmental period and are characterized by behavioral and cognitive disorders. Examples of neurodevelopmental disorders include disorders of intellectual development, autism spectrum disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), among others.
The list provided is not extensive and only includes a handful of examples. There are many other mental health illnesses that have their own specific symptoms and challenges, and they can present differently in individuals.
It’s important to note that mental health illnesses are medical conditions that should be diagnosed by healthcare professionals, such as psychiatrists or psychologists. They typically require a thorough, in-depth evaluation of symptoms, personal history, and sometimes diagnostic tools.
It’s important to recognize that mental health illnesses are treatable. Seeking the right professional help is crucial for proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment. With the right support, individuals with mental health illnesses can manage their symptoms and lead long and fulfilling lives.
KEEP HOPE ALIVE