What is mental illness? Does it mean you're crazy? Does it make you any different to the rest of us? Mental Illness. This term is used to describe a health condition that can change the way in which a person will think, feel or even behave. It is very common for people to suffer from a form of mental illness. For example it is estimated that 1 in 4 people will suffer from it at some point in their lives. 1
Depression can come in two forms, Reactive and clinical. Reactive depression will be triggered off by a life event. Often these events will be the loss of a loved one or relationship. Clinical is an unexplainable form of depression and is thought to be an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. When a person is diagnosed with depression it means they are unable to cope with ordinary daily life and will feel sad and helpless. They will suffer with poor sleep and a loss of appetite. 6
When asked about mental illness many people will think about the delusion of straight jackets and high security asylums. What they don’t know is that mental illness can affect each and every one of us. When a person reaches a hard point in their lives they will very likely experience the felling of stress. Although this form is not as severe it is acknowledged by experts as mental illness. It is how we deal with stress which will determine the severity of the illness.
A severe form of depression is bipolar. This is also known as manic depression. A person will have extreme mood swings where for a period of time they will have hyperactive episodes and will go without sleep for days and even weeks. They will then start to suffer feelings of weakness and will have negative attitudes towards everything in their lives. People with depression have a very high suicide rate. For these people it is recommend that they spend time in a mental health ward and are given anti-psychotic drugs and counselling. 7