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Mental Illness

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									                                Mental Illness

Mental illness (psychiatric disorders): A disorderly functioning of the mind
(Sproule, 2001).

      In general, mental illness refers to clinically significant patterns of
      behavioural or emotional functioning that are associated with some
      level of distress, suffering, or impairment of one or more areas of
      everyday functioning (i.e. school, work, family & social interactions).

Canada bases or judges someone mentally unwell under several criteria.
Three major areas of these criteria are:

   1. Persistent personal unhappiness
   2. Inability to function in society
   3. Antisocial behaviour that harms self or other individuals.

          In Ontario, 1 out of every 5 adolescents suffers from a
           psychiatric disorder.
          4 out 5 people in Canada will have a family member affected by
           a mental illness.

Past Categorization

Mental illnesses used to be categorized into two main groups:

   1. Neurotic Disorders (Neurosis) – Illnesses / disorders that cause
      individuals to be extremely anxious or tense. These individuals
      usually react to situations that most people would not find dangerous
      at all.
   2. Psychotic Disorders (Psychosis) – Is when an individual loses touch
      with the real world. These individuals have their own perception of
      reality that is totally different from those shared by most people.

The American Psychological Association (A.P.A.) changed their
classifications in favour of numerous categories that linked illnesses based
on similar symptoms.

-Anxiety Disorders       - Mood Disorders           - Personality Disorders
- Schizophrenic Disorders - Eating Disorders        - Substance Disorders
                                 Mental Illness

                              Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety arises from stress (remember what Freud said, anxiety comes from
the battle between the id, ego and superego & relieved by defence
mechanisms), this is pare of everyday life. The problem becomes when it
(anxiety) becomes severe or prolonged.

Using the “Understanding Anxiety Disorders” handout and pages 88 to 93 in
the test “The Human Way”, please answer the following questions.

   1.   Please define the mental illness group of Anxiety disorders (handout).
   2.   How many individuals are affected by Anxiety disorders?
   3.   What illnesses are grouped into this category (handout)?
   4.   Please define the symptoms, causes and treatment for PANIC
        DISORDERS (attacks) and PHOBIAS (text and handout).
                          Anxiety Disorders

1. Please define the mental illness group of Anxiety disorders.

- Anxiety disorders are a group of disorders that affect behaviour,
  thoughts emotions and physical health.
- Individuals suffering from this illness are subject to intense, prolonged
  feelings of fright and distress for no obvious reason. This disorder can
  turn a life into continuous feelings of unease and fear that can
  interfere with all social aspects of life.
- It is common for people to suffer from more than one anxiety disorder
  and also coexist with depression or a physical condition as well.

2. How many individuals are affected by Anxiety disorders?

-   1 in 10 people.
-   Most prevalent in women
-   Can affect children as well as men
-   12% of Canadian population.

3. What illnesses are grouped into this category?

- Panic Disorder, Phobias (Social and Specific), Post-Traumatic Stress
  Disorder, OCD, Generalized Anxiety Disorder.

4. Please define the symptoms, causes and treatment for PANIC
   DISORDERS (attacks) and PHOBIAS.

Panic Disorders

Symptoms:
- Fear
- Intense physical anxiety (symptoms of a heart attack, stomach issues).
- Emotional anxiety (Feelings that are not real, fear of dying).
- Can even pass out
- 3 panic attacks in one week – look for heart attack symptoms.
   Causes
   - Stress
   - Imbalances in brain chemistry
   - Combination of social, biological and psychological causes.

   Treatment
   - Medication
   - Cognitive therapy (teach patients that the symptoms they fear are
      exaggerated).
   - Behavioural therapy (Face fear with support – condition yourself to
      not fear the given situation).
   - Combination of drugs and therapy (cognitive, behavioural or both).
   - Train breathing and use meditation.

Phobias

Symptoms
  - An irrational and debilitating fear (affects work performance).
  - Social phobia: Individuals feel a paralysing, irrational self-
     consciousness about social situations.
  - Specific Phobias: People suffering from a specific phobia (water,
     spiders, etc.) are overwhelmed by unreasonable fears that they are not
     able to control.

Causes

   - Same as Panic attacks
   - A combination of a state of high anxiety (under lots of stress) and an
     object is associated with this anxiety (classical conditioning – neutral
     stimulus).

Treatment

   -   Exposure therapy (classical conditioning)
   -   Relaxation techniques
   -   Medication to relieve anxiety.
   -   Cognitive-behavioural therapy.

								
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