FAQ
 
What causes mental illness?

Although the exact cause of most mental illnesses is not known, it is becoming clear through research that many of these conditions are caused by a combination of biological, psychological, and environmental factors.

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Is anyone immune to mental illness?

Mental illnesses can affect persons of any age, race, religion, or income. They do not discriminate.
Although mental illnesses can affect anyone, certain conditions such as eating disorders tend to occur more often in females, and other disorders such as attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder more commonly occur in children.

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Can mental illness be prevented?
Most mental illnesses are caused by a combination of factors and cannot be prevented.
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What should I do if I am concerned about mental, behavioral, or emotional symptoms in my child?
Talk to your child’s doctor or health care provider. Ask questions and learn everything you can about the behavior or symptoms that worry you. If your child is in school ask the teacher if your child has been showing worrisome changes in behavior. Share this with your child’s doctor or health care provider.  Keep in mind that every child is different. Even normal development, such as when children develop language, motor, and social skills, varies from child to child. Ask if your child needs further evaluation by a specialist with experience in child behavioral problems who would primarily be a psychologist.
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What causes mental disorders in children?
Mental health disorders in children and adolescents are caused mostly by biology and environment.  Examples of biological causes are genetics, chemical imbalances in the body, or damage to the central nervous system, such as a head injury. Many environmental factors also put young people at risk for developing mental health disorders, such as exposure to lead, violence, sexual abuse or chronic, extreme stressful conditions like loss of important people, difficulties coping at school, bullying, peer pressure, excessive exposure to media  etc
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How do I know if my child’s problems are serious?

Not every problem is serious. In fact, many everyday stresses can cause changes in your child’s behavior. For example, the birth of a sibling may cause a child to temporarily act much younger than he or she is. It is important to be able to tell the difference between typical behavior changes and those associated with more serious problems. Pay special attention to behaviors that include:

-Problems across a variety of settings, such as at school, at home, or with peers

-Changes in appetite or sleep

-Social withdrawal, or fearful behavior toward things your child normally is not afraid of

-Returning to behaviors more common in younger children, such as bed-wetting, for a long time

-Signs of being upset, such as sadness or frequent  tearfulness

-Signs of self-destructive behavior, such as head-banging, or a tendency to get hurt often

 

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Can symptoms be caused by a death in the family, illness in a parent, family financial problems, divorce, or other events?
Yes. Every member of a family is affected by tragedy or extreme stress, even the youngest child. It’s normal for stress to cause a child to be upset. Remember this if you see mental, emotional, or behavioral symptoms in your child. Check your child’s response to stress. Take note if he or she gets better with time or if professional care is needed
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Can symptoms be caused by a death in the family, illness in a parent, family financial problems, divorce, or other events?
Yes. Every member of a family is affected by tragedy or extreme stress, even the youngest child. It’s normal for stress to cause a child to be upset. Remember this if you see mental, emotional, or behavioral symptoms in your child. Check your child’s response to stress. Take note if he or she gets better with time or if professional care is needed.
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How are mental illnesses diagnosed in young children?

Just like adults, children with mental illness are diagnosed after a mental health specialist carefully observes signs and symptoms. The psychologist may employ various psychological assessments compounded with observation and interview with the significant adults in the child’s life and also with the child incase possible.

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Once someone has had a mental illness can they ever get better again?

Remember, most people with mental illnesses who are diagnosed and treated, will respond well and live productive lives. Many never have the same problem again, although some will experience a return of symptoms. The important thing is that there is a range of effective treatments for just about every mental disorder.

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Are there treatments other than medications for mental illness?

Yes. In most cases medicines are used as agents to complement the therapeutic process and may not be required for treatment at all or during the entire course of therapy. It is important thus to get the person with mental illness evaluated by a psychologist before any intake of psychological drug prescribed by the physician or the psychiatrist.

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How should medication be included in an overall treatment plan?
Medication should be used with other treatments. It should not be the only treatment. Consider other services, such as family therapy, family support services, educational classes, and behavior  management techniques, individual therapy. Individuals need treatment plans tailored to their individual problems and needs.
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How do I work with my child’s school?
If your child is having problems in school, or if a teacher raises concerns, you can work with the school to find a solution. You may ask the school to conduct an evaluation to determine whether your child qualifies for special education services. However, not all children diagnosed with a mental illness qualify for these services. Start by speaking with your child’s teacher, school counselor. These professionals can help you get an evaluation started.
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I am insane to go to a psychologist?
Its a thing of the past to think you are 'insane' to go to a psychologist – A psychologist is trained to support and direct during the turmoil, stress and underlying thought disturbances.
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To be seen in and around a psychologist's clinic is a taboo?
Its not a taboo, nor does it mean that you may be having a major illness.
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Psychologist takes one look and can understand the past history?

Not true at all. A psychologist needs to conduct a thorough understanding of the case to know and address the problem.

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Will my problem or case be discussed with others?
A good Counselor practices with utmost sincerity and honesty. All cases are kept confidential.
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Mental illnesses and problems can never be cured?
They can be treated and cured just like any form of illness can be healed with early intervention and right course of treatment. Please note that the cure depends on the severity and nature of the illness.
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Mental illness is the same as mental retardation?
These are two different disorders; retardation is generally associated with a limitation in mental functioning as well as difficulties with certain daily living activities. With persons who suffer from psychiatric disabilities, the limitations in intellectual functioning vary as it does across the general public.
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Mental disorders are a figment of one's imagination?
Mental illnesses are real. Mental illnesses and brain disorders cause suffering, disability and can even shorten life (this is evident from episodes of depression after a heart attack, liver disease due to alcohol abuse and attempted suicide). Mental illness can be diagnosed and treated before it is too late. The symptoms are a sign of real illness.
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Mental disorders are caused by a weakness in character?
Mental disorders are caused by biological, psychological and social factors. Research has shown genetic and biological factors are associated with schizophrenia, depression and alcoholism. Social influences such as loss of a job or loved one can contribute to various disorders.
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Recovery from mental illness is not possible?

Long-term research has shown that the majority of people with mental illness show genuine improvement over time and lead stable lives. There are many treatments available to individuals who suffer from mental illness such as medications, therapy and rehabilitation.

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Mental illness only affects people in rich countries.
Mental and brain disorders are a concern for people in developed countries as well as those in developing nations. In a study of 27 countries conducted by the WHO (World Health Organization) no country was found to be free of schizophrenia. Alcohol abuse is another commonly found disorder.
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Mentally ill and mentally retarded individuals are dangerous or violent?
The vast majority of these individuals are not dangerous or violent. Statistics show that violence in people who have a brain disorder is not much higher than in the general population. People with psychotic illnesses like schizophrenia are far more frequently frightened, confused and despairing than violent. This myth is reinforced by portrayals in the media of people with mental illness as frequently violent. It is important to eliminate discrimination and replace it with positive images and messages and a greater awareness of what mental health really is.
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Psychiatric conditions are not true medical illnesses like heart disease and diabetes-they are personality disorders?
Disorders of the brain are no less medical conditions than disorders of the heart or kidneys. Research has shown that there are genetic and biological causes for psychiatric disorders and that they can be treated effectively.
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Schizophrenia is multiple personality disorder?

Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness, often confused with multiple personality disorder. In fact, it is a condition that blurs the distinction between what is real and what is imagined. People with schizophrenia have symptoms ranging from social withdrawal to delusions and hallucinations but are often helped by modern medicines.

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Mental illness cannot affect me.
Mental illnesses are surprisingly common and do not discriminate-they can affect anyone. According to the WHO, 1 in 4 families are affected by mental illness in some way. It could be you… or someone around you.
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People with manic depression are dangerously unstable and generally drop out of society?

Manic depression-or bipolar disorder-is one of the most serious mental illnesses, causing severe distress and destroying personal relationships. Yet many people with bipolar disorder lead full and meaningful lives. Indeed, some of the most brilliant creative geniuses are thought to have suffered from bipolar disorder including Ernest Hemingway, statesman Winston Churchill, Einstein and other creative minds from around the world.

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