Health

IF YOU CAN’T DO GOOD, AT LEAST DO NO HARM. THIS BA­SIC PRIN­CI­PLE BE­COMES DOU­BLY IM­POR­TANT WHEN IT COMES TO MEN­TAL HEALTH.

DA MAN - - Contents -

If you can’t do good, at least do no harm. This ba­sic prin­ci­ple be­comes dou­bly im­por­tant when it comes to men­tal health.

To­day, we have a much bet­ter un­der­stand­ing that many peo­ple live with se­ri­ous health is­sues— and it could be any­one. But not ev­ery­one is equipped to deal with men­tal health is­sues. That said, when you find out that some­body close is af­fected then the least that you can do‐if you can’t of­fer di­rect help‐is to refrain from act­ing all-know­ing while us­ing the wrong la­bels. In cases like this, we re­ally, re­ally don’t know what they are go­ing through.

Some peo­ple are at greater risk than oth­ers, so, throw­ing out ran­dom pop­u­lar jar­gon and in­cor­rect la­bels can deepen the emo­tional scars caused by men­tal ill­ness.

A per­son who is an­gry is not al­ways psy­chotic. A per­son who is un­happy or a lit­tle bit down is not the same as some­one ex­pe­ri­enc­ing clin­i­cal de­pres­sion. The word schizophre­nia should not be used to means “a per­son that has two minds.” Much in the same vein, even “bipo­lar” is not equiv­a­lent a split per­son­al­ity and should not be used to de­scribe some­one with two dif­fer­ent sides. Why? Be­cause us­ing in­ac­cu­rate terms can re­in­force stereo­types and deepen long-held stig­mas.

In the al­ready de­pres­sive world of men­tal health prob­lems, us­ing the right lan­guage can count for a lot. At the very least, it opens the door to un­der­stand­ing.

ANX­I­ETY

Anx­i­ety is a type of fear that is usu­ally associated with the per­cep­tion of a threat or some­thing about to go wrong in the fu­ture, but can also arise from some­thing hap­pen­ing right now. It can af­fect all of us ev­ery now and then. Feel­ings of anx­i­ety can be caused by many things and vary ac­cord­ing to what you’re wor­ried about and how you act when you feel ap­pre­hen­sive. Anx­i­ety can have a strong ef­fect on the suf­ferer be­cause it’s trig­gered by one of our nat­u­ral sur­vival re­sponses.

BIPO­LAR

Bipo­lar dis­or­der is a mood dis­or­der char­ac­ter­ized by swings in a per­son’s mood from high to low, eu­phoric to de­pressed. Bipo­lar peo­ple in a high phase can get them­selves into dif­fi­cul­ties they would nor­mally avoid, like spend­ing money they don’t have or giv­ing away all pos­ses­sions. On the flip side, dur­ing a low phase, bipo­lar peo­ple can feel ut­ter hope­less­ness, de­spair and ex­treme lethargy, be­come full of self-blame and self-doubt and have dif­fi­culty in con­cen­trat­ing.

DE­PRES­SION

Clin­i­cal de­pres­sion is a very com­mon men­tal dis­or­der that causes suf­fer­ers to ex­pe­ri­ence de­pressed mood, loss of in­ter­est or plea­sure, feel­ings of guilt or low self-worth, dis­turbed sleep or ap­petite, low en­ergy and poor con­cen­tra­tion. Mind you, de­pres­sion is dif­fer­ent from sim­ply feel­ing down or sad.

OB­SES­SIVE COM­PUL­SIVE DIS­OR­DER

OCD is a com­mon form of anx­i­ety dis­or­der in­volv­ing dis­tress­ing, repet­i­tive thoughts. And this is why OCD is par­tic­u­larly dif­fi­cult to make sense of or to ex­plain to other peo­ple. Ob­ses­sions are dis­tress­ing or fright­en­ing repet­i­tive thoughts, which come into your mind au­to­mat­i­cally. Com­pul­sions are ac­tions peo­ple feel they must re­peat to feel less anx­ious or stop their ob­ses­sive thoughts.

PANIC AT­TACK

A per­son hav­ing a panic at­tack ex­pe­ri­ences a sud­den and in­tense sen­sa­tion of ab­ject fear. They may feel they have lost con­trol and feel des­per­ate to get out of the sit­u­a­tion that has trig­gered their anx­i­ety.

SCHIZOPHRE­NIA

Schizophre­nia is a di­ag­no­sis given to some peo­ple who have se­verely dis­or­dered be­liefs and ex­pe­ri­ences. It’s used to de­scribe a wide range of symp­toms. Dur­ing an episode of schizophre­nia, a per­son may see or hear things that are not there, lose touch with re­al­ity and hold ir­ra­tional or un­founded be­liefs.

STRESS

Stress can be de­fined as the de­gree to which you feel over­whelmed or un­able to cope as a re­sult of pres­sures that are un­man­age­able. At the most ba­sic level, stress is our body’s re­sponse to pres­sures from any given sit­u­a­tion or life event. Stress is also a re­sponse to a threat in a sit­u­a­tion, whereas anx­i­ety is a re­ac­tion to the stress.

In clos­ing, if you’re wor­ried about some­one you care about, you should know that help is avail­able. You, or they, are not alone and shar­ing a prob­lem is of­ten the first step to re­cov­ery. Last but not least, you have to re­mem­ber that peo­ple are more than their ill­ness. It doesn’t de­fine them.

“THROW­ING OUT RAN­DOM POP­U­LAR JAR­GON AND IN­COR­RECT LA­BELS CAN DEEPEN THE EMO­TIONAL SCARS CAUSED BY MEN­TAL ILL­NESS”

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