Seeking Professional Help for Mental illness

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It is so common that whenever we have conversation with family or friends, sometimes one person in the group may be quiet, while another, talks non-stop. We often label such people as being “mental” or suffering from some “mental illness” But it’s time to take a serious look at this issue, and help those in mental distress. Cultural or social norms should not stop people from seeking professional help.

By Dr Safiya

Presentation of mental illness is usually not as simple as other physical illness. Usually symptoms can be so subtle that people may not even notice it. Emotional issues can emerge at any age for men and women. Children too can have behavioral issues. Some symptoms with a person having emotional issues can be:
* Disturbance in the sleep: A person who is emotionally disturbed can have decreased sleep, disturbed sleep, or increased sleep.
* Disturbed eating pattern: Decreased food intake, decreased appetite, or even increased eating habits.
* Mood Swings: Feeling very sad, decreased interest in doing any work, lack of concentration, getting irritated often, feeling annoyed without any reason, crying easily, becoming restless, talking more about death, suicidal ideation, suicidal attempt, guilt feeling and feeling hopeless. These can be some of the signs of depression.
* Being excessively happy, talking more than necessary, increased activity, doing things which they would have not done otherwise, reckless behavior, increased sexual activity etc. These symptoms suggest the person may have a mood disorder or mania.
Anxiety Symptoms:
Becoming anxious, fearful for simple things, excessive cleaning, excessive praying, repeatedly doing same work, spending too much time with oneself and avoiding social or professional gatherings, could indicate anxiety disorder.
Imagining Things:
Some people may seem to become more suspicious, paranoid and over cautious. Firmly believe in things which are not true, hearing voices which are not there, seeing images which are not there, talking to oneself, laughing to self consistently, becoming aggressive and assaultive. These symptoms suggest they may have mental illness like psychosis.
Substance Use:
Excessive consumption of substance like alcohol, using rave drugs like LSD, ecstasy, brown sugar, cannabis, smoking etc, can be due to emotional issues. Compulsive use of over the counter drugs like sleeping pills, cough and cold syrup, pain killers and sedatives can also indicate a need for psychological intervention.
Neurological Issues:
Some patients can have seizures (Fits), causing difficulty while walking, talking and continuous pain in the nerves.
Emotional Issues in Children:
Children can exhibit symptoms of increased activity (Hyper activity), decreased concentration (Inattention), learning problems (Dyslexia), bedwetting and stammering.
Body Pains and Bowel Issues:
Some people can experience multiple body aches such as body pain, headache (Migraine), and problems in passing motion / bowels.
Sometimes doctors refer to these symptoms as “M” (Muslim) syndrome.
Muslims also have many psychological issues which need to be attended to and addressed. There is no point in making fun or ridiculing those who suffer from various types of mental illnesses. It is always better to take early advice of a psychiatrist and help the patient.
(The writer is a consultant neuro-psychiatrist and psychotherapist).
Dr Safiya. M.S., MBBS,DPM, MSCP (Cert. IE )
Sahakar Nagar, Ph:8023628017
Email: [email protected]