Mental Illness in America

For many the words “mental illness” suggest someone is basically “nuts.” This is far from the truth. In fact, millions of Americans deal with one or several of the more than 200 forms of mental illness each year. The problem is that despite treatments and medications available, many still see it as a sign of weakness or are simply in denial and don’t get the treatment they need to function and lead a normal life. The truth is that your mental health matters; without it, many will never get to experience life’s simple pleasures.

Common types of mental illness 

While there are many types of mental illness in varying degrees, there are five common types that affect the vast majority of the sufferers. They include clinical depression, dementia, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. Many people suffer from more than one of these leading to difficulties with their job, relationships and everyday happenings.

Knowing the signs

For many parents, erratic behavior and anxiousness with a child get pushed off as the hormonal teen years. After all, most young adults experience conflicts with their parents, so it’s viewed as normal behavior. Unfortunately, while it’s normal to disagree with parents and want to have a voice heard, most teens respect their parent’s wishes, even if they disagree. Severe outbursts and serious temper tantrums that escalate into violence should not be something you turn and walk away from. If your teenager is falling behind in school, spending more time locked away in their room and challenging everything you say in a violent way, it may be time to seek the advice of a professional. Mental illness, in any form, can hold a child back from becoming who they can be. Take the time out of your busy life and find out for certain if your child has a mental disorder.

Mental illness and drug and alcohol abuse

When young adults suffer behind closed doors with mental illness they often turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to coping and fitting in with their peers. Many parents often discover this through a family member, a friend or school. Since the parent is in the home each day it’s difficult to see the changes that occur over time. But, someone who doesn’t see the child regularly or a teacher who sees the student with changes in their behavior often detects it first. As a parent, you don’t want to believe that your child is addicted to drugs or alcohol. And, you certainly don’t want to admit that you dismissed the change in behavior. First, ask your teenager if they are doing drugs or abusing alcohol. If they don’t answer right away or get violent chances are good that the answer is yes. The good news is that if you suspect that they are, there are many drug rehabilitation programs available to help the process of recovery. The sooner your child gets help the sooner they can get on the road to recovery and begin leading a normal life.

Getting the help they need

In the case of mental illness, a drug rehabilitation program is just the first step in their long road to living a healthy and productive life. In order to achieve this, they will need a full review by a qualified psychiatrist to determine what type or types of mental illness they have and what the best treatment options are. Without getting on medication and extensive counseling, their chances for a relapse with drugs and alcohol or worse, are greater than you might imagine. They need to release what they have kept inside for a better part of their life and learn how to deal with their emotions.

Mental illness is real. It affects every member of the family. It’s no longer something that happens to other families. In most families, there’s a father, mother, sister, brother or an aunt or uncle suffering in silence. It’s time to realize that there is a problem and work towards getting your child the help they need and deserve.