The link between substance abuse and mental illness

Drugs and alcohol can cause profound mental health problems, as well as increase the severity of pre-existing mental illness symptoms. According to the National Institute of Mental Illness, drug abuse can bring about symptoms of other mental illnesses, as well as increase the risk of psychosis. On the flip side, mental illness can lead to drug abuse, usually as a means of self-medication.

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Cognitive training for brain repair

Cognitive training and cognitive rehabilitation are interventional approaches designed to address alterations, injuries or impairment of cognitive functioning. According to the Center for Brain Training, the brain has the ability to change itself, also known as neuroplasticity. The main premise behind “brain training” holds that through utilizing brain training games and exercises, one can learn to regulate cognitive and mental functioning on their own. Some scientists see this as an innovative approach to treat addictions, learning disabilities and mental health disorders such as Attention deficit disorder (ADD), Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and Borderline personality disorder.

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Mental health medications and the conditions they treat

Oftentimes, when a patient is diagnosed with a mental health disorder, they will undergo a treatment plan that includes both therapy and medication. A psychologist will meet with a patient to assist them with cognitive and behavioral therapies and other coping skills, whereas a psychiatrist is licensed to prescribe medication and will determine the specific type, along with the dosage, that is right for them. It is important to note that medications are not intended to be a cure for sufferers, but they will help treat certain symptoms so they are able to function in everyday life. Continue reading

How to handle a mental health emergency

Friends and family learning to cope with a loved one recently diagnosed with a disorder will naturally want to educate themselves on the condition. Of course, this allows for a better understanding of the individual and the opportunity to assist the patient in appropriately helpful ways. However, there may be more extreme instances when professional assistance is immediately required. Such occurrences will often constitute a mental health emergency and it’s important to know when and how to respond accordingly. Continue reading

Rational emotive behavior therapy vs. cognitive behavioral therapy

Mental health and substance abuse disorders are both a result of and the cause of a person’s perception of his or her reality. Emotions such as anger, stress, depression, fatigue and worry are all derived from one’s perceptions of the world around him or her. If the beliefs change and the idea a person has of the world can be altered, his or her everyday life can too. Two of the main forms of therapy that work to help changes people’s thoughts and beliefs to help them deal with mental health disorders and addiction include Rational emotive behavior therapy and Cognitive behavioral therapy. Continue reading

What is an adjustment disorder and how do you treat it?

Abnormal psychological or behavioral symptoms that develop in response to a drastic life-change such as a severe medical condition, a death in the family or a divorce from a spouse could be diagnosed as an adjustment disorder. According to the Diagnostic Statistical Manual 5th Edition, an adjustment disorder (AD) is a stress related illness in which a person isn’t able to emotionally adjust to a change in life for up to six months. Continue reading

Suicide: a permanent solution to a temporary problem

Suicide rates are harder to gauge because the media usually doesn’t report suicides due to stigma. Another aspect of why suicide statistics are skewed is largely due to the media portraying most of the gun violence in the country as being homicidal, as opposed to suicidal. When suicides are underreported, the urgency of finding a solution to the problem is diluted. Some studies suggest that the underreporting of suicides is also due to social or religious values. Continue reading

Learning about borderline personality disorder and finding help

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) can cause many problems in a person’s life and is characterized by a pattern of unstable moods, behavior and relationships; many people with BPD also have brief psychotic episodes (NIMH 2014). It is very common for people with BPD to exhibit life-threatening behaviors such as risky substance abuse behaviors, risky sexual behaviors and promiscuity and hostile or aggressive outbursts.This personality disorder is also characterized by several other symptoms including the following: Continue reading

Preventing suicide contagion by changing how suicide is reported

Evidence shows that reporting suicides on national television could have a negative effect on viewers who might be at risk of wanting to end their lives. Acknowledging the old adage, “It’s not what you say, but how you say it” is extremely important to keep in mind when communicating tragic events to the public, especially when there is a growing global concern about mental health. Continue reading

Treatment for obsessive-compulsive disorder

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is generally defined as having tendencies of unreasonable thoughts and fears that lead to compulsive and/or obsessive behaviors or unwanted urges. Not all forms of OCD include both obsessions and compulsions, but instead show a propensity towards either behavior. A person dealing with OCD may exhibit symptoms such as orderliness, counting, checking, following strict routines, washing and cleaning, ritualistic behavior and other signs. Continue reading