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Overview:Mental Health

This is a brief overview of mental health problems. It is not designed to help you diagnose yourself or someone else. It is to help you understand the complexity of mental health and to be aware of how much work goes into helping a person with a mental health problem. Like in physical health, we all may potentially suffer from symptoms or a complete diagnosis of a mental disorder. And similarly, we can recover, maintain, or end up completely compromised by the problem. Often people feel mental health problems are self-induced, but who would choose to be really unhappy or dysfunctional? Just because we cannot see the symptoms, does not mean they are not there. Most of us never see the symptoms of cancer or heart disease; yet we are just as affected by these as depression. And equally, there is much hope for improvement or overcoming the problem as there is in physical health.

Mental health disorders can be broken down into three basic components; similarly to saying an ill person has heart disease, lung disease, or kidney disease. None of those diseases identify how serious a person is inflicted, for example: from a cold to lung cancer. Similarly mental health problems range from someone sad at losing a friend to a person who wishes to die. The components are: Neurosis, Psychosis, and Personality Disorders. Below are descriptions of each and their subtypes as well as the typical treatments for them. Please be aware a person can have one or more at different times in their lives. If you have questions about mental health issues, contact Christopher Galton of Lake View Counseling in Myrtle Beach today.


NEUROSIS

Most of us experienced each of these under different circumstances. However, we do not usually meet one of these diagnoses below without having significant problems and meet specific symptoms.
Anxiety: This is a feeling of concern about things that might happen in the future. The purpose of worrying is to help us prepare for things which we do not know how to handle. Unfortunately, while it can be helpful, it can also cause us significant problems when we worry about things we have no control over. There are a variety of subtypes you may have heard of: Generalized Anxiety, Panic, Phobias, Paranoia, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Each of these can be successfully treated by counseling and as needed medication.
Depression: This is a feeling of hurt and hopelessness due to things that have happened in the past and for which the person does not feel able to have prevented. Some of these problems might have originated from childhood or more recently for example from a loss of a: love one, job, security, or health. Treatment is primarily with counseling to help the person understand their loss and gain the skills to overcome the loss and prevent future problems. Medication can be of help to calm a person so they can thoughtfully resolve the issues. Medication should not be used to avoid resolving the concerns.
Anger: This is a feeling that most of us experience but do not like in others and sometimes in ourselves. This is our way of protecting ourselves from bad things continuing to hurt or upset us. Certainly, we should never feel we cannot defend ourselves, otherwise we are victims. Unfortunately, like any good thing, it can become harmful when poorly used. So we need to learn how to use it in a “civilized society” as against the animal kingdom where they either flee or fight. Counseling helps a person gain the insight as well as the means to successfully deal with problems in a successful manner.  

PSYCHOSIS

There are basically two different types of psychosis:

Schizophrenia- which is a thought disorder, and
Bi-Polar - which is an affect disorder.

Both of these are primarily due to biochemical problems within the brain which regulate thinking and feelings. These cannot be controlled by “will power” any more than you can wish to change your height or the color of your eyes. Nevertheless, they can be treated and the person can be healthier and functional and able to maintain work and relationships, but with ongoing help to stabilize themselves. The primary treatment is medication with counseling to help the person to reduce stressful situations and lifestyles in order to reduce the amount of medications that are necessary for them to live well.

PERSONALITY DISORDERS

There are 10 identified types which are unique to their own; however, there is one common similarity. People with these disorders continue to do what they do despite not getting a successful result from their behavior. They are caught in a cycle of never ending problems, responses and resulting problems they do not know how to escape. They truly are victims of their own responses despite how much they hurt themselves or those around them. Rather than in this section defining and trying to explain each one and what happens, the following is a listing and will take a very trained clinician to evaluate over time to determine if a person has one of these: Paranoid, Schizoid, Schizotypal, Antisocial, Borderline, Histrionic, Narcissistic, Avoidant, Dependent, Obsessive Compulsive. See the section on Personality Disorders for more info on each.

Treatment for these is difficult. There is no really successful ‘fix’. Rather, we will help the person gain some control over their immediate feelings and reorganize their responses to be more successful in their work and social experiences.  
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