Mental disorders – or mental disorders are diseases that affect the emotions, thought patterns, and behavior of the sufferer. As with physical illness, mental illness also has a cure.
In the world, people with mental disorders are identified as ‘crazy people’ or ‘mentally ill’, and often experience unpleasant treatment, even to the point of shackling. In fact, people with mental disorders can be taken to the hospital to be given treatment.
There are many factors that can trigger mental disorders, ranging from suffering from certain illnesses to experiencing stress due to traumatic events, such as the death of a loved one, loss of a job, or being isolated for a long time.
Considering these traumatic events have often been experienced by many people lately, it’s no wonder that the COVID-19 pandemic is also often associated with the emergence of mental disorders in a person.
Symptoms of Mental Disorders
The symptoms and signs of mental disorders depend on the type of mental disorder being experienced. Sufferers can experience disturbances in emotions, thought patterns, and behavior. Some examples of mental illness symptoms are:
- Understanding or delusions, namely believing in something that is not real or not in accordance with actual facts.
- Hallucinations, namely the sensation when someone sees, hears, or feels something that is not real.
- Changes in mood over certain periods.
- Feelings of sadness that last for weeks, even months.
- Excessive and persistent feelings of anxiety and fear, to the point of interfering with daily activities.
- Eating disorders such as fear of gaining weight, tend to vomit food, or eat large amounts of food.
- Changes in sleep patterns, such as easily drowsiness and falling asleep, difficulty sleeping, and breathing problems and restless legs during sleep.
- Nicotine and alcohol addiction, and drug abuse.
- Getting angry so much that you go berserk and commit acts of violence.
- Unreasonable behavior, such as screaming incoherently, talking and laughing to yourself, and leaving the house naked.
In addition to psychological symptoms, people with mental disorders can also experience physical symptoms, such as headaches, backaches, and heartburn.
When to see a doctor
Immediately consult a mental health specialist (psychiatrist) if you experience the symptoms above, especially if several of these symptoms appear simultaneously and interfere with daily activities.
If the person around you shows symptoms of mental disorders, invite him to share and talk carefully about the symptoms they are experiencing. If possible, take him to see a psychiatrist.
Hurry to the emergency room of the mental hospital if there are signs of hurting yourself and others, especially if there is a desire to commit suicide. If this happens to people around you, stay with them and call the emergency number.
Causes of Mental Disorders
It is not certain what causes mental disorders. However, this condition is known to be associated with biological and psychological factors, as will be described below:
- Biological factors (also called organic mental disorders)
Disorders of the function of nerve cells in the brain.
- Infections, for example due to Streptococcus bacteria.
- Congenital abnormalities or injury to the brain.
- Brain damage from collisions or accidents.
- Lack of oxygen to the baby’s brain during childbirth.
- Have parents or families with mental disorders.
- Long-term abuse of drugs, eg heroin and cocaine.
- Nutritional deficiencies.
- Psychological factors
- Traumatic events, such as violence and sexual harassment.
- Losing a parent or being neglected in childhood.
- Less able to get along with others.
- Divorce or death by spouse.
- Feelings of inferiority complex, inadequacy, anger, or loneliness.
In addition to the psychological factors mentioned above, the World Health Organization (WHO) states that being in a pandemic situation, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, can also be a stressor that then makes people more susceptible to mental disorders.
Such stress can come from fear and worry about health, finances or work, which many have been affected by the pandemic.
Diagnosis of Mental Disorders
To determine the type of mental disorder suffered by a patient, the psychiatrist will conduct a mental medical examination by interviewing the patient or his family. Questions to ask include:
- Symptoms experienced, including since when the symptoms appeared and their impact on daily activities.
- History of mental illness in the patient and his family.
- Events experienced by the patient in the past that trigger trauma.
- Medicines and supplements that have been or are being consumed.
In order to rule out the possibility of other diseases, the doctor will perform a physical examination and supporting examinations. One of the supporting tests performed is a blood test.
Through a blood test, the doctor can find out whether the patient’s symptoms are caused by thyroid disorders, alcoholism, or drug abuse.
Examples of Mental Disorders
After carrying out a number of examinations, the doctor can determine the type of mental disorder the patient is experiencing. Of the many types of mental disorders, some of the most common are:
Depression is a mood disorder that causes sufferers to feel constantly sad. Unlike ordinary sadness that lasts several days, feelings of sadness with depression can last for weeks or months.
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that causes complaints of hallucinations, delusions, and confusion of thought and behavior. Schizophrenia makes the sufferer unable to distinguish between reality and their own thoughts.
3. Anxiety disorders
Anxiety disorders are mental disorders that make sufferers feel anxious and fearful in excess and continuously in carrying out daily activities. People with anxiety disorders can experience panic attacks that are prolonged and difficult to control.
4. Bipolar disorder
Bipolar disorder is a type of mental disorder characterized by mood swings. People with bipolar disorder can feel very sad and hopeless for certain periods, then be very happy in other periods.
5. Sleep disturbances
Sleep disturbances are changes in sleep patterns that interfere with the health and quality of life of the sufferer. Some examples of sleep disorders are difficulty sleeping (insomnia), nightmares (parasomnia), or very easily falling asleep (narcolepsy).
Mental Disorders Treatment
Treatment of mental disorders depends on the type of disorder experienced and its severity. In addition to cognitive behavioral therapy and medication, the doctor will also advise the patient to lead a healthy lifestyle.
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Cognitive behavioral therapy
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of psychotherapy that aims to change the patient’s mindset and response, from negative to positive. This therapy is the main choice for treating mental disorders, such as depression, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, and sleep disorders.
In most cases, doctors will combine cognitive behavioral therapy and medication, to make treatment more effective.
To relieve symptoms experienced by sufferers and increase the effectiveness of psychotherapy, doctors may prescribe the following drugs:
- Antidepressants, eg fluoxetine
- Antipsychotics, such as aripiprazole.
- Anxiety reliever, eg alprazolam.
- Mood stabilizer, such as lithium.
- Lifestyle changes
Living a healthy lifestyle can improve the quality of sleep for people with mental disorders who also experience sleep disorders, especially when combined with the above treatment methods. Some steps that can be taken are:
- Reducing sugar intake in food.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables.
- Limit consumption of caffeinated drinks.
- Quit smoking and drinking alcohol.
- Manage stress well.
- Doing exercise regularly.
- Eat a light carbohydrate snack before bed.
- Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day.
If you experience severe mental disorders, the patient needs to be treated in a mental hospital. Likewise, if the sufferer cannot undergo independent treatment or takes action that endangers himself and others.
Complications of Mental Disorders
Mental disorders can cause serious complications, both physical, emotional and behavioral. In fact, one mental disorder that is not resolved can trigger other mental disorders. Some of the complications that can arise are:
- Feelings of unhappiness in life.
- Conflict with family members.
- Difficulty building relationships with other people.
- Isolated from social life.
- Addiction to cigarettes, alcohol, or drugs.
- The desire to commit suicide and harm others.
- Got caught up in legal and financial problems.
- Susceptible to illness due to decreased immune system.
- Mental Disorders Prevention
Not all mental disorders can be prevented. However, there are several steps you can take to reduce the risk of mental illness attacks, namely:
- Continue to participate actively in the associations and activities that you enjoy.
- Share with friends and family when you have problems.
- Do regular exercise, eat regularly, and manage stress well.
- Go to bed and wake up regularly at the same time every day.
- Do not smoke and use drugs.
- Limit your consumption of alcoholic beverages and caffeinated drinks.
- Take the drugs prescribed by the doctor, according to the dosage and the rules of use.
- Immediately see a doctor if symptoms of mental disorders appear.