In order to be an effective mental health consultant, you need to be very knowledgeable in the field of mental disorders. Just as physical health is important, so is a good mental health. Nevertheless, there are millions of Americans who suffer from all kinds of mental disorders, more or less visible or dangerous. Some of the most common mental health problems include:
- social anxiety;
- obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD);
- addiction to drugs and alcohol;
- personality disorders.
Mental illness and psychological disorders have good treatment options with medications, counselling or other alternative treatments. Below you will find a short description of the aforementioned disorders.
1. Social Anxiety Disorder
Social anxiety disorder is a disorder in which a person has an excessive and unreasonable fear of social solutions. Anxiety arises from a fear of being closely watched, judged, and criticised by others.
Mental and Physical Signs
- intense anxiety and avoidance of social situations;
- confusion, pounding heart, sweating, shaking, blushing, muscle tension, upset stomach and diarrhoea.
People who have social anxiety disorder suffer from distorted thinking, including false beliefs about different social situations and the negative opinions of others. Without proper treatment and counselling, this disorder can negatively interfere with the person’s normal daily routine, including school, work, social interactions and even relationships.
Some of the situations that commonly provoke anxiety include:
- eating or drinking in front of others;
- writing or working in front of others;
- being in the centre of attention;
- interacting with people: dating or going to parties;
- asking questions, giving reports or presenting in public;
- using public toilets;
- talking on the telephone.
2. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
This is probably the most widespread disorder. OCD is also an anxiety disorder in which people have unwanted and repeated thoughts, feelings, ideas, sensations, obsessions or behaviours that make them feel driven to do something – compulsions.
Signs of OCD
- obsessions or compulsions that are not due to medical illness or drug use;
- obsessions or compulsions that cause major distress or interfere with everyday life.
Here are some examples of OCD behaviour:
- checking and rechecking actions, such as turning out the light and locking the door;
- excessive counting;
- excessive fear of germs;
- repeatedly washing the hands to ward off infections.
Usually, OCD is treated with medication and mental health consultants. The most common type of therapy is CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy). The patient is exposed a number of times to a situation that triggers the obsessive thoughts, and learns gradually to tolerate the anxiety and resist the temptation to perform the compulsion.
3. Drug and Alcohol Addiction
Substance abuse occurs when an individual uses alcohol or other drugs in a way that creates problems for themselves or others. These negative consequences may be short-term and immediate, such as the effect of a hangover or they may be long-term and delayed such as the development of liver disease. This addiction has a powerful impact on every aspect of the patient’s life: family, work, relationships.
Signs of a Substance Abuse Problem
- daily drinking in any amount;
- using a prescription drug without a prescription;
- combining different drugs or drugs and alcohol for the effect;
- using the over the counter drugs or prescription drugs in excess of the directions;
- missing out on the daily routine;
- using alcohol or substances while pregnant, to cope with different feelings, to experience pleasure or out of habit.
The best way to cope with these addictions is to resort to a rehabilitation institute and ask for professional help. Mental health counsellors believe that reducing the problems caused by addictive behaviour can unlock a person’s potential, allowing them to take control of their life and destiny.
4. Personality Disorders
This disorder is a mental illness that shares several unique qualities. It contains symptoms that is enduring and plays a major part in most respects to the aspects of the person’s life. The cause of personality disorder are unknown. Still, many genetic and environmental factors are thought to play a role.
Signs of Personality Disorder
- personality disorders involve feelings, thoughts, and behaviours that do not adapt to a wide range of settings;
- frequent mood swings;
- social isolation;
- angry outbursts;
- suspicion and mistrust of others;
- a need for instant gratification;
- poor impulse control;
- alcohol and substance abuse.
All these factors contribute to the development of personality disorders that take the concrete form of schizophrenia, bipolarity, paranoia or even Alzheimer’s. Untreated, these personality disorders can cause significant problems in anyone’s life and may get worse without proper treatment.