In recent years, statistics of mental illnesses have increased. The daily struggle of life for most people has been difficult along unstable times. Mental health shows the effects of such domestic, psychological and social instabilities, these as well as biological and chemical imbalances. When we talk about mental health, it covers a wide scope: from mild depression and anxiety to hysteria and schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. In this post alone, we had to clarify the definition of mental health, the degrees of mental health as well as the difference between mental illness and mental health. It’s serious stuff. We say it’s serious because terms like depression and panic attacks have been thrown around in colloquial vocabulary without realizing its implications.
Mental Illness, as defined by the National Institute of Mental Health, is “a mental, behavioral and emotional (excluding developmental and substance use issues) that is diagnosable currently or within the year and meets the diagnostic criteria specified in the 4th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.” (National Institution of Mental Health, 2015) Patients can develop these illnesses as young as eight years old and onwards through adult years. A study accompanying the definition says that 1 out of 5 adults experiences mental illness in a given year while 1 out of 5 in youth aged 13-18 experiences a severe mental health issue at some point during their lifespan. (National Alliance on Mental Illness, 2015)
A disease that reaches a degree of severity becomes a disorder when it already disrupts a patient’s way of life. (National Institution of Mental Health, 2015) The natural progression would be to find the means that would normalize your life with the disorder and would help you live with it. Depending on the prognosis, it could range from therapy sessions to the more habitual antidepressants.
You can say it comes down to patience, but diagnosing mental disorder requires a thoughtful, observant eye and compassionate sensitivity. The prevalence of mental illness need not be the excuse for its lenient diagnosis. Patients of its nature are to be dealt with care, and special attention has to be given to their individual physiological and psychological circumstances. One thing that is disconcerting about the reality of anti-depressants is that it is still an external source of betterment. Different bodies react differently, and the side effects may vary for some. The approval of the drug Prozac by the Food and Drug Association, for example, made medication seemingly within arm’s reach amongst mentally ill patients. (Smith, 2012) Time is of the issue when it comes to people suffering from mental illnesses because doctors get to see them in a 15 to 20-minute consultation — often by general practitioners. The frequency of it can be exhausting emotion-wise and cost-wise for a patient, so antidepressants became popular and practical. (Derrow, 2015)
There are inevitable and discomforting side effects from antidepressants which include nausea and fatigue but what’s more alarming is when taken continuously, it could lead to the patient’s dependency on the drugs, which is what doctors want to prevent: a repetitive cycle of behavior that will trigger further mental and behavioral symptoms. We think that more than the patient, the cautiousness must lie with the doctor.