The link between substance abuse and mental illness

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Drugs and alcohol can cause profound mental health problems, as well as increase the severity of pre-existing mental illness symptoms. According to the National Institute of Mental Illness, drug abuse can bring about symptoms of other mental illnesses, as well as increase the risk of psychosis. On the flip side, mental illness can lead to drug abuse, usually as a means of self-medication.

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Suicide: a permanent solution to a temporary problem

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Suicide rates are harder to gauge because the media usually doesn’t report suicides due to stigma. Another aspect of why suicide statistics are skewed is largely due to the media portraying most of the gun violence in the country as being homicidal, as opposed to suicidal. When suicides are underreported, the urgency of finding a solution to the problem is diluted. Some studies suggest that the underreporting of suicides is also due to social or religious values. Continue reading

Preventing suicide contagion by changing how suicide is reported

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Evidence shows that reporting suicides on national television could have a negative effect on viewers who might be at risk of wanting to end their lives. Acknowledging the old adage, “It’s not what you say, but how you say it” is extremely important to keep in mind when communicating tragic events to the public, especially when there is a growing global concern about mental health. Continue reading

The details and treatment of ADHD

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Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is a behavioral condition experienced by many different types of people that causes hyperactivity, inattention and impulsivity. Due to the symptoms caused by ADHD, everyday routines and responsibilities are often more difficult than normal.

Some theorists hold that there lies a significant difference between childhood ADHD and adulthood ADHD. Most medical professionals would agree that ADHD always begins in childhood and progresses into adulthood. (Jacobs; Wendel 2014) In general, the symptoms that are prominent during childhood can gradually intensify into adulthood. However, there are exceptions to this research, as it’s important to consider the variations of maturity that can strengthen as a child grows, with or without ADHD. Continue reading

Technology and its effect on mental health

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New visual media such as iPads, smartphones, laptops, X-box and computers have become social norms of the millennium. These technological instruments play a huge role in communication, social engagement, organization, planning work and personal goals; they are also gaining a reputation as a source of addiction, as well as a reflection of mental health and emotion. Continue reading

OCD and the role of neurotransmitters

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Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by the presence of unreasonable thoughts and/or fears that manifest as obsessions, compulsions or both. People who have OCD usually don’t recognize the irrationality of their obsessions. There is an apparent challenge in diagnosing OCD due to the symptoms being very similar to other mental health disorders. Diagnosis is also a challenge because of the disorder’s comorbidity with other mental health issues; for example, obsessive and compulsive thoughts and actions could also be a symptom of an anxiety disorder, depression, schizophrenia or another mental illness. Continue reading

The mental and emotional toll of narcissistic personality disorder

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According to studies done at the Laboratory of Epidemiology and Biometry and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the lifetime rate of narcissistic personality disorder was 6.2 percent, with rates greater for men than for women. NPD was significantly more prevalent among black men and women, Hispanic women, younger adults and separated divorced or widowed adults. NPD is also associated with substance use, mood and anxiety disorders. Continue reading

The how and why of self-harm and how to get help

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Self-harm is a direct and deliberate, non-verbal expression of emotions accomplished through physically harming oneself. The most common form of self-harm is cutting on one’s arms, legs, and other parts of the body. However, there is a spectrum of various self-harm behaviors that range from mild to risky to fatal. Self-harm will also commonly involve addictions like drug abuse, alcoholism, eating disorders and compulsive gambling. Continuous self-harming behaviors can lead to a person’s downfall if not treated. Continue reading

Why stroke survivors are at higher risk of attempting suicide

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Studies have shown that stroke victims are at a higher risk of taking their own lives, compared to people who haven’t suffered a stroke. (MNT 2015) A stroke occurs when the blood flow that is supplied to the brain suddenly stops. There are two different types of stroke: the ischemic stroke and the hemorrhagic stroke. An ischemic stroke is caused by a blood clot that blocks the flow of blood in a blood vessel. A hemorrhagic stroke is caused by a broken blood vessel that bleeds into the brain. There are also ‘mini-strokes’ that are called transient ischemic attacks, when blood supply to the brain is interrupted briefly. Continue reading

Loneliness as a public health concern

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“Solitude expresses the value of being alone, while loneliness expresses the pain of being alone.”-Tillich 1959

There are many factors that can affect why somebody gets the feeling of being lonely. Sometimes it could just be due to a slow week of socializing, other times it might be due to rejection or lack of a significant other. Somebody could be in a crowded room full of people and still feel lonely. Everyone feels lonely at some point or another but when loneliness turns into continuous social isolation, there is a need for concern. Continue reading