Fear of Mental Illness

Mental illness is a healthy disorder that affects the way an individual think, behaves, acts, feels and interacts with other people. I fear this type of sickness s because it causes a large amount of suffering to the individual experiencing it, their families and friends. Mental illnesses vary in severity; the major types include personality disorders, eating disorder, anxiety, depression, bipolar mood disorder and schizophrenia. The most common mental illnesses are depressive and anxiety disorder. It is normal for every individual to have a strong feeling of sadness, fear or tension, but if the feeling becomes so overwhelming and disturbing, it indicates presence of mental illness.

Espejo (2012) explains that schizophrenia and bipolar causes difficulty to deal with day to day activities such as maintaining relationships, enjoying leisure time and work. Mood disorder is a less common form of mental illness that involves psychosis. An acute psychosis period makes an individual to lose touch with reality and start seeing the world differently. This will affect their ability to make sense of feeling, thoughts, and the world surrounding them. It is the type of mental illness that makes me fear the ailment. This is because it involves delusions such as false beliefs of grandeur, guilt, and persecution. It can also include hallucinations where a person smells, tastes, hears or sees things that are not there.

Mental illness is not due to failure of a person, but it can occur to any individual. Bista (2013) states that there exists no single cause of mental illness, but they are rather caused by a combination of environmental, psychological and biological factors. Persons who have a history of mental illness in their family are more prone to the disease. Ecological and psychological factors such as human exposure and upbringing form the foundation for harmful contemplations patterns that are related to mental illness. Changes in the chemistry of the brain due to diet changes and substance abuse can cause mental disorder.

Campellone (2014) expounds that mental illness causes a wide diversity of emotional symptoms like chronic anxiety, impulsive actions, and exaggerated sense of self-worth, erratic thinking, and changes in moods. However, mental illness does not cause physical symptoms except depression, that indirectly causes loss of libido, weight loss or fatigue ( Espejo, 2012). Eating disorder causes amenorrhea in women, weight loss electrolyte imbalances resulting from self-induced vomiting or malnutrition. Eating disorders is one of the most dangerous mental illnesses.

Mental illness makes an individual to be withdrawn from their peers due to perceived and unattractive behavior or personality traits. They also cause feelings of helplessness, fear or anger if the person is not aware of what is happening. Studies have illustrated mental illness to be the leading cause of suicide (Bista, 2013). It is hard to carry an accurate self-diagnosis but only a face to face session with a qualified physician gives the accurate diagnoses.

Mentally ill persons are stigmatized by their family, friends, and society. This condition in most cultures is viewed as an ailment caused by witchcraft. These taboos and beliefs make the individuals feel out of place causing them commit suicide (Bista, 2013). According to Campellone (2014),mental illness is treated through drug prescription in conjunction with cognitive therapy or behavioral therapy. Anti-psychotic, anti-depressant and mood stabilizers are the broad use drugs in the treatment of mental illness.

Conferring with Bista (2013), mental illness has a broad reaching impact on people’s relationships, physical health, employment, and education. Drug and substance abuse are the leading cause of mental illness to school going children and young youth. There are so many stereotypes that depict mentally ill individuals as being unpredictable, dangerous, incompetent or responsible for their actions, causing an ongoing discrimination like excluding these individual from social, employment or education opportunities.

McNaly (2011) states that the perception may turn to be internalized leading to self-stigma development. Mentally ill people may start to believe in the negative opinions expressed by others making them change their self-opinion. They start thinking of themselves as unable to recover, dangerous, unworthy of care, or responsible for their illnesses. This disease causes them to have low self-esteem, shame or unable to accomplish goals. This self-stigma leads to the formation of ‘‘why try’’ effect where an individual believes he or she is unable to live normally or recover.  Some people avoid treatment by hiding or denying their problem to prevent discrimination.

Campellone (2014) describes that culture, networks or knowledge influences the relationship between access to care and stigma. For example, mental illness myths and its treatment lead to the development of discriminatory and stigma practices. Social networks including coworkers, friends, and family members have a significant impact on the individual’s decision made to follow treatment; either to encourage treatment or enhance stigma feelings. According to McNally (2011), the social consequences of mental illness stigma include; abuse of human rights, reduction of dignity and self-esteem, limits employment and housing opportunity, and damaging social participation and social relationships.

The reason why I fear to be mentally illness is due to the perception of the society, myths, symptoms and effects. Being mentally ill disrupts a student education system, performance, and interaction with their peers. Individual who are working tend to lose their positions and occupations creating economic burdens. Mostly, mentally ill individuals are perceived as mad due to hallucinations and other symptoms. I try to prevent myself from mental illness through stress management techniques that fights depression and anxiety and I don’t abuse drugs and other substances.

References

Bista, A. (2013). Association between Mental Disorders and Suicide. Health Prospect, 11(0). http://dx.doi.org/10.3126/hprospect.v11i0.7441

Campellone, T. (2014). Treating the cause, not the symptoms, of mental illness stigma. The Lancet Psychiatry, 1(2), 96-97. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/s2215-0366(14)70253-6

Espejo, R. (2012). Mental illness. Detroit: Greenhaven Press.

McNally, R. (2011). What is mental illness?. Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.

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