Mental Health Disorders
Mental health is a vast arena that far extends outside of the mental health bible, the DSMIV.
Stereotypically, mental health is linked directly to psychiatric units and generally the lay person has visions of something out of ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest” as a typical mental health scenario.
Mental health disorders refers mostly to the way a person thinks-feels and behaves, i.e. how a persons personality changes and its impact on the immediate environment and society. Mental health disorders includes depression-anxiety disorders-schizophrenia-anxiety disorders/phobias-addictive/compulsive behaviours and eating disorders.
At Twin Rivers, the clinical team mostly work with clients who suffer with a Dual Diagnosis which means the client has an existing addiction and mental health disorder. A common example of Dual Diagnosis would be alcoholism and depression. The issue then arises as to what came first? The depression or the alcoholism? If not professionally addressed then the addiction could enhance the mental heath disorder and visa versa!
Mental Health Diagnosis
At times it is extremely difficult to pinpoint which recognised mental health disorder a client may be suffering from. The Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders offers readers endless amounts of traits that cross-over regularly into various other disorders. It is beacuse of reasons such as this that it is advisable to get a second opinion regarding a clinical diagnosis.
Signs & Symptoms
- Feeling sad or apathetic
- Confused thinking-inability to concentrate
- Excessive and obsessive fears
- Extreme feelings of guilt
- Extreme mood swings
- Withdrawal from society-isolation
- Significant tiredness-problems sleeping
- Detachment from reality (psychosis)-paranoia or hallucinations
- Inability to cope with simple daily tasks, problems or stress
- Trouble understanding and relating to situations and to other people
- Alcohol or drug abuse
- Changes in eating habits-restricting or over-eating
- Sex drive changes
- Excessive anger-hostility or violence
- Suicidal thoughts
- Drug & Alcohol abuse can cause depression and psychosis
- Trauma can lead to depression or an anxiety disorder
- Environment exposure/pressure can contribute towards mental health issues such as a poor family dynamic that supports a limited communication style
- Certain ‘genes’ may increase your risk of developing a mental health disorder-perhaps more susceptible to mental health impacted by life events
- Unresolved & contained feelings can result in a mental health disorder such as depression if the person continuously avoids or has an inability to express important/potent feelings
David is the Clinical and Development Director of Twin Rivers Rehab in South Africa and a UK Accredited Addictions Therapist with the Federation of Drug and Alcohol Professionals UK. Articles/Blogs are written with the assistance of researchers and other specialists in the field of addiction and the recovery process