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Understand Mental Health

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This unit aims to provide the learner with knowledge of the main forms of mental health problems according to the psychiatric classification system. Learners also consider the strengths and limitations of this model and look at alternative frameworks for understanding mental distress. The focus of the unit is on understanding the different ways in which mental health problems impact on the individual and others in their social network. It also considers the benefits of early intervention in promoting mental health and wellbeing.

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Learning outcome one:

Know the main forms of mental ill health

1.1 describe the main types of mental ill health according to the psychiatric (DSM/ICD) classification system: mood disorders, personality disorders, anxiety disorders, psychotic disorders, substance-related disorders, eating disorders, cognitive disorders| There are many different conditions/symptoms that are recognised by the diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (DSM) or the international classification of disease (ICD) as mental ill health.MOOD DISORDERS:-the most common mood disorders according to the dsm are depression and bipolar disorder. These types of mental ill health are known as Affective disorders, they involve periods of time where the individual experiences feelings of extreme sadness or extreme happiness, the individual may also experience a fluctuation between the two emotions over this period of time.PERSONALITY DISORDERS:- Personality disorders usually become noticeable in adolescence or early adulthood, but sometimes start in childhood.

The individual’s patterns of behavior and thinking differ from the expectations of society. These thinking and behavioral patterns are very rigid and may interfere with the person’s normal day to day functioning, They can make it difficult for individuals to start and keep friendships or other relationships, and individuals may find it hard to work effectively with others. Individuals may also find other people very scary, and feel very alienated and alone.ANXIETY DISORDERS:- there are many types of Anxiety disorders that affect each individual in different way the main types include: * Generalized anxiety or GAD is characterized by excessive, exaggerated anxiety and worry about everyday life events with no obvious reasons for worry. * Post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD is a lasting consequence of traumatic ordeals that cause intense fear, helplessness, or horror, such as a sexual or physical assault, the unexpected death of a loved one, an accident, war, or natural disaster. * Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a type of mental illness that causes repeated unwanted thoughts. To get rid of the thoughts, a person does the same tasks over and over. For example, you may fear that everything you touch has germs on it. So to ease that fear, you wash your hands over and over again.

* Panic disorder, which is a serious condition that strikes without reason or warning. Symptoms of panic disorder include sudden attacks of fear and nervousness, as well as physical symptoms such as sweating and a racing heart. * Social anxiety disorder, People with social anxiety disorder (or social phobia) are extremely anxious about what they will say or do in front of other people. Doctors don’t know what causes social anxiety disorder. They think it may run in families. But they are not sure if it’s because of genetics or a response to a traumatic situation. * Specific phobias:- are a lasting and unreasonable fear caused by the presence or thought of a specific object or situation that usually poses little or no actual danger. Exposure to the object or situation brings about an immediate reaction, causing the person to endure intense anxiety (nervousness) or to avoid the object or situation entirely. The distress associated with the phobia and/or the need to avoid the object or situation can significantly interfere with the person’s ability to function.

Adults with a specific phobia recognize that the fear is excessive or unreasonable, yet are unable to overcome it.PSYCHOTIC DISORDERS:- These illnesses affect an individual’s mind and alter a person’s ability to think clearly, make good judgments, communicate effectively, understand reality, behave appropriately and respond emotionally. When symptoms are severe, people with psychotic disorders often are unable to meet the ordinary demands of daily life. People with this illness have changes in behaviour and symptoms, such as delusions (a feeling of being watched or monitored in some way) and hallucinations (hearing, seeing or smelling things that aren’t there) that last a very long time.SUBSTANCE-RELATED DISORDERS:- According to the DSM, substance related disorders are separated into two types: 1. Substance use/abuse disorders. Substance use disorders include abuse and dependence of any substance. Substance dependence is characterized by continued use of any substance even after the user has experienced serious substance-related problems. 2. Substance-induced disorders. This involves mental or physical problems that result solely from the drug’s chemical effects on the body.

Substance-induced disorder is diagnosed when someone experiences psychiatric symptoms that are solely related to substance use or withdrawal.Different substances affect individuals in various ways, but some of the effects seen in intoxication and withdrawal might include impaired judgment, emotional instability, increase or decrease in appetite, or changed sleep patterns/insomnia, fatigue, irritability, sweating, increased heart rate, tremors, nausea and vomiting.EATING DISORDERS:- these include extreme attitudes, behaviours and emotions involving food and weight. The most common eating disorders are; * Anorexia nervosa, People with anorexia nervosa have an extreme fear of gaining weight. They often diet and exercise relentlessly, sometimes to the point of starvation. About one-third to one-half of anorexics also binge and purge by vomiting or misusing laxatives. People with anorexia have a distorted body image, thinking they are overweight when in fact they are underweight. They may count calories obsessively and only allow themselves tiny portions of certain specific foods. When confronted, someone with anorexia will often deny that there’s a problem.

* Bulimia Bulimia, also called bulimia nervosa, is another eating disorder, Like anorexia, bulimia is a psychological disorder. Bulimia is characterized by episodes of secretive excessive eating (bingeing) followed by inappropriate methods of weight control, such as self-induced vomiting (purging), abuse of laxatives and diuretics, or excessive exercise. It is another condition that goes beyond out-of-control dieting. The cycle of overeating and purging can quickly become an obsession similar to an addiction to drugs or other substances. The disorder generally occurs after a variety of unsuccessful attempts at dieting.COGNITIVE DISORDERS:- are a category of mental health disorders that primarily affect learning, memory, perception, problem solving and include amnesia and dementia. Causes vary between the different types of disorders but most include damage to the memory portions of the brain.Dementia can have numerous causes: genetics, brain trauma, stroke, and heart issues. The main causes are diseases such as Alzheimer disease, Parkinson disease, and Huntington disease because they affect or deteriorate brain functions.

Dementia erases part or all of the patient’s memory. It is usually associated with but not restricted to the elderly. It can be diagnosed by screening tests such as the Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE).Amnesia patients have trouble retaining long or short term memories. Amnesia can be caused by concussions, traumatic brain injuries, post-traumatic stress, and alcoholism. Many problems are caused by damage to major memory encoding parts of the brain. If left untreated, cognitive disorders can quickly get worse, with the possibility of other mental problems appearing. In addition to this, there are the dangers that someone who have a cognitive disorder will get lost and be unable to find their way home or even remember who they are. When left untreated, these types of disorders can get bad enough that constant supervision is needed. | 1.2 explain the key strengths and limitations of the psychiatric classification system| Benefits;- * Reduces complex information by categorizing mental ill health in order for professionals to communicate the health disorder more effectively. * It categorizes diagnostic information in a systematic manner by grouping individuals.

This enables psychiatrists to diagnose extremely ill individuals based on similarities of behaviour. * It provides a diagnosis and prognosis for each mental health disorder. * Enables physicians to communicate and compare and improve treatments of mental ill health. * Reduces victim blaming e.g. the disorder is to blame for problematic behaviours and not the individual. * Provides mental health practitioners the basis for creating a care plan for the individuals. * Due to the way the DSM was designed it is easily used on a wide spectrum of individuals and their symptoms. * DSM-IV has a broad list of categories as well as symptoms that indicate what must and must not be present for the appropriate disorder to be diagnosed.Limitations; * Labelling individuals * Failing to diagnose may defer early treatment or intervention * The system only communicates small amounts of information about the individual’s unique symptoms and feelings, which may lead to the stereotyping of the individual.

* The DSM judges symptoms superficially and ignores other possible important factors. * The DSM is currently in its fourth edition as both the first and second editions had numerous categories for diagnosing based on assumptions rather than fact.The system has put in place specific criteria for diagnosis; The aim is to make diagnosis more reliable and valid by laying down rules for the inclusion or exclusion of cases. Each disorder has a list of symptoms, all of which must be present, for a specified period of time, in relation to age and gender, what mustn’t be present and the personal and social causes of the disorder.| 1.3 explain two alternative frameworks for understanding mental distress| Alternative frameworks for understanding mental distress include medical model and behavioural frameworks. The medical model works with the assumption that problems in areas of our lives such as thinking, feeling, relating and behaving are best understood through medical terminology involving a vocabulary of symptoms, diagnosis and prognosis.

Biological and medical frameworks view psychological problems as result of physical causes such as brain defects, hereditary factors or as the results of accidents or injury. Behavioural frameworks are closely aligned to learning theories rather than biological problems. Behavioural frameworks indicate that the symptoms of mental distress are learned habits that arise from the interaction between external stressors that include, the physical environment, including your job, your relationships with others, your home, and all the situations, challenges, difficulties, and expectations you’re confronted with on a daily basis, and the individual’s personality and abilities to manage these life stresses. Those who promote the medical model do not ignore questions to do with meanings, relationships and values, these questions are understood to be secondary concerns whereas the behavioural frameworks use these symptoms In the initial diagnosis and prognosis of the illness.

1.4 explain how mental ill health may be indicated through an individual’s emotions, thinking and behaviour| Signs and symptoms of mental ill health can vary immensely between individuals. Factors can depend on the individual’s particular mental health problem, financial circumstances, jobs, relationships and other life challenges/difficulties/expectations.Examples of some indicators for mental ill health are:- * Feeling sad or “down” * Confused thinking * Neglect to belongings/family or self * Reduced ability to concentrate * Increased excessive worries or fears * Extreme mood changes- highs to lows, lows to highs * extreme feelings of guilt * extreme feelings of tiredness and low energy * withdrawal from friends or activities * problems sleeping either too much or not at all * inability to cope with daily problems or stress * major changes in eating habits * major changes in sex drive * Detachment from reality(delusions, paranoia or hallucinations) * Act of anger hostility or violence * Suicidal thinking or behaviour * Substance misuse, alcohol or drug abuseSometimes individuals suffering with mental ill health may present with physical conditions such as headache, back pain, abdominal pain or other unexplained aches and pains.

2.1 explain how individuals experience discrimination due to misinformation, assumptions and stereotypes about mental ill health| Many people in today’s society are ill informed about mental ill health. Technology and terminology has vastly improved over the last 100 years but unfortunately people’s attitudes have not. Many people are happy to be discriminatory rather than spend the time educating themselves about on-going illnesses that can affect anyone.Older generations pass down their out-dated views as to how individuals with mental health should be treated i.e grandparents telling grandchildren “people like that should be in an asylum” obviously this is a wildly inaccurate and outdated statementas individuals in todays society have a great deal more support network to channel into in order for them to get help and suppot to cope with their conditions without being admitted into hospitals.

Throughout the media mental ill health is portrayed as violent, unpredictable and dangerous. These such representations are wildly inaccurate as research shows that many people with mental ill health are more likely to be victims rather than the perpitrators of violence. work colleagues, friends, and even can Family members can contribute to the stereotyping of individuals suffering with mental health problems as they are under educated about the specific illness and how it affects the individual.My mother is a sufferer of bipolar disorder so in order to understand her illness I researched her condition and educated myself about it. A few weeks later my mum had an appointment to amend her benefits as she could not work with her illness.

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