Many people believe that mental illness is rare, but this is not true. Approximately 54 million people in the United States suffer from a mental disorder or illness in one year. Mental illness affects 1 in 4 people worldwide at some point in their lives. Most of these illnesses are easy to treat with medication, psychotherapy, or both, but can get out of control if left untreated. If you think you may be experiencing symptoms of mental illness, try to seek help from a trained professional as soon as possible.
Part 1 of 3: Understanding Mental Illness
Step 1. Understand that mental illness is not your fault
Society often judges mental illness and those who have it, and it is easy for sufferers to believe that they have the disease because they are worthless or not trying enough. This is not true. If you do suffer from mental illness, it is due to a health condition, not personal failure or anything else. A medical professional or mental health professional will not make it sound like you are to blame for the disease, and neither should the attitude of the people in your life or even yourself.
Step 2. Understand the biological factors that can cause it
There is no single cause of mental illness, but there are a variety of biological factors that are known to alter conditions in the brain and cause hormonal imbalances.
- genetic factors. Some mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression, are strongly linked to genetics. If anyone in your family is diagnosed with a mental illness, you are more at risk of developing the disease because of this genetic factor.
- Physiological damage. Injuries such as severe head trauma or exposure to viruses, bacteria or toxins while still in the womb, can lead to mental illness. The use of illegal drugs and/or alcohol in excess can cause or exacerbate mental illness.
- Chronic medical conditions. Chronic medical conditions such as cancer and other severe long-term illnesses can increase your risk of developing mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression.
Step 3. Understand possible risk environmental factors
Some mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression are deeply connected to the environment around you and your well-being. Disturbance and instability can cause or exacerbate mental illness.
- Difficult life experience. Highly emotional or stressful situations in life can trigger mental illness in a person. This can happen because of an event such as the loss of a loved one, or it can happen because of something that happened over a short period of time such as sexual, physical or emotional abuse. Experience fighting in war or being an ER officer can also trigger mental illness.
- Stress. Stress can exacerbate mental illness and also cause mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety. Family conflicts, financial difficulties, and work-related worries can be sources of stress.
- Lonely. Not having a strong network of supportive people and a lack of healthy relationships can trigger or exacerbate mental illness.
Step 4. Recognize the signs and symptoms that are warning signs of mental illness
Some mental illnesses are present at birth, but others develop over time or appear suddenly. The following are symptoms that can be a sign of mental illness:
- Feeling sad or upset
- Feeling confused or lost
- Feelings of apathy or loss of interest
- Excessive anxiety and anger/violence/hatred
- Feelings of fear/paranoia
- Difficulty dealing with feelings
- Difficulty concentrating
- Difficulty in handling responsibilities
- Tendency to withdraw or withdraw socially
- Sleep problems
- Delusions and/or hallucinations
- A strange, grandiose idea, or escape from reality
- Excessive use of alcohol or drugs
- Significant changes in eating habits or sex drive
- Thoughts or plans to commit suicide
Step 5. Recognize worrying physical signs and symptoms
Sometimes, physical symptoms can be a warning sign of mental illness. If you experience persistent symptoms, seek medical attention. Worrying symptoms include:
- Pain in the back, chest
- Fast heartbeat
- dry mouth
- Digestive problems
- Drastic changes in weight
- Drastic changes in sleep patterns
Step 6. Find out how drastic your symptoms are
Many of these symptoms appear in response to everyday events, and are therefore not necessarily a sign that you have mental illness. You may feel anxious if these symptoms do not go away, and, most importantly, if they are negatively impacting your ability to function in daily life. Never be afraid to seek medical help.
Part 2 of 3: Seeking Professional Help
Step 1. Understand the types of assistance available
There are many experts trained in the mental health area, and although their roles often overlap, each area specializes.
- Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in psychiatry. Psychiatrists are the best trained psychologists and are usually the best source to help you manage your medications. They are also trained in diagnosing mental illness, including severe illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
- Clinical psychologists have a doctorate in psychology and usually have completed training in a mental health facility. They can diagnose mental illness, perform psychological tests, and provide psychotherapy. They can only give prescriptions if they have special permission.
- Mental Health Nurse Practitioners or Psychiatrists have at least a master's degree and have had specialized training in mental health. They can diagnose mental illness and give prescriptions. In some situations, they can also provide psychotherapy. Depending on your circumstances, they may have to work with a psychiatrist.
- Social Worker has at least a master's degree in social science. Social workers who are licensed and work in clinics have already completed assignments in mental health facilities and underwent training in mental health counseling. They can provide therapy but cannot prescribe. Usually they are very familiar with supporting social systems and resources.
- Extension workers have a master's degree in extension and usually have internships in mental health facilities. They tend to focus on specific mental illness issues such as drug addiction, although they cannot provide counseling on various mental health issues. They cannot prescribe, and in many states in the United States, they cannot diagnose mental illness.
- General practitioners usually don't have specific training in mental health, but they can prescribe and can help you maintain holistic health.
Step 2. Visit your doctor
Some mental illnesses, such as anxiety and depression, can often be treated with medications your doctor may prescribe. Try talking to your doctor about your symptoms and share your concerns.
- Your doctor may be able to refer you to a mental health professional trained in your area.
- A mental health diagnosis is required to be able to enroll in a psychiatric disability assistance center under Social Security in the United States and to ensure you are protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Step 3. Contact the health insurance company
If you live in the United States, chances are you have health insurance. Call your insurance company and ask for contact information for mental health professionals in your area who will accept your insurance.
- Make sure you already know the requirements needed to get your insurance coverage. For example, you may have to get a referral from your primary doctor to see a psychiatrist, or there may be a session limit for therapy.
- If you don't have health insurance, look for a community mental health center in your area. Centers like these often provide care free of charge or at very little cost to people with low incomes or those without insurance coverage. Some large universities and medical schools also have clinics that do not charge their patients a lot of money.
Step 4. Make an appointment
Depending on your area, you may have to wait a few days to a few months to get an appointment with a mental professional, so make an appointment as soon as possible. If they have one, ask to be put on a waiting list so you have a chance to get an appointment as soon as possible.
If you are thinking or planning to kill yourself, ask for help right away. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in the United States is available, free of charge, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In Indonesia, you can also call the 24-hour emergency hotline 500-454
Step 5. Ask questions
You have the right to ask questions of the parties dealing with your mental health concerns. If you don't understand something or want clarification, ask them. You should also ask about possible treatment options, such as the type and duration of therapy available, and what medications you may need.
You should also ask these health professionals what you can do to help the healing process. While you can't cure or treat mental illness alone, there are things you can do to help your mental health. Try discussing this with the health professional who helps you
Step 6. Think about your interactions with the health care professional who cares for you
The relationship between you and your therapist should feel safe, warm, and comfortable. Maybe at first you feel vulnerable. Your therapist may ask you things you are uncomfortable with or ask you to think about issues you are uncomfortable with. But he should make you feel safe, valued, and accepted.
If you don't feel comfortable after a few sessions, you can stop seeing him. Remember, you may have to deal with him in the long run, so the therapist should feel like he's really on your side
Part 3 of 3: Coping With Mental Illness
Step 1. Avoid the habit of judging yourself
People with mental illness, especially those with depression and anxiety, usually feel they should be able to heal themselves easily. But, just the same, you can't expect to get well on your own from diabetes or heart disease. Therefore, you should not judge yourself for suffering from mental illness.
Step 2. Have a circle of people who support you
Having people who accept and support you is important for everyone, but especially if you suffer from mental illness. You can seek this support from friends and family. In addition, there are also groups that can help you. You can look for them in your community or online.
In the United States, you can look for it through the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). They have a number to call as well as a directory of these helpful groups
Step 3. Try meditation or mind regulation training
Meditation is not a substitute for professional medical help and/or medication, it can help you manage the symptoms of certain mental illnesses, especially illnesses linked to addiction and drug use or anxiety. Mindfulness and meditation emphasize the importance of accepting and living in the moment, which can help reduce stress.
- You can learn how from a meditation expert or mind setter and then do it yourself.
- NAMI, The Mayo Clinic, and howtomeditate.org provide tips for learning meditation.
Step 4. Keep a journal
Keeping a journal of thoughts and experiences can help you in many ways. Writing down negative thoughts or worries can help you stop focusing on them. Writing down what triggers a particular experience or symptom can help the mental health professional who care for you provide the best treatment. In addition, you can also explore your emotions in a safe way.
Step 5. Maintain a good diet and exercise
While diet and exercise habits can't prevent mental illness, they can help you deal with its symptoms. Having regular and adequate hours of sleep is especially important if you suffer from a mental illness such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.
You should really monitor your diet and exercise habits if you have an eating disorder such as anorexia, bulimia, or binge-eating (the habit of eating excessively or in large portions without being able to control it). Try consulting a professional to make sure you have healthy habits
Step 6. Limit your alcohol consumption
Alcohol can cause depression and have a significant impact on your well-being. If you have a problem with an illness such as depression or substance abuse, it's best to stay away from alcohol. If you do consume them, try to drink wisely: usually, 2 glasses of wine, 2 glasses of beer, or 2 shots of alcohol per day for women and 3 shots for men.
Alcohol should not be consumed at all while you are taking certain drugs. Try consulting with your doctor about taking prescribed medications
- If possible, ask a trusted friend or family member to accompany you to your first appointment. They can help calm and help you.
- Make lifestyle and medical decisions based on scientific and medical evidence with expert assistance. Many home remedies for mental illness are not very helpful or not helpful at all in dealing with mental illness. Even some of these recipes can make your illness worse.
- Society often judges those with mental illness. If you don't feel comfortable sharing your mental illness information with someone, don't do it. Find people who can support, accept, and care about you.
- If you have a friend or loved one who has mental illness, don't judge them or tell them to "try harder." Show that you love, accept and support him.
- If you are contemplating suicide or planning to do so, seek help immediately.
- Many mental illnesses will get worse without treatment. Get help as soon as possible.
- Never try to treat a mental illness without the help of a professional. This can make your disease worse and also endanger yourself and others.