Frequently Asked Questions About Mental Illness
What is mental illness?
The term "mental illness" refers to
What are the more common psychiatric disorders?
What are the warning signs of depression?
The signs of depression can include frequent:
1. feelings of isolation
2. thoughts of suicide
3. sudden loss or gain of weight
4. chronic pain
5. sleep disturbances
6. withdrawal from family and friends
7. feeling sad or "down"
8. loss of energy for daily activities
Can a mental illness be treated?
Yes. Mental illnesses are definable, diagnosable and treatable. In fact, psychiatry has a higher success rate than many other branches of medicine. For example, the treatment success rate is 85% for major depression; 80% for panic disorder and bipolar (manic depressive) illness; and 60% for schizophrenia. By contrast, success rates for common heart treatments, such as angioplasty and atherectomy, are only 41% and 52%.
What is main the difference between psychiatrists and other mental health care professionals?
Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental illnesses and substance abuse disorders. Psychiatrists undergo extensive training and education requiring four years of college; four years of medical school; four years of residency; and additional training for specialization in areas such as adolescent psychiatry or forensic psychiatry. ONLY psychiatrists are medical doctors who can order medical tests and prescribe medication for the treatment of mental illness. Psychiatrists are best prepared to differentiate between the physical and psychological causes of both mental and physical illness.
How can I help a loved one who may be suffering from a mental illness?
Discuss the issue with your primary care physician, or in the case of a child, your family pediatrician. Your physician may perform a physical evaluation to determine whether any physical problems may be the cause or contributor to the mental or emotional problem. The physician can be helpful by providing the names of psychiatrists appropriate to consult.
Will my insurance cover the cost of treatment for mental illness?
Insurance coverage varies from carrier to carrier. Most existing coverage for mental illness is discriminatory. Bureau of Labor survey statistics show that:
1. 95% of the health insurance plans surveyed limits their outpatient coverage.
2. 79% of employees in large and medium-size firms are offered mental health benefits that are more restrictive on hospital coverage for mental illness than for other illnesses.
3. 66% impose special maximum dollar limits on outpatient visits.
4. 50% of employees have hospitalizations limited to 30-60 days per year for mental disorders, compared with 120 to unlimited days for physical disorders.
5. 38% belong to plans that put a separate, or lower maximum on annual or lifetime expenses.
6. 34% allow fewer outpatient visits per year for mental disorders.
What is Mental Illness: Mental Illness Facts (www.nami.org)
Mental illnesses are medical conditions that disrupt a person's thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others, and daily functioning. Just as diabetes is a disorder of the pancreas, mental illnesses are medical conditions that often result in a diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of life.
Serious mental illnesses include major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and borderline personality disorder. The good news about mental illness is that recovery is possible.
Mental illnesses can affect persons of any age, race, religion, or income. Mental illnesses are not the result of personal weakness, lack of character, or poor upbringing. Mental illnesses are treatable. Most people diagnosed with a serious mental illness can experience relief from their symptoms by actively participating in an individual treatment plan.
In addition to medication treatment, psychosocial treatment such as cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, peer support groups, and other community services can also be components of a treatment plan and that assist with recovery. The availability of transportation, diet, exercise, sleep, friends, and meaningful paid or volunteer activities contribute to overall health and wellness, including mental illness recovery.
Here are some important facts about mental illness and recovery: