Types of Mental Illness - Mental illness

Most people occasionally experience spells of anxiety, blue moods, or temper tantrums, but unless the psychological suffering they endure or inflict upon others begins to interfere with their job or marriage, they seldom seek professional guidance. There is no exacting scientific standard for determining when an eccentric pattern of behavior becomes a mental illness. Norms vary from culture to culture and within each culture. Norms also change from generation to generation.

Just how can a determination be made as to who is mentally ill? No temperature reading, no acute pain, no abnormal growth can be looked for as evidence of a serious problem. Yet there are warning signs, and among the common ones are these:

  1. • Anxiety that is severe, prolonged, and unrelated to any identifiable reason or cause
  2. • Depression, especially when it is followed by withdrawal from loved ones, from friends, or from the usual occupations or hobbies that ordinarily afford one pleasure
  3. • Loss of confidence in oneself
  4. • Undue pessimism
  5. • A feeling of constant helplessness
  6. • Unexplainable mood changes
  7. • Rudeness or aggression that is without apparent cause or due to a trivial incident
  8. • An unreasonable demand for perfectionism, not only in oneself but in one's loved ones, friends, business associates, and even from things or situations
  9. • Habitual underachievement, especially if one is adequately equipped to do the work one is called upon to perform
  10. • The inability to accept responsibility, often manifested by a recurrent loss of employment
  11. • Phobias
  12. • Unreasonable feelings of persecution
  13. • Self-destructive acts
  14. • Sexual deviation
  15. • A sudden and dramatic change in sleeping habits
  16. • Physical ailments and complaints for which there are no organic causes

If one or more of these warning signs occur frequently or in severe form, a mental illness may be present, and professional help should be sought to evaluate the underlying problem.

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