Is Mental Illness common?
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 some warning signs of mental illness? Symptoms of mental disorders vary depending on the type and severity of the condition. Some general symptoms that may suggest a mental disorder include: In adults:
- Confused thinking
- Long-lasting sadness or irritability
- Extreme highs and lows in mood
- Excessive fear, worrying or anxiety
- Social withdrawal
- Dramatic changes in eating or sleeping habits
- Strong feelings of anger
- Delusions or hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not really there)
- Increasing inability to cope with daily problems and activities
- Thoughts of suicide
- Denial of obvious problems
- Many unexplained physical problems
- Abuse of drugs and/or alcohol
In older children and pre-teens:
- Abuse of drugs and/or alcohol
- Inability to cope with daily problems and activities
- Changes in sleeping and/or eating habits
- Excessive complaints of physical problems
- Defying authority, skipping school, stealing or damaging property
- Intense fear of gaining weight
- Long-lasting negative mood, often along with poor appetite and thoughts of death
- Frequent outbursts of anger
In younger children:
- Changes in school performance
- Poor grades despite strong efforts
- Excessive worrying or anxiety
- Persistent nightmares
- Persistent disobedience and/or aggressive behavior
- Frequent temper tantrums
Can I see a psychiatrist only?
Following a diagnostic assessment, a clinician will make recommendations regarding which services would be most effective for you. An agency cannot have a policy of denying all clients access to psychiatry simply because clients did not also accept counseling (or other) services at the same agency. However, depending upon the specifics of an individual case, a psychiatrist may not feel comfortable prescribing to a client who is refusing other services that the psychiatrist believes are essential for symptom management.
What should you do if someone tells you they are thinking about suicide?
If someone tells you they are thinking about suicide, you should take their distress seriously, listen non-judgmentally, and help them get to a professional for evaluation and treatment. People consider suicide when they are hopeless and unable to see alternative solutions to problems. Suicidal behavior is most often related to a mental disorder (depression) or to alcohol or other substance abuse. Suicidal behavior is also more likely to occur when people experience stressful events (major losses, incarceration). If someone is in imminent danger of harming himself or herself, do not leave the person alone. You may need to take emergency steps to get help, such as calling 911 or contacting the 24-Hour Crisis Line at 330-343-1811 or 330-627-1141. When someone is in a suicidal crisis, it is important to limit access to firearms or other lethal means of committing suicide.
Does treatment really work?
Yes, research shows that the success rates for addiction treatment are equal to the success rates for other chronic illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension and asthma. Approximately 40 – 60% of individuals who complete chemical dependency treatment and attend self-help groups (such as Alcoholics Anonymous) are likely to remain abstinent from alcohol or other drugs.