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  1. MENTAL ILLNESS By: HirushikaLeitan

  2. PSYCHOTIC AND NON-PSYCHOTIC ILLNESS: A Psychotic illness is when the person loses contact with reality. This means that the individual is unable to make sense of their thoughts, feelings and occurrences happening around them. This can then result in the person living in a world created by their mind and not the one in which they exist in. A non-psychotic illness is when the person remains in touch with reality despite dysfunctional thoughts, feelings and behaviour. This may be intense feelings of sadness and/or anxiety in which makes it difficult for them to cope with everyday life.

  3. MENTAL ILLNESSES IN AUSTRALIA A national survey conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2007 on the mental health of Australians between the ages of 16 and 85 has found that 45% (or 7.3 million ) of the Australians in that age group reported to have experienced a mental illness at some stage in their life. People between the ages of 16 and 64 were reported to have more people having suffered a mental illness than any other age group over a 12 month period. The study also shows that males and females experience a similar rates of mental illness, but the types of mental illness experienced varied between the two genders. It was shown that more females experience anxiety disorders and affective disorders than males and more males suffer from substance use disorders and other types of non-psychotic illness than females.

  4. WHAT IS THE DSM-IV? The DSM-IV was developed in 1952 and is the most commonly used system to diagnose and classify a mental illness. The DSM-IV names the mental disorder and also briefly describes the disorder to help classify exactly what the disorder is and what treatment is best to do. The DSM also gives information on the typical cause of each disorder, the age at which people are most likely to develop the disorder, how common the disorder is and whether the disorder is likely to effect others in the family. Diagnosis of a mental illness is done by a mental health professional and usually involves several lengthy interviews where a mental health professional finds out what their issues and concerns are and assesses their symptoms to accurately diagnose a mental illness, if identified and develop a management plan for the illness.


  6. What is schizophrenia? Schizophrenia is a rare mental illness which effects only about 1% of the worlds population. Schizophrenia can seriously impact the way a person thinks feels and behaves. The person is usually at loss with reality and can hear and see things which cannot be seen and are not actually there. Because their behaviour is different and in some ways inappropriate, it can be quite uncomfortable and frightening for the people around them. However, not everyone who has schizophrenia are not necessarily ‘abnormal’. Some act perfectly normal and in control even when they are experiencing delusions or hallucinations. For some people, the symptoms of schizophrenia come and go, whilst others can undergo the symptoms daily in their everyday life. Many live a full and productive life and are relatively independent in carrying out day-to-day tasks. Those who do experience the symptoms of schizophrenia have more difficulty functioning in society, school or at work. This can be both a challenge for the individual and also their families.

  7. Symptoms: • There are a number of symptoms for schizophrenia and can be spotted quite easily. These include: • Low self esteem and self motivation • Lack of interest or difficulty socialising with other people. • Difficulty or inability to speak • Isolation from friends or family for long periods of time on a daily basis • Disorganised behaviour • Disorganised speech • Hallucinations • Delusions • Use of strange words • Extreme reactions to criticism

  8. CAUSES OF SCHIZOPHRENIA • No single cause of schizophrenia is known because it is so complex. However, several theories have been developed to explain how it may occur within a person: These include: • Heredity: Schizophrenia can run in some families and it can be quite likely that a person develops the illness, especially if a parent has the disorder. There is a 6% risk that a person may develop the disease if they have a parent with the disorder and a 46% risk of developing the disease if both parents have the illness. If an identical twin has the disorder, there is a 48% chance that the other twin will be diagnosed with the disorder. Despite this theory, about 6o% of people with schizophrenia do not have an immediate family member with the disorder. • Complications during pregnancy: Some researchers believe that malnutrition, infection or even complications during birth can increase the chances of a child developing schizophrenia when older. • Brain Chemistry: many researchers believe that people with schizophrenia are very sensitive to a brain chemical called dopamine or actually produce too much of it. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter which allow nerve cells in the brain to send messages to each other. Having no balance in this chemical can affect they way the brain reacts to different stimuli.

  9. People at risk of disorder: Anyone can have the risk of getting schizophrenia as it is common all over the world in all social and ethnic groups. However, some psychologists believe that we can inherit a predisposition to schizophrenia. There is almost a 50% risk 0f developing schizophrenia if a person has an identical twin with the disorder. There is also a 46% risk of developing schizophrenia if you have 2 parents with the illness. If it is just one parent, there is a 6% chance of developing the disorder. In general, if you do not have any close relatives or family members with the illness, there is a 1% chance that you can have the disorder when older. Having a family member with the disease does not necessarily mean that a person will get the illness. It rather increases their likelihood of developing the illness. Although males and females are equally affected by schizophrenia, males often experience symptoms earlier than females. Between the ages of 16 and 25, more males are affected than females, but between the ages of 25 and 30, more females are affected than males. However, there are no research findings to indicate why this is so.

  10. TREATEMENT OPTIONS: • Although there is no cure for schizophrenia, however, various treatment options are available to ease the symptoms associated with the illness. These include: • MEDICATION: Medication is often used to help stabilise the chemicals in the brain responsible for mood. These medications are called antipsychotics. There are 2 different types of antipsychotics; typical antipsychotics and atypical antipsychotics. Most people prefer atypical antipsychotics because they have less side effects and are considered more effective. • PSYCHSOCIAL TREATMENTS: Psychosocial treatments help people with schizophrenia to deal with and function with their disorder. This usually involves therapy either individually or with a group of people. Most people who undergo psychosocial treatments are still usually on medications. • HOSPITALIZATION: If the symptoms associated with schizophrenia become so severe to the point that the individual is at risk of hurting themselves or others, hospitalization may be required. Hospitalization may also be necessary for patients who are using drugs and alcohol instead of taking the medication required, which, in conclusion, allows for the condition to get worse.


  12. WHAT IS AN EATING DISORDER? An eating disorder is an illness in which a person has extreme disturbances in their eating behaviour. When a person is diagnosed with an eating disorder, it usually means that they have no control of their eating behaviour. This can have a serious impact on their psychological and social functioning. An eating disorder usually occurs through a persons fear of eating too much, gaining weight and not having control of their eating. There are two common types of eating disorders; anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Anorexia is a disorder which occurs when a person has a constant fear of gaining weight, eating too much and becoming fat. This is usually done by excessive diet, exercise and other often dangerous and extreme ways of loosing weight. Bulimia is a disorder in which a person experiences various stages of overeating followed by a feeling of guilt. This results in the person dieting excessively, deliberately vomiting or doing an extreme amount of exercise.

  13. SYMPTOMS: • Common symptoms of Eating disorders include: • Extreme weight loss in a short period of time • Noticeable restrictions from food • Daily Self Starvations • Obsession with continuous daily exercise • Use of diet pills and laxatives and even ipecac syrup(which can cause immediate death) • Low self esteem(daily complaints of being ‘too fat’) • Mood Swings • Being depressed • Loss of Menstrual cycle • Unusual food rituals (shifting food around plate, cutting food into small pieces) • Obsession with the content of fat and calories in foods • ‘Binge’ eating • Overly exercise, medications and dieting after an uncontrolled amount of eating

  14. Causes of disorder: • There is no single cause for eating disorders, however theories have been developed to explain how it may be brought about: These include: • PRESSURE FROM SOCIETY: • The constant emphasis from society to have ‘model type’ figures and take up pills, or other diets in order to have that perfect, skinny body. • INFLUENCES FROM FAMILY: • Negative influences from families can play a major part in a person suffering from an eating disorder. Such things like pressure to lose weight, physical and/or sexual abuse and a family history of addictions to drugs or being obese can also trigger a person into having an obsession to lose weight. • GENETIC FACTORS: • Anorexia is believed to be 10 times more common in a person with a relative who also has the disorder. Twins can also have the tendency to share eating disorders like anorexia or bulimia. Researchers have also indentified regions in our 10th chromosome that may be linked to bulimia or anorexia.

  15. PEOPLE AT RISK: • GENDER: • Although females and males are both likely to suffer from an eating disorder, females are 10 times more likely to suffer from both anorexia and bulimia. Research has also found that a person is most likely to suffer from an eating disorder during the stages of adolescence and early adulthood. • EMOTIONAL OR PSYCHOLOGICAL ISSUES: • Suffering from anxiety and depression or even having a low self esteem can also cause someone to suffer from an eating disorder. • SELF ESTEEM: • Having a negative body image and weight issues can also mean a person can be at risk of suffering from an eating disorder. • FAMILY INFLUENCES: • People with families who are constantly urging them to lose weight are all common causes of eating disorders. A person with a family history of people who have also had weight problems can also influence an eating disorder.

  16. TREATMENT OPTIONS: • Eating disorders can be effectively treated if treatment is done so properly and effectively. Although it can take months and sometimes even years, a majority of people fully recover. Once diagnosed with an eating disorder a range of qualified practitioners including psychiatrists, psychologists, physicians, dieticians, social workers, occupational therapists and nurses may be involved in various treatments both physically and psychologically. These include: • Education on diet to help with healthy eating habits • Anti-depressant medications • Interpersonal therapies • Hospitalization (for severe cases of anorexia and bulimia) • Attendance of special programs to help with treatment such as psychotherapy

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