If you love booze, you could be mentally ill- Dr Chitayi
4 months ago, 17 June 12:43
Is it true that the full moon raises the degree of illness in mental patients?
This is a myth! More than 300 years before the birth of Christ, Hippocrates, a Greek physician said that mental disorders arise from the brain. This assertion has stood the test of scientific study over time.
Why does mental health attract such stigma?
It is because mental disorders are poorly understood. People wrongly believe that mental disorders are caused by spiritual forces such as witchcraft, demons or curses. There is also the wrong notion that mental disorders are due to drug abuse often viewed as a personal failure.
Again people hold the view that mental illness once diagnosed cannot be cured, which is not true. As a result people fear any process that could lead to association with mental illness.
Is mental illness hereditary?
Mental illnesses are known to arise from a combination of biological, psychological and social causes. Heredity is biological. In most cases the three areas interact to produce a mental disorder.
Is it true that certain professions predispose workers to mental illness?
Professions accompanied by high levels of stress will result in higher incidences of mental illness. Sales persons, hoteliers, brewers, bar personnel, entertainment industry, journalists, police, the armed forces and medical practitioners are for instance more likely to suffer alcohol use disorder.
Why is it that few doctors specialise in mental health?
During medical training, the emphasis on Psychiatry is inadequate. Some medical students will miss their Psychiatry rotations therefore denying themselves a chance to develop interest in the discipline.
The stigma against mental disorders often spreads to mental health professions therefore creating reluctance among doctors to choose Psychiatry.
What are the signs that your child, spouse or colleague at work could be suffering mental illness?
Sustained change in ones behaviour is the most important clue of a changing brain chemistry hence possible mental illness.
A sudden excitement that seems not to have any explanation coupled with an increased sense of confidence and self-esteem may be showing early signs of bipolar mood disorder. But different mental illnesses have different symptoms.
Are functional alcoholics mentally ill?
Yes, high functioning alcoholics are mentally ill though strictly speaking functional alcoholics do not exist medically. This is a term likely to be used to refer to someone who continues holding a job (and performing as expected) despite meeting the criteria for alcohol use disorder.
Occupation is often the last area that suffers in alcohol use disorders. The two main reasons is that the person using alcohol does everything to hang onto their job. However in due course, the job suffers too.
Therefore people who seem to be functional despite problematic usage of alcohol should embrace mental health care.
Can ‘mad people’ be treated and their health restored?
‘Mad people’ is a stigmatising term that does not convey much meaning. Let us discard equivalent terms in all local languages including the Kiswahili term ‘wazimu’ as a way of reducing stigma. We must accept the inconvenience of looking at different mental disorders as different entities.
The causes of mental disorders, their symptoms and patterns of recovery ...
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