The Public and Private War against Psychiatric Disorder

woman holding another woman's hand

In the past, people regard mental health issues with revulsion. Ignorance led to tragic stories. We recently learned of Princess Margaret’s struggles with depression. The grimmest tale was how the Nazis attempted to eradicate those with psychiatric issues.

Times have changed. We became more sympathetic to their plight as many people share their struggles with mental health. We, ourselves, feel the ups and downs of life. We also witnessed several celebrities succumbed to depression.

Awareness can help us successfully combat mental health concerns. Being able to identify the tell-tale signs can lead to our victory against it. You might not know that the very person who needs help is you. Here are a few of the most common psychiatric problems and their symptoms:

Addiction

We recently learned that addiction is not just a problem of a lack of willpower. But it is a complex brain disease. Sadly, the general populace only came to this conclusion after the death of the likes of Michael Jackson and Heath Ledger.

Scientists point out that when a person becomes addicted, her substance of choice turns her brain against her. It causes the mesocorticolimbic circuit, the part of our brain responsible for pleasure and reward, to go haywire. Thus, it forces us to want it more and more.

Researchers also noticed that the prefrontal cortex, the hub of decision-making, is also less responsive. They further point out that drug abuse can damage this part of the brain. Thus, we can no longer identify its adverse effects.

Recently, scientists and politicians put the spotlight on addiction as a social problem. The addict’s family is often in immediate danger as the patient can no longer control himself. Their current living situation is tense. Their only recourse is to take their loved ones to a treatment center.

If you fear that a family member has become dependent on a substance, here are a few clues to look out for:

  • Neglecting obligations
  • Increase of risky behavior
  • Justifies the addiction as a coping mechanism

These are a few of those tell-tale signs. If your loved one has exhibited all of these behaviors, you can reach out to the government’s treatment center.

depressed woman sitting on her bed

Depression

The death of Robin Williams shook the world. It shocked us because someone who brought so much happiness was in great pain. We now see many people share his agony, especially during this pandemic.

Sadness is a natural occurrence. It is normal to be sad about the current state of the world. But if your grief paralyzes you, this is now depression. Other emotions often accompany your state of despair, namely:

  • Irritability
  • Hopelessness
  • Social withdrawal
  • Concentration problems
  • Sleeping problems

Several factors can cause depression. One is abuse. We heard Lady Gaga share that her traumatic assault brought her despair. Postnatal biochemical changes can also lead to depression. Although it is normal to experience mood swings right after the birth of a child, if it continues after two weeks, it might already be postpartum depression.

If you suspect that a friend is depressed, you should reach out to her. Your presence might prevent another tragedy. It can be as simple as accompanying her to a postnatal medical checkup in a nearby urgent care center. If she is physically able, you can even invite her to a yoga session.

Bipolar Disorder

Researchers working for Scientific American speculate that Carrie Fisher’s bipolar disorder might have caused her death. Their article pointed out that those diagnosed with this psychiatric problem develop heart ailments earlier than most people.

Patients display intense emotions that last for days or weeks. Psychiatrists call this condition a mood episode. Patients can be abnormally happy (manic) or incredibly irritable (hypomanic), or depressive (sad mood). Although everyone can feel extreme happiness or sadness, it will eventually pass after a few hours. It does not come with changes in behavior.

Those diagnosed with this psychiatric disorder can still enjoy a fulfilling life. But for this to happen, they must undergo therapy. We see Catherine Zeta-Jones successfully combat her bipolar disorder. Demi Lovato also found a happy ending with her fight against this mental ailment.

The current pandemic sheds light on the importance of mental health. It finally gained traction after many celebrities shared their challenges with addiction and depression. Their insight lifted the stigma of psychiatric disorders.

This awareness should compel our leaders to legislate laws in support of mental health. It should also give us hope that we are not alone in our fight against our demons. All we need to do is ask for help.

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