One of the biggest epidemics in this country is the care for mental illness patients. Mental illness is such a major issue in this country to where very few celebrities, politicians and national leaders speak on this subject. Unfortunately, mental illness is a taboo subject to speak about when it comes to addressing the needs of the afflicted and their loved ones, but mental illnesses are everywhere.
I first learned about mental illnesses because I had a friend diagnosed with bi-polar. Initially, I was eager to learn and help them so I was inundated with more pamphlets and flyers then going to a college fair. One of the first sections I searched for in the information was cures or treatments to end their suffering. I was shaking my head thinking that there was a mistake, but there wasn’t. There was no cure for bipolar. I had to go back and learn what this illness was, why it happened, and how could I help.
As a person ready to take on any adversity, I had no idea what I was up against. This wasn’t an illness to fight off like the flu. My naïve gumption to help was about to get real. This was the first step of my journey. Understanding that mental illnesses are everywhere and the fact that I had never seen it was astonishing. With that being said, I had a very positive outlook, however the way I saw people with illnesses would never be the same.
The definition of Bi-Polar varies from person to person. At the time this occurred there wasn’t really any great websites to learn from except the National Alliance on Mental Illness (aka, NAMI). NAMI had some similar content, but nothing that I was looking for to understand the mental illness.
NAMI’s Bipolar Disorder Definition:
Bipolar disorder is a chronic mental illness that causes dramatic shifts in a person’s mood, energy and ability to think clearly. People with bipolar have high and low moods, known as mania and depression, which differ from the typical ups and downs most people experience. If left untreated, the symptoms usually get worse. However, with a strong lifestyle that includes self-management and a good treatment plan, many people live well with the condition. https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Bipolar-Disorder.
After countless more blogs and articles, I learned that mental illness is a chemical imbalance in the brain. They are incapable of flipping a switch and stopping the illness. The mental illness or disorder is there 24/7, 365 days a year. Some of these illnesses come with another diagnosis of a different related mental illness. NAMI has said that 1 in 4 people suffer from a mental illness.
For my situation, I was still learning about bi-polar. However, bi-polar isn’t the only mental illness, there are quite a bit more. Here are some other major mental illnesses:
- Schizophrenia – can be a scary illness when it goes untreated. The illness doesn’t allow the person to use rationale as “common sense” to solve problems, handle feelings, or function as an independent individual. There’s no cure.
- Autism – varies from each person but has extremely high levels of normalcy to the level that one is unable to care for themselves. Due to the variance of functionality, the illness may or may not have an effect on the individual’s future for an independent life. There’s no cure.
- Borderline Personality Disorder – isn’t a very popular illness, but more common than we realize. This disorder can result in some serious damage. Individuals diagnosed with this illness suffer emotional instability and could lead to self-harm. There’s no cure.
There are some other notable illnesses I didn’t list and explain. However, I will still list some others because I think it’s important to name as many disorders that people struggle with in order to have a normal functioning life. The more visibility we can bring to these illnesses the better.
Here is a larger list of some of the other mental illnesses and disorders:
- ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
- Borderline Personality Disorder
- Dissociative Disorders
- Eating Disorders
- Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
- Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
- And many more
For more information, here’s a list of resources I found on Google search “list of mental illness” within the search bar. Please feel free to click on these links if you’d like more information.
Psych Central – http://psychcentral.com/disorders/
Web MD – http://www.webmd.com/mental-health/mental-health-types-illness
Social Security – http://www.ssa.gov/disability/professionals/bluebook/12.00-MentalDisorders-Adult.htm
Again, these mental illnesses are everywhere. In most cases, these illnesses are also hereditary. Some of these people are within your everyday circle of family, friends, and colleagues. Therefore, be careful when you think a person may be dealing with personal and/or emotional issues. They may possibly have a diagnosed mental illness, and they’re embarrassed to share it with you. No matter if they share or not, I’ve learned not to judge. Mental illness carries a very nasty stigma. If you are privy to this information, remember this is a very private and personal matter.
At the end of the day, mental illnesses are no joke. No matter what stance you take on this issue, I’ll caution you to be diligent with your steps to treat yourself or someone you know. Take the time to dig deeper and learn more about the person or situation. DO NOT ASSUME ANYTHING. Everyone is different. Every diagnosis is different. Everyone has a different story. Therefore, be respectful of the person and their condition.
DISCLAIMER: I’m not an expert in this field. I AM NOT ADVISING ANYONE to use this information for treatment. Treatment needs to be by a licensed professional. If you’re in need of treatment, please go and get help immediately.
I write this because my business is personal. My struggles are for your gain. No strings attached.
Nathan A. Webster, MBA