If you feel as though things are not quite right with your mental health, your GP is usually the first port of call.
Our GP’s at Eden are qualified to diagnose and treat a wide range of mental health issues.
People with a mental illness can be among the most disadvantaged in society, and they often confront many barriers as a direct result of their illness. Stigma and discrimination is one major barrier and can often be worse than the illness itself. Changing perceptions about mental illness can go a long way towards breaking down some of the barriers that stigma and discrimination creates.
What is mental health?
It’s an expression we use every day, so it might surprise you that the term ‘mental health’ is frequently misunderstood.
‘Mental health’ is often used as a substitute for mental health conditions – such as depression, anxiety conditions, schizophrenia, and others.
According to the World Health Organization, however, mental health is “a state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.”
So rather than being about ‘what’s the problem?’ it’s really about ‘what’s going well?’
Signs of mental illness
The World Health Organisation describes good mental health as: ‘a state of wellbeing in which the individual realises his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community’.
What is mental illness?
Mental illness is a general term that refers to a group of illnesses affecting the mind, in the same way that physical illness affects the body.
A mental illness is a clinically diagnosable illness that affects a person’s thinking, emotional state or social abilities. It may disrupt their ability to work, carry out daily activities or have satisfying personal relationships.
Just as all people are different, so too are the types of mental illness and their impact. Some people may require support for a short amount of time whereas others may need life-long support.
Often people experience mental illness for a long time before finding help.
About 1 in 5 Australians will experience a mental illness in any given year, and almost half will experience a mental health problem at some point in their lives.
What causes mental illness?
There are a number of factors that can contribute to a mental illness, such as:
- a chemical imbalance in the brain
- stressful life events
- drug use.
Common mental illnesses and disorders
It is important to understand the difference between the normal feelings of unhappiness or sadness which all of us experience at various stages of life and the symptoms of clinical depression.
- Clinical depression is a state of extreme distress where the sufferer feels empty or numb rather than just sad.
- A depressed person is unable to enjoy life normally or break out of the depressed state.
- A persistent depressed mood may be considered a disorder when it is present all or most of the time, for at least 2 weeks.
- In a major depressive episode, someone might also experience
- diminished appetite with weight loss
- increased appetite with weight gain
- insomnia or increased sleep
- agitation or slowed movements
- loss of all pleasure and enjoyment
- tiredness and fatigue
- feelings of guilt and worthlessness
- poor concentration
- thoughts of death, including suicidal thoughts and plans.
- Suicidal thoughts are never normal, and indicate a need for urgent help.
For an immediate mental health assessment, contact our Gold Coast clinic today.