Understanding Mental Illness in America What Decades of Research Has Lead To

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Doctors, scientists, and psychologists have spent decades trying to unravel the mysteries of the human mind. The mind is our source of learning; it is where pain and pleasure is derived from; it is where we find our feelings and source our thoughts; the mind is everything that makes each of us unique. All of this is done through neural impulses, chemical checks and balances, and the firing of synapses — and yet for all we know about how the brain works, we still have plenty left to learn. Mental illnesses occur when something is wired a bit differently be it a deficiency of a certain chemical or the lack of certain neural connections that should have been there. As we continue to learn more about mental illnesses, new treatment options are being considered to finally offer help to patients suffering from these debilitating conditions.

The Facts on Mental Disorders

Depression is one of the most frequently diagnosed mental illnesses with an annual increase in diagnosed cases of depression resting at around 20% every year now. One out of every three college students reports having a feeling of depression that was so severe it impacted their ability to focus on their coursework. Additionally, 14% of new mothers in 2013 were diagnosed with postpartum depression four to six weeks after giving birth.
Surpassing even depression however, anxiety is the most common form of mental illness in the United States with approximately 10% of teens and 40% of adults suffering from some form of an anxiety disorder; in total 15 million people suffer from social anxiety disorder and 6 million people suffer from a panic disorder. Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is finally starting to become understood since it was first noted following the Vietnam War; today there are 7.7 million people who suffer from PTSD, many of them are servicemen and women who experienced traumatic events in the line of duty.

Why Mental Illness Matters

Treatment for many of these conditions involved heavy medication to cover up the symptoms without actually treating the problem itself. While this helped some people, many felt even worse after starting drug treatments, claiming that they did not feel like themselves or had troubling side effects due to the drugs. This is why despite its high level of treatability through therapy or medication, two-thirds of adults with anxiety do not receive treatment — this is even more so for teenagers with anxiety who fear the possibility that they may have a mental disorder. The same goes for clinical depression where four out of every five people who have symptoms are not receiving any specific treatment for their depression. Alternative approaches to psychiatric care means that many of these people are now able to receive help that works to improve the patient’s quality of life and really tackle the heart of the disorder.

The Benefit of Neuropsychiatry Programs

Many hospitals are diagnosing and treating mental disorders as they would a physical wound through evaluation and testing. Hospitals with neuropsychiatric doctors typically require a patient to participate in a hospital stay while tests are being run to receive a proper diagnosis and determine the best direction to move forward with treatment. These programs have saved lives by monitoring individuals that have reached an extreme point with their condition; many of these patients report severe feelings of depression or anxiety that have lead to suicidal thoughts are actions. Early treatments allowed these patients to suffer; modern psychiatric hospitals are designed to truly help the patient and protect them through the treatment process — they are places of comfort and healing. If you or someone you know is suffering through a mental disorder, contact a psychiatric hospital in your area to get treatment that solves the problem instead of hiding it — this decision could save a life.

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