Mental Health Awareness Month

Lilly Hortis, Staff Writer

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With May being Mental Health Awareness Month, I decided to inform others of some of the most overlooked mental illnesses.

Borderline Personality Disorder is one of the many overlooked mental illnesses. BPD is the inability to effectively manage emotions. Symptoms include fear of abandonment, unstable relationships, unclear shifting of self-image, self-harm, extreme mood swings, chronic feelings of emptiness, explosive anger, and feeling suspicious or out of touch with reality. Causes of BPD are genetic and environmental factors. Early childhood emotional, physical, or sexual abuse can also be a cause as well as loss, neglect or bullying.

Another commonly overlooked mental illness is Schizophrenia which is a chronic and severe mental disorder that impacts how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. Symptoms include hallucinations, delusions, thought/movement disorders, reduced expression of emotions, reduced feeling of everyday life pleasures, reduced speaking, poor executive functioning, trouble focusing and memory problems. Causes of schizophrenia are genetics, environmental factors, and chemical imbalances in the brain.

An uncommon mental illness is Dissociative Identity Disorder. Previously called multiple personality disorder, DID is a condition in which two or more distinct identities are present and take control of an individual. Symptoms range from experiencing different personalities to being stressed in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. Changes in behavior, consciousness and memory are also symptoms. The exact cause is unknown, but scientists believe severe physical/sexual abuse during childhood can trigger DID. While not as common, genetics are also known to cause DID.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is another commonly forgotten mental illness. PTSD is a mental health condition that is triggered by witnessing or experiencing a terrible event. Symptoms include flashbacks, nightmares, emotional distress, avoiding things that relate to traumatic events, lack of interest in enjoyable things, negative outlook on life, and changes in physical and emotional reactions. Causes of PTSD range from stressful experiences to the way the brain regulates chemicals and hormones that the body releases due to stress.

If you feel like you experience any of these symptoms, understand that nothing is wrong with you, and it is okay to have a mental illness. Do not be afraid to seek help and treatment.  Treatments for all of the above mental illnesses include different medications and different types of therapy.

Being aware of these mental illnesses is important, but it is also important to know how to help those suffering from mental illnesses. In order to help these people, you can gradually ease into conversation, talk to them in a comfortable place, be a good listener, share your feelings, genuinely express your concern, and give the person hope for recovery.

 

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