Mental illness is a wide term that is used to describe a wide range of disorders affecting the brain which result in abnormal behaviour and thought processes in affected individuals. Recent evidence and research has shed a lot of light and our understanding has shifted from the idea that spirituality and mysticism was responsible for mental illnesses. We now know that the underlying cause for most of these is abnormal transmission of chemical transmitters such as dopamine and serotonin. Common mental illnesses can be treated easily with medication but others which are more serious require more intensive treatment.
The mental health of an individual refers to their state of mind and emotional well being (or an absence of a mental disorder). Mental health may include an individual's ability to enjoy life and obtain a balance between life activities.
A person suffering from psychosis looses touch with reality; it is a severe disturbance of a person’s personality and results in abnormal behaviour. The individual may suffer from delusions (where the person has a fixed belief that is false, this belief persists even when the individual has evidence that the belief is not true), hallucinations (where the individual hears, sees, feels smells or tastes something that is not there), paranoia (they may have unrealistic beliefs that people have personal vendettas against them), strange and disorganised thoughts, and difficulty speaking clearly. They may experience difficulty with social interaction and impairment in carrying out the activities of daily living. Psychosis prevents and affects rational thought. When an individual is displaying any of these symptoms, they are said to be having a psychotic episode. For some people these episodes may develop quickly, for others it may progress slowly. A psychotic episode can also be linked to mental diseases such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
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