What are Mental Disorders?

Mental disorders include broad range of problems, symptoms which includes abnormal thoughts, emotions, behavior and relationships with others.

The disorders include Depression, Mental Retardation ,Schizophrenia, Disorders due to any drug abuse including that of alcohol, smoking, chewing tobacco, ganja(cannabis), smack etc

Can Mental Disorders be treated? Can faith healing like giving “jhaadas” help?

The good news is that they can be treated and controlled well with correct medications and therapies. Unfortunately going to faith healers, giving jhaadas might worsen the problem which may have a harmful impact to the patient and their loved ones

Can these disorders be treated? Who can help in Mental Disorders?

These disorders can be very well treated and controlled with the help of right medications and therapies. For this a support from a Psychiatrist and a clinical psychologist is required

What is the difference between a Psychiatrist and a Clinical Psychologist?

A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who holds an MBBS and MD degree or MBBS with DPM degree . A Psychiatrist mainly identifies a particular disorder and can prescribe you necessary medications and may conduct Psychotherapies. A Clinical Psychologist holds an M.Phil or PhD degree, they specialize in psychological testing, evaluation and supports you by providing right therapies.

Both Psychiatrist and Psychologist are experts in mental health.

What are the different types of Mental Disorders?

  1. Depression :

    It is a common mental disorder, more commonly seen in women than men. It has been estimated that 1 in 4 Indian suffers from Depression.

    Symptoms of depression includes

    • Sad Mood
    • Loss of interest
    • Feeling guilty or worthless
    • Changes in appetite or sleep
    • Feeling tired always
    • Thoughts of Ending ones life and even worse Suicide
  2. Schizophrenia & Other Psychoses

    It is a severe mental disorder. It is characterized by distortion in thinking, perception, emotions, language. It commonly includes hearing, seeing or feeling things that are not there, suspiciousness. The disorder make it difficult for affected individual to carry out his/her daily routine tasks, working or studying.

  3. Bipolar Disorder

    It typically consists of manic and depressive episode separated by period of normal mood. Mania involves irritable or elevated mood, over activity, over talkativeness, decreased sleep and a boastful high self esteem.

  4. OCD

    OCD or Obsessive Compulsive Disorders is characterized by uncontrollable, unwanted thoughts and repetitive behaviors making a person compelled to perform. The person is unable to control either the thoughts or activities.These thoughts and behaviours are recognized as silly and irrational but a person feels unable to resist them. Commonly it includes excessive handwashing, counting of things, checking door locks or gas stove.

  5. Substance Use

    Loosely called as “drug addiction”, it is to inability to control the use of a legal or illegal drug or medication. It includes Alcohol, Smoking, Chewing tobacco, Cannabis (Ganja), Smack (Opioid), Overuse of Pain Killers

    Many people from different walk of life struggle with it and any one at any point in life may suffer from it.

  6. Dementia

    A Chronic progressive disorder in which there is decline in the ability to process thought. Usually seen in older persons. It affects memory that is forgetfulness, thinking, calculation, learning capacity.

  7. Developmental Disorders including Autism

    Developmental disorders, usually have childhood onset. It is an umbrella term covering intellectual disability and autism. Intellectual disability or Mental Retardation is characterized by impaired intelligence (IQ <70), social skills , adaptive functioning and affects everyday, general living. It includes delay in motor skills development (like sitting, walking), delay in speech, difficulty in self help and self care (like getting dressed, washing, feeding), difficulty in understanding/following social rules.

    Autism or Autism spectrum Disorders , includes broad range of conditions characterized by difficulty in social skills for eg have less eye contact and turn talking , repetitive behaviors, speech and non verbal communications like pointing towards object of interest.

  8. ADHD

    ADHD stands for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, usually seen in Childhood & Adolescence and can continue in Adulthood. Due to the differences in brain development and brain activity it affects a persons attention, ability to sit still and self control. This affects the child at school, home or in friendships and relationships.

Stigma and Discrimination Around Mental Disorders

Stigma is when someone sees a person in a “negative” way due to mental illness and discrimination happens when a person is treated in a negative way . Stigma happens when a person is defined by their illness rather than being defined by their individual self, it is due to the lack of understanding by family or closed ones including friends.

Stigma may lead to harassment, bullying, physical or verbal abuse which may cause feelings of shame, hopelessness and isolation in the person. The person facing stigma dwells in self doubt leading to reluctance to ask for help or get treatment. This may also lead to fewer opportunities for employment or social interactions.

How can we help in reducing the stigma around Mental disorders?

We can help reduce & eliminate stigma by learning facts about mental illness and sharing them with others. Instead of isolating, judging, labeling or discriminating people with mental illness we can empathise with them and the family members by treating them with respect and dignity.

Avoid using language like “Pagal” “Mental” or “That person is bipolar” (instead say a person with bipolar disorder). Speak out against stigma at your level in from of discussions, expressing your opinions. Encourage a person with mental disorder to seek treatment so that they do not face any interference in their routine and personal life. Remember, Your part can make a big difference.

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