About Mental Illnesses

By Tim Cameron

Tim has paranoid schizophrenia and has been hospitalized four times for this illness. He is a licensed real estate agent, and a civil and environmental engineering graduate of Clarkson University, Potsdam, NY.

People who have schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression have to fight their delusions. These false beliefs include being forced to commit suicide by some outside unreal force; paranoia, the belief or idea that someone is talking about or laughing at one, when in reality, this doesn’t happen; depression, a feeling of unhappiness, motivational problems; it’s hard to smile, feel like crying; hallucination, seeing or hearing something and associating it with a threatening feeling toward oneself.

These four components, delusion, paranoia, depression and hallucination, are typical of someone suffering from schizophrenia. These components are not present 100 percent of the time. However, a person has to fight them to a degree, everyday (I learned from my own experiences), especially when under stress or when experiencing an acute episode. An acute episode is usually a crisis situation in which the person becomes predominately delusional and paranoid.

A definition of mental illness is difficult to describe because the illnesses vary from individual to individual. One person might be able to tolerate more stress than another, or cope better with symptoms. However, people who have mental illnesses generally don’t cope well with stress, such as working full time at a regular job.

Stress could be anything, from working in a job to walking down a busy street. Routine tasks such as shopping in a grocery store could prove overwhelming.

Stimuli in the environment, such as moving traffic, loud noises and people walking and talking all at once, seem to trigger symptoms. For example, getting a threatening message from the cars going by, forcing the person to walk out in front of the cars thereby committing suicide. Someone experiencing an active episode may feel that a person simply walking down the street is out to get one through misinterpreting the situation.

A normal person may be able to cope with stress and handle it with certain techniques, such as listening to music, taking a walk or through meditation. These techniques usually don’t work for a person with schizophrenia experiencing an acute episode. Perception is altered. Thoughts leading to feelings of a threatening nature prevail.

Medication helps, but it rarely cures the illness. Medication lessens the symptoms resulting from the malfunctioning of that part of the brain that controls perception. Controlling the symptoms resulting from the malfunctioning of that part of the brain controls perception. Research hypothesizes the cause to be a chemical imbalance in the brain. We’ve come a long way with new medications and therapies, but more research is needed to discover the actual cause. More money is required to fund research to help discover the real causes of mental illnesses.

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Last edited by Tyler Schuster.   Page last modified on September 01, 2016

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