Frequently Asked Questions


 

What is a mental illness?

A mental illness is a medical condition that disrupts a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning. Just as diabetes is a disorder of the pancreas, mental illnesses are medical conditions that often result in a diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of life.

What is considered a serious mental illness?
Serious mental illnesses include major depressive disorder, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and borderline personality disorder.

What is Depression?
Everyone occasionally feels blue or sad. But these feelings are usually short-lived and pass within a couple of days. When you have depression, it interferes with daily life and causes pain for both you and those who care about you. Depression is a common but serious illness.

What are symptoms of depression?
• Changes in appetite that result in weight losses or
• gains unrelated to dieting
• Insomnia or oversleeping
• Loss of energy or increased fatigue
• Restlessness or irritability
• Feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt
• Difficulty thinking, concentrating, or making decisions
• Thoughts of death or suicide or attempts at suicide.

What are the causes of mental illness?
The exact cause of mental illness is not known but researches have shown that these conditions are caused by a combination of biological, psychological and environmental factors.

Who gets mental illnesses?
Mental illnesses can affect persons of any age, race, religion, or income. There can be various reasons to get mental illness which can be discussed with your psychiatrist.

How common is mental illness?
Mental illnesses are very common; in fact, they are more common than cancer, diabetes or heart disease. According to the U.S. Surgeon General, an estimated 23% of American adults (those ages 18 and older) or about 44 million people, and about 20% of American children suffer from a mental disorder during a given year.

What are the warning signs of mental illness?
The warning signs differ depending on the type and intensity of the illness. Few common signs are sleep and appetite disturbance, Lack of energy and motivation, confusion, poor performance at work, , thoughts of suicide, intense fear or anxiety, difficulty in attention and concentration, denial of obvious problems, many unexplained physical problems, abuse of drugs and/or alcohol, irritability and social withdrawal.

What treatment options are available?
Just as there are different types of medications for physical illness, different treatment options are available for individuals with mental illness. Talk to the mental health provider to find what works best for you or your child.

What is a difference between a psychiatrist and psychologist?
• Psychiatrist: A psychiatrist is a medical doctor that specializes in the treatment of mental disorders. They hold a medical degree and are trained in the practice of Psychiatry. They have completed three years of graduate training in Psychiatry in a program approved by the American Medical Association or the American Osteopathic Association and is certified or eligible to be certified by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.
• Psychologist: A psychologist is someone who studies the mind and behavior. Psychologists are licensed by a state examining board and has a doctoral degree from a regionally accredited institution obtained from an integrated program of graduate study in psychology. This person must also have had at least two years of supervised experience.

Can mental illness be prevented?
It is difficult to prevent but the prognosis can be better if one is leading a healthy lifestyle and is away from drugs and alcohol.

What are the chances of getting completely cured?
This depends on the severity and type of illness and should be discussed with a mental health professional. However, most people with mental illnesses who are diagnosed and treated will respond well and live productive lives. Many never have the same problem again, although some will experience a return of symptoms.

Will my insurance pay for the treatment?
Yes, most of the health insurances pay for mental health services. You may contact your health insurance to find about mental health benefits.

How do I get immediate mental health help?
Call 911 for police assistance if the emergency is life-threatening, or may result in immediate physical harm to a person or substantial destruction to property. You may also call suicide prevention line 1-800-273-8255.

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