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Mental health problems – 5 important things you need to know

Chester Charles Bennington was an American singer and songwriter best known as the frontman for the rock band Linkin Park. He was also the lead singer for Dead by Sunrise and fronted Stone Temple Pilots from 2013 to 2015. 

On Thursday, July 20, at the age of 41 and leaving 6 children behind, Mr Bennington, who rose to popularity with songs like ‘Numb’ hung himself.

He had been known to be battling depression and suicide and in a previous interview with BBC, he had said:

“It is really hard and really confusing and really sad, sometimes it just feels like life is testing you.”

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Mental health issues have once again come to the fore with his death. What are they, and how do you differentiate between a random case of the blues and actual life-threatening depression?

Let us look at five key aspects: (1) What are mental health problems? (2) Types of mental health problems (3) Signs of mental health problems (4) Diagnosing mental health problems and (5) Choice of medication.

Psychguides.com was originally built as a repository for research studies and survey on mental health issues. In an article on mental health, it said:

Mental health problems can cover a broad range of disorders, but the common characteristic is that they all affect the affected person’s personality, thought processes or social interactions. 

Types of mental health problems

There are various types of mental health problems and professionals have provided the following broad categories:

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

This is characterized by an inability to remain focused on task, impulsive behavior, and excessive activity or an inability to sit still. Although this disorder is most commonly diagnosed in children, it can occur in adults as well.

Anxiety/Panic Disorder

This is defined by intermittent and repeated attacks of intense fear of something bad happening or a sense of impending doom.

Bipolar Disorder

This causes a periodic cycling of emotional states between manic and depressive phases. Manic phases contain periods of extreme activity and heightened emotions, whereas depressive phases are characterized by lethargy and sadness. The cycles do not tend to occur instantly.

Depression

This covers a wide range of conditions, typically defined by a persistent bad mood and lack of interest in pursuing daily life, as well as bouts of lethargy and fatigue. Dysthymia is a milder but longer-lasting form of depression.

Schizophrenia

This is not, as commonly thought, solely about hearing voices or having multiple personalities. Instead, it is defined by a lack of ability to distinguish reality. Schizophrenia can cause paranoia and belief in elaborate conspiracies.

Rory Brosius is a social worker and the deputy director of Joining Forces, an initiative launched in 2011 by  Michelle Obama and Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden of the United States, to help military personnel transition to civilian life.

Mrs Brosius who is also a social worker that has met with a lot of people experiencing depression said of the symptoms and signs:

“The key part is educating people on these five signs: personality change, withdrawal, agitation, poor self-care, and hopelessness. They’re signs somebody may be suffering. If you see them, you can reach out and help them.”

It is tempting to take online tests to ascertain mental health, but nothing beats a professional when you need proper diagnosis.

According to Psychguides: ONLY a face-to-face session with a qualified mental health professional can begin to diagnose a mental health disorder with any degree of accuracy, because that professional has an outside viewpoint and can pick up on subtle cues.

Lastly, it is important that you only take drugs prescribed by a professional and consider side effects before choosing a particular treatment option.

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