What is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a severe mental disorder which affects nearly 1 percent of the population. A person with this mental disorder suffers from hallucinations, delusions, paranoia etc. It affects how a person thinks and manages their day to day tasks. The people suffering from this mental illness often have ‘anosognosia’, which loosely means the person hesitates to accept their illness.

Facts about Schizophrenia

  • Nearly 1% of the world’s population is suffering from this mental disorder
  • 1% of the American population suffers from this medical illness
  • In India, 3 out of 1000 individuals suffer from schizophrenia
  • It is more common in men and is more prevalent in people between the ages of 16 to 30
  • Schizophrenia is not just one illness is a combination of many mental illnesses acting up together

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Symptoms of Schizophrenia

  1. Positive Symptoms: These symptoms include psychotic symptoms like delusions and hallucinations. A person loses the touch of reality and it becomes difficult for them to tell apart what’s real and what’s not. People with these symptoms tend to have a loss of concentration, confused thinking which may also lead to false witnessing of events and hearing voices.
  2. Negative Symptoms: Negative symptoms are related to a person’s way of acting up to a situation. They lack motivation and facial expression. Often looking dull and like they have lost interest in everything. The person becomes less active and speaks less. This symptom can easily be confused with depression.
  3. Cognitive Symptoms: This symptom can be subtle for some people and aggressive for others. These symptoms affect the thought process of the person making it harder for them to take any decision. Poor concentration, anosognosia are some of the examples of cognitive symptoms.

Causes of Schizophrenia

Genes

A person with a family member [more likely a parent or a sibling] suffering from this mental illness has a 10% chance of developing it while a person with no family history has only a 1% chance of developing it. It has been found in many studies that no single gene is responsible for this disorder and is caused by the combination of many different genes.

Brain Structure

Scientists have concluded that the brain structure of a person can play an important role in developing this disorder. Problems during the development of the brain can lead to faulty connections which may lead to this mental illness. The chemical imbalance of dopamine and glutamate [neurotransmitters] can also lead to schizophrenia. A person’s brain goes through various changes during puberty which can also cause some of these symptoms.

Environment

Just like every other mental illness, environment plays an important role in causing this illness as well. Living with trauma, in stressful conditions, malnutrition, problems while giving birth and viral infections have been associated with this disorder.

Drug Use

Many studies suggest that using drugs like marijuana and LSD can lead to schizophrenia. The use of mind-altering drugs can lead to psychotic experiences which may develop into the illness later in life. The longer the use the greater are the risks of developing this mental disorder.

Conclusion

Schizophrenia is one of the most severe mental illnesses out there. People suffering from it need help and care. They need your time and understanding. Sometimes because of the delusions and hallucinations, it might get difficult for them to hold a job or do other jobs but the thing is they are doing their best just like we all are. It is not necessary to see a person suffering from this disorder as a different person altogether, what is necessary is to recognise the person as an individual who needs a little bit more of your time to be understood.

A Request

This article was not just written to create awareness about this mental disorder but to also urge the people out there to help the people who suffer from this mental illness. It is not easy to ask for help when you are suffering from something that most of the people around you doesn’t even know about, and it is definitely not easy to confront yourself and acknowledge that you have been suffering from a mental illness.

Hope this article create some awareness although a lot of people in developed countries already know about all this, the people in underdeveloped countries still have a lot to learn when it comes to mental health and mental illness. But this doesn’t mean that people in these countries don’t go through these issues. Just because who weren’t aware of this mental disorder doesn’t mean that there are no people around you who have this disorder. There might be a person around you a friend, a colleague, a family member or a neighbour who is going through all of this alone and after reading this you might be able to help them or atleast be with. Don’t just sit there look around there might be a person who needs your help and that person can even be you. If you feel like it is you then please go get help. See a psychiatrist or talk to someone who can help.

 

 

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What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a mental illness which leads to shifts in moods, energy levels, changes in sleep and ability of function. It is also known as manic depression or manic depressive illness.

Over 5.7 million adults in America suffer from Bipolar disorder. And in India the statistics a more alarming with about 15 million Indians being affected by this condition.

Types of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is categorised into four types. All of these types shows the symptoms of mood changes along changing levels of activity. A person can go from feeling extremely active and up [called the manic episode] to feeling extremely empty or depressed with very low energy levels [called the depressive episode]. The combination of these two episodes is what makes Bipolar disorder. Mentioned below are the types of Bipolar disorder.

  • Bipolar I Disorder: A person suffering from Bipolar I Disorder may go through a severe manic episode that lasts upto 7 days followed by a depressive episode that lasts upto a week or two. A person can also have a hypomanic episode in between. This type of bipolar disorder affects both women and men equally.
  • Bipolar II Disorder: In Bipolar II Disorder, a person suffers from hypomanic episodes followed by depressive episodes. Manic episodes rarely occur.
  • Cyclothymic Disorder or Cyclothymia: This disorder is milder than the other two. A person goes through the hypomania and depressive episodes numerous times. It lasts for a period of atleast 2 years.

Listed above are the three major types of Bipolar disorder. However, there are some symptoms that do not fit into any of these categories.

What is Manic Episode?

A manic episode is a period of extreme high which lasts for atleast a week. During this episode, a person is very energetic, more than usual. They seem overly excited and enthusiastic most of the times. These changes are clearly visible and can easily be identified by the family and friends. Some of the symptoms of a manic episode include –

  • Overconfidence and increased self-esteem
  • Lack of sleep
  • Multitasking [trying to do the things which are not possible to do all at once]
  • Lack of responsible thinking
  • Talking too loudly and too fast [appearing overexcited for everything]

What is hypomanic Episode?

A hypomanic episode is a mild form of a manic episode. Here, the symptoms are less drastic and stay for a less period of time. This also makes it harder to be noticed by others.

What is a Depressive Episode?

A depressive episode is the exact opposite of the manic episode. The person starts feeling completely down and depressed. They have extremely low energy, low interest in carrying out activities, low self-esteem etc. The symptoms of a depressive episode include-

  • Low energy
  • Low self-esteem
  • Lack of sleep
  • Difficulty in concentrating
  • A deep feeling of sadness

Causes of Bipolar Disorder

Environmental Factors

Environmental factors play an important role in making a person bipolar. A past trauma or an ongoing abuse physical or mental can lead to a person becoming bipolar. Other factors include –

  • A physical illness
  • Physical or mental abuse
  • Living in a stressful environment

Genetic

The bipolar disorder can be passed through genes. If a person’s parents, sibling or a family member has the illness, it is possible that the person got it from them. But it is not true it all the cases. Just because a family member of yours has this illness, doesn’t mean you can have it too.

Brain

A person’s brain structure can also lead to them developing this mental illness. Studies show some abnormalities in the brain of a person can lead to bipolar disorder.

There is a chance that you or someone you know might have this mental illness. So please keep in check. Help yourself and help them. Mental illness is not something you should take lightly. Please talk to someone or to go a psychiatrist if you feel like you might be bipolar. Your mental health is important, you are important.

What is Mental Health?

Mental Health concerns the well being of one’s psychological and emotional state of mind. Mental health is often related to difficulties like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder etc. These mental disorders are caused mostly due to the events that take place in an individual’s life. Most of the people don’t even have the idea that they are living with a mental disorder or declining mental health. Sadly, mental health is not taken as seriously as physical health in most parts of the world.

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Importance of Mental Health

Just like physical health, a person needs to take care of their mental health as well. We live in a world where physical appearance matter more than anything else. How a person looks is far important than what he or she is feeling on the side. Even if we keep this aside, those people who work out daily to live a healthy life sometimes forget that their declining mental health can also cause a lot of issues in their future.

Just as your physical health is important to take care of so you can lead a healthy and happy life, your mental health is equally important to take care of if you want to live a happy and healthy life. Many studies show that your declining mental health can lead to many physical issues as well.

Every year thousands of people commit suicide because of their declining mental health. Mental illnesses like depression which is one of the most common mental illness in today’s youth has lead to many suicides. If the mental health of the people is not kept in check then these deaths or the number of people living with these illnesses will only increase.

Steps to take to care for your mental health:

  • Talk to people: If you think there is something wrong don’t ever keep it to yourself. Talk it out. It is very important in the long run because the more you keep it all inside the heavier you will feel. Keeping it all in will only deepen your sorrow. ‘Sharing is caring’ is a very powerful sentence. In the context of your health the more you share about what you are feeling deep down inside the more chances you will have to get help which in turn will help you. So share to care for yourself.
  • Notice your moods: People can be very moody. One’s mood can change from happy to sad in minutes. But if it’s happening very frequently then you need to take some time and see if it is persistent. Too much change of mood can also be an indication of mental illness. People spend hours in a day noticing others and how they behave. What is more important is to notice yourself and see how you are behaving? Is it normal? Don’t ever forget to ask yourself Am I OK?
  • Talk to a Psychiatrist: When you feel like there is something wrong with your physical health you go to a doctor for a checkup right. Similarly, if you feel like your mental health is not right then go see a psychiatrist. A check-up once in a while won’t hurt.

Keep your mental health in check. Observe your moods your reactions. Just like you keep noticing weight gain notice your thoughts too. What kind of thoughts are coming into your mind? Try to keep them positive. The negative the thoughts are the more chances you have to develop a mental health issue.

Signs of Mental Disorder

Though there are no definite signs of mental illness like depression which can hide in plain sight. There are some indications that may indicate a health issue.

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Irregular Sleep

One of the most important and noticeable signs for a mental health disorder is irregular sleep. If you are having problems with sleeping then it can be a sign of some underlying mental health issue. Insomnia is a result of your mind overthinking your life’s issues or other things that might not even be related to you. It starts with an irregular pattern but can soon turn into a regular thing.

Loss of Energy

Another noticeable sign is a constant feeling of weakness. It doesn’t matter what you eat or how much you are eating you still feel weak and low in energy. It feels like the very life from you has been taken away. Like it’s not your body that needs nutrition but it’s your soul. This is the indication that you should immediately talk to someone or go to a psychiatrist.

The feeling of Emptiness

Even though everything in your life is fine. Nothing is out of the place you are ok everything in your life is ok you still have a constant feeling of emptiness. This emptiness can be a sign of your underlying depression or any other mental disorder.

Getting Angry or Irritated

Another sign of declining mental health is easily getting irritated or angry with others, yourself or a situation. This can also be related to not feeling good enough for others, or for a task or just not feeling worthy. The feeling that no matter what you do it is not enough! It is never enough! These emotions act as a catalyst and a person can get agitated very quickly.

Conclusion:

Mental Health is as important as your physical health if not more. Please take care of yourself. No one can know what is going through your mind. Only you are the one who can analyse and get yourself out of this situation. Please make sure to observe others as well.

Don’t ever forget to help others. Don’t just notice yourself notice others too. There are a lot of people around you who might be going through the same mental health issues as you do. Talk to them. Keep an eye. A person may act like the happiest person in the world but still might go home and cry all night. A little help from you will change their life. Spread the awareness. Help yourself and help someone else.

 

 

Poverty and its Effects

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Let me tell you a story…….

Once upon a time, there was a poor family.  Poor in wealth but not in love. A strong man lived with his lovely wife and two beautiful kids a girl and a boy. The man had a low paying job and can hardly pay all the household expenses and the school fee of the kids. One day he took his 7-year-old daughter to a shop to buy some groceries. While the man was buying groceries, the daughter caught the glimpse of an expensive toy. It has shiny and beautiful and she immediately made up her mind to buy it. She went to her dad and asked him to buy it. He immediately refused.

The little girl was furious and she started crying and fighting her dad. At last, her dad gave up and bought her the toy. After they went home, the man scolded her daughter and hit her making him buy that toy. She got sad. She felt like her father didn’t love her. This incident lived with her till her youth. She lived her life thinking her parents didn’t love her enough.

Little did she know, the man who hit her that day didn’t hit her because he was angry at her. He hit her because he was angry at himself. The man didn’t have enough money to buy the groceries and the toy. So when her daughter asked for the toy he had to buy the toy instead of the grocery.

That man, that strong man felt weak that day. If he buys the groceries he’ll disappoint her daughter if he buys the toy he won’t be able to fulfil his duty as the breadwinner of the family. That moment the man felt weak. And he got it out in the form of anger towards his own daughter.

That’s what poverty does……..

Simple things in life that an average person couldn’t care less about can mean a great deal to a person with no or less money. Poverty also leads to low self-esteem, confidence, depression and other mental and physical illness.

Little did the girl knew what was going through her father’s mind and how bad he must have felt using his hard earned money for a toy. Little did the man knew how that night would leave a deep scar on his daughter’s mind.

This was just a simple example. Poverty has more vicious effects on people. If only people would understand. Governments spending millions of money on things the public don’t need instead of spending the money on their own people. We have more talks about the war in parliaments than poverty.

Living in a third world country opens up your mind to the everyday hurdles of a little boy walking by the street in little to no clothes in winter asking people for some money. What is more astonishing is the ignorance of the people passing by. Go ask  someone else we don’t have money !!! Really!

Depression: The Mask

Everyone wears masks in this world. People lying to each other to hide their true feelings, sometimes to spare others from something dreadful and sometimes to save themselves. But for people with depression, it’s a different case.

The Mask

People with depression wear a different mask and for a very different reason. They do wear it hide their feelings but not always because they want to spare someone’s feelings or theirs but simply because they know that no one will understand.

Reasons behind the mask

  • The first and probably the most common – No one will understand
  • People can’t muster the courage to speak up. Why? well cause that is why the person will ask
  • That’s the third reason – Not being able to explain why
  • Fourth – Not finding the person one can talk cause it’s not easy to find someone who would believe in the pain that you are going through
  • Fifth – Not understanding what’s going on. Most of the people don’t realise that they depressed until it’s too late. It starts with hiding pure feelings which turn into something dark over the time
  • Sixth – It’s easier. This is not something that will sink into some people’s thoughts but it’s true. As time passes it does seem easier to keep it all in rather than talking it out

Fight Back – Take out the mask

The only way one can fight depression is to realise the situation and talk to someone. It might seem like a hard task but it’s worth trying. Talk to someone. If you can’t find someone in your life then try looking for a psychiatrist. If that’s not possible there are plenty of apps online where you can talk to people with depression or the one who wants to help though I would suggest being a bit cautious while doing so.

And always remember…

  • You’re not alone
  • There are plenty of people out there who are like you and going through the same and will understand
  • There are plenty of people in this world who are not depressed but are kind enough to try to understand and help you
  • You can always turn to your family and friends
  • You can fight this. This is not the end
  • Take off the mask and let the people around you see who you really are and what you are going through
  • Let people see your pain
  • Admitting to your pain doesn’t make you weak it prepares you to fight for your better future
  • You deserve better than this and you should always fight for it
  • Ask for help there is nothing wrong with it
  • Take off the mask and embrace your sadness only to fight to get back your happiness

 

The Journey Begins

Depression

Depression – The word we all are quite familiar with. This word has become so popular that almost everyone uses it. Especially in India, where I see almost everyone around me using this word whenever they want to express sadness. That’s sort of the biggest problem here. We don’t know what depression is. Maybe that’s why depression in India is not taken that seriously. According to a survey in 2015-16, nearly 15% of the adults suffer from some kind of mental disorder and depression is one of the most common forms of mental illness.

What is Depression?

Depression is a state of constant sadness. It’s a feeling of not feeling good about anything in the current situation. It makes u lose faith in everything and destroys all the feelings of hope. If not diagnosed and treated this mental illness can be fatal.

While people in some countries have started taking measures against this disorder, India is still learning about this illness. The population is still not aware of the severity of this concept.

Quick Facts about Depression

  • More than 300 million people in this world suffer from depression
  • It is one of the most common and leading causes of disability worldwide
  • It can be treated with the help of Psychological and Pharmacological treatments

In future, I would like to talk to talk more about depression and its symptoms and other mental disorders too. It is time to get this out of the closet cause many people in India are suffering from such evils and need help and someone to talk to.

I hope to hear from the readers if they know someone who might be going through this or if they are the ones going through it. Share your experiences and let me know if you have some suggestions for this is my first post and I would love some suggestions on how to reach out to more people suffering from depression and help them fight this.

 

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