The Basis of Prevention and Treatment of Mental Illness & Disorders

If we accept the mental and emotional disorders, the general trend of prevention and therapy is immediately obvious. If mental illnesses are the result of learned reactions, gradually acquired, therapy becomes a process of re-education, during which the patient unlearn old unhealthy emotional and mental habits and acquires new and more efficient methods. This is a general principle that underlies all the modern therapeutic procedures; however varied these appear to be on casual inspection.

Freudian psychoanalysis consists primarily of the conscious recall and emotional reenacting of the infantile repressed memories, which are reinterpreted during the analytic procedure essentially a re-educational process. Adler's attempt to redirect the patient to a better or more socially acceptable goal than that which had been acquired through previous maladjustment is likewise an educational procedure.

Those who practice suggestion, persuasion, and similar methods are doing the same thing on a more superior level. Even the rest cures, sea voyages, and changes of occupation so often recommended probably owe their effectiveness to the new perspectives acquired by the patients as the result of removal from old associations and activities.

All such methods have been found to be surprisingly effective, which seems, in a purely empiric fashion, to substantiate the belief that mental illnesses are psychological phenomena, the result of experience and interpretations of experience; and that cure consists in a reinterpretation in one manner or another. Likewise, prevention will be logically directed against environmental factors which tend to produce or exaggerate unhealthy adaptation and towards the correction of such reactions before they have become such an ingrained part of the individual's equipment that he will use them in serious matters and will fail to develop others.

Most emotional maladjustment have their basis in experience cones of childhood, experiences which occurs before the individual has the power to control the forces that play upon him and before he has learned to judge his reactions to these forces. By the time the age of discretion is reached, most persons have developed certain emotional habits which are unhealthy. But this is nothing to worry about unless the number of these habits is sufficiently great or their use sufficient frequently to interfere with happiness and efficiency.

Occidentally one needs the advice of a physician trained in the field of psychiatry to correct unhealthy emotional habits. But more commonly one is able to work out one's own solution, especially if one understands the types of problems and the mechanisms involved. On the other hand, even the “average person,” fairly well-adjusted to life, in whom there is no long-standing or deeply separated conflicts, may, by the neglect of a few relatively simple and self-evident principals, tangle his emotional life to the extent of completely incapacitating itself for happiness. It is not within the scope of this book to discuss these principles at length; but although they appear dogmatic when stated briefly and without modification, a few of them will be set down, in the expectation that the reader will realize their importance and supply for himself the necessary modification and enlargement.

Emotional difficulties are not likely to become serious in a person who is thoroughly conscious of what he wants from life and is willing to face the difficulties involved in getting it. This makes knowledge of the facts about one's self a fundamental necessity. One must accept one's physical and intellectual handicaps in order to plan a satisfactory life inside these limitations. There are thousands of people suffering from hopeless frustration because they set a goal for them which is beyond their abilities.

Freedom consists of two things; to know each one his limitations that is the same thing as to know one's self and to accept one's self as one is, without fear, or envy or distaste; and to recognize and accept the conditions under which one lives, also without fear, or envy or distaste when you do this you will be free.

On the other hand, it is equally dangerous to use one's handicaps as an excuse for not trying some useful and satisfactory work. Everyone has his abilities as well as his limitations. These assets he should take stock of so as to direct his efforts along lines in which he may expect the greatest degree of accomplishment and personal satisfaction.

These facts about oneself include more than one's physical and intellectual endowments. Emotional attitudes, desires, and aspirations are equally a part of one's equipment. They must be recognized and given their proper weight. Satisfaction of emotional needs is a primary necessity for mental health, but such satisfaction requires evaluation, planning, and control. This means a plan of life in which the deepest emotional needs of the individual are given the greatest attention and in which every precaution is taken against their frustration.

The plan must make room also for lesser desires which, although subordinated to the major aims, will be given adequate expression. In general, these requirements are best met by the one who, in addition to his chief work, cultivates a taste for the arts, develops hobbies, enjoys friendships and play, and takes an interest in public affairs or other matters beyond the sphere of mere personal concern.

Poise is one of the most adapted personal characteristics of young and old. It suggests easy self-assurance without conceit. The cultivation of poise depends primarily upon mastery of one's self, which in turn imposes good mental health. “He that run let himself is greater than he that takes that city.”

The attainment of happiness, with all that implications, is the goal towards which most of our efforts in life are directed. Yet all too frequently we follow false beacons along life's highway leading to this goal.

The modern Chinese philosopher, Lin Yutang, wrote, ” The only problem unconsciously assumed by all Chinese philosophers to be of any importance is: how we can enjoy life, and who can best enjoy life? No perfection, no training after the unattainable, no postulating of the unknowable; but taking poor, mortal human nature as it is, how shall we organize our life that all can work peacefully, endably nobly and live happily ? ”

He answers his own question by saying, ” The ideal character best able to enjoy life is a warm, carefree, unafraid soul.” Most of us by intelligent voluntary effort can develop these qualities.

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How the Mechanisms of Mental Ill-Health Works

The behavior of the mentally ill patient is not qualitatively different from that of healthy persons or from his own behavior before his illness developed. In fact, the behavior and the thinking of the mentally ill are strange only because they are exaggerated or in particular to particular situations. Moreover, when the history of a mental patient is carefully studied, it is found that his illness is the logical and inevitable outgrowth of his experiences and his interpretation of those experiences.

The illness then presents itself as the only way left for that particular individual to solve the problems which have arisen as the result of his interpretation of and reaction to his experiences. It is found, moreover, that the solution, that is, his mental illness, is not a new one but is an exaggeration of methods which he has used before and which everyone uses to greater or lesser degree. But because he uses these methods at the expense of more healthy and efficient ones, the patient accumulates dissatisfaction and poor equipment for handling this dissatisfaction.

This may be illustrated by the example of the chronic invalid who avoids uncomfortable duties or responsibilities, or acquires attention, by becoming ill. This simple procedure accounts for a large number of the so-called “neurotics” and “psycho-neurotics” who crowd the hospital clinics and the consulting rooms of doctors and who manage, quite unconsciously, to make the lives of their families and friends, as well as their own lives, unhappy.

Avoidance of Unpleasant Situations

A boy, aged ten, wakes one morning with a cold. He is not very sick but is kept in bed as a precautionary measure. During the course of the morning his condition improvements. His mother lets him get up and play about the house and entertains him with stories and games. He is not in the habit of getting so much attention and he enjoys it. He particularly enjoys it at this time because he has been having difficulty at school. He is slightly nearsighted, but this defect has not been noticed. It makes it difficult for him to see what is written on the board.

For this and various other trivial reasons he is behind in his school work. He does not try hard to catch up because he feels hopeless about it. He makes small troubles in the classroom instead. The teacher does not like him, or at least he thinks that she does not, which amounts to the same thing.

After being out a day or so with his cold, he returns to the classroom even farther behind than he was. He is punished for inattention and making a nuisance of himself. Things go from bad to worse. Even on the playground he can find no satisfaction. He is small for his age; he has never acquired skill in the games that other boys play. He feels his inadequacy and allows himself to be bullied because he has not enough self-confidence to “stick up for his rights.” Things go on like this for a week or two, getting steadily worse. Finally matters are about to reach a climax.

His teacher has given him a note to his mother about his bad conduct. The boy has destroyed the note. There is a new bully on the playground who promises to “beat him up” the next time he catches him. He manages to elude the bully on his way home that afternoon; he stays safely in his own backyard. But the next morning he no sooner wakes than he realizes the disagreeable situation. He dreads going to school and wishes he could stay at home. He remembers the last time he stayed at home; he was sick that time.

He asks himself if he is sick now. By the time he gets to breakfast he is really feeling unwell. He complains to his mother. He is not malingering, because by this time he really feels uneasy in his stomach. Remembering his illness of the week before, his mother is a little worried. She allows him to remain at home, intending to take him to see the doctor. But the boy has discovered a way of getting out of unpleasant things. It is not a good way, and he gains nothing in the long run; in fact, he only makes matters worse. If the situation remains the same, he will get sick again and again until he becomes a chronic invalid.

But suppose his parents realize what he is doing and set about changing things in a rational way. His eye defect is correctable; he could have given special tutoring to catch up with his class or if necessary, changed to another school where he could make a new start. His satisfaction in play could have improved if he were sent to a camp in the summer or were given instruction in sports. It usually is easy to correct the habit at this stage.

On the other hand, if this boy continues to be sick, he will keep on becoming sick in more critical situations all of his life, and when he gets to be an adult he will do it in the face of important situations. In this case he will become a chronic invalid and be diagnosed by one physician after another as a neurotic, a psycho-neurotic, or a hysteric.

Parental Domination

Adolescence gives rise to an increasing urge for independence and personal responsibility on the part of all normal children. Parents should prepare themselves and their children for this by the development of an attitude of mutual kindness and respect. If this is not done, as occurs all too frequently, conflicts arise as a result of the efforts of parents to continue their domination and the struggle of their children for independence.

When this occurs, warping of the child's personality is likely to result either rebellion or submission is unfortunate. Rebellion, without self-discipline and training in the assumption of responsibility, may lead to serious antisocial acts, while sub ~ mission, which continues during adolescence at childhood levels of dependence, may handicap the individual through his or her whole life.

Day dreaming

It is out of dreams of better things that ambition, inventions, scientific discoveries, and social movements are born. He who does not “dream dreams” is dull and unimaginative. Yet day dreaming may come to be a source of emotional satisfaction and a substitution for real accomplishment. It is easier to achieve success and to escape unpleasant situations in a world of make-believe than in a world of reality. For this reason excessive daydreaming is likely to interfere with one's normal development.

Most persons daydream occasionally; some daydream excessively; and a few, which we know as patients with dementia praecox, live continuously in a world of fantasy. The solution for the daydreamer is to turn his dreams into reality and to seek opportunities for satisfaction in achievement.

Inferiority Complex

Every intelligent person experiences feelings of inferiority at certain times and in certain situations. Such feelings are not abnormal and need not be disturbing. No one can excel in everything and few reach the limit of their aspirations in anything.

If one has handicaps or limitations, they should be recognized and considered in relation to one's abilities and capacities. On the basis of such an assessment one should turn his energies into those fields in which he has the greatest chance of achieving success and satisfaction.

Superiority Complex

It is just as natural for one to feel superior in certain situations as it is to feel inferior in others. Some people feel and act superior because of wealth, good looks, athletic skill, etc. This usually leads to unpopularity and to unhealthy mental and emotional state.

Many persons who seem to exhibit a superior attitude are really overcompensating for feelings of inferiority. The man who daily work makes him feel inferior and the woman who is unsuccessful in her social contacts are apt to be tyrants with their families. A ruthless judge on the bench may be a “worm” at home.

No one is perfect. Everyone has his good points as well as his faults. Over attention to either is undesirable. In order to be in a contented and healthy state of mind one must accept oneself as one is, make the most of one's capabilities and opportunities, and not be too discouraged with achievements which fall below one's aspirations ..

Worry is an ineffectual expenditure of time and nervous energy upon uncertainties or upon situations beyond one's control. For the most part worry is confused and disorganized thinking, which interferes with both accomplishment and peace of mind. To avoid this common weakness, one must make decisions upon the best available information and be content with such decisions. At times additional information is needed before an intelligent decision can be made. In such instances the problem should be put out of mind until the necessary information has been obtained and a decision is possible. Otherwise indecision and procrastination lead to delay, confusion, and worry.

Worry over mistakes that one has made, uncertainties ahead, or situations beyond one's control obviously can be of no avail. Yet such worry is difficult to avoid. Concentration upon one's work or one's hobbies and participation in sports, particularly if this involves physical exercise, will help to replace worry with organized thinking and activity.

Refusal to face difficulties or unsuccessful situations gives rise to emotional conflict and worry. Discussion of one's problems with an understanding physician or friend frequently provides relief from their burdens and may lead to a solution. To many religion or philosophy serves as a stabilizer and as an anchor in the storms of emotional conflict.

Psychoneuroses some persons, young and old, facing insecurity, failure, unpleasant tasks, or embarrassment find an acceptable escape through illness. This is usually entirely subconscious. Therefore, the patient is dissatisfied when his physician says that there is “nothing organically wrong with him.” His pain is just as real to him as though it was caused by organic disease, and if his physician does not discover its cause and recommend appropriate treatment, he is likely to drift into the hands of anyone who promises to help him.

The symptoms which may accompany the psychoneuroses are legion headaches, abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, blurring of vision, paralysis, etc. Careful investigation of such a patient's symptoms, worries, and anxieties may reveal the basic cause of the trouble, although the services of a psychiatrist are frequently necessary for both diagnosis and treatment.

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Extreme Mood Episodes of Bipolar Disorder Incite Addiction

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes erratic and abrupt shifts in mood, energy and behavior that impede the ability to perform day-to-day tasks. Individuals with bipolar disorder experience changes in moods that vacillate between extreme mania and severe depression.

Here, a person with this condition may often display behaviors that are poles apart, sometimes appearing upbeat and zealous and at times experiencing periods of depression, worthlessness, restlessness and loneliness. Many experts believe that this unique trait could increase the risk of developing an addiction.

There is sufficient evidence to support the fact that those with the above condition are likely to take illicstances, such as alcohol or drugs, in an effort to self-medicate to get relief from their persistent symptoms.

In fact, it is estimated that more than half of the population with bipolar disorder also lives with some form of addiction. According to many studies, addictive substances assist in alleviating the lows and enhancing the highs in people suffering from bipolar disorder.

Unfortunately, self-medicating with illicit substances yields only temporary relief and in truth, it only alters the brain chemistry in ways that can worsen the condition. As a result, there is an increased risk of developing co-occurring disorders that require dual diagnosis treatment.

Innate nature of bipolar disorder increases chances of drug use

It is a well-known fact that individuals who experience dramatic changes in mood and emotions are more susceptible to abusing substances, such as marijuana, downers, alcohol and opiates, to keep their mental burden at bay. Studies have shown that the characteristics of both bipolar disorder and addiction are common as they include both manic and depressive symptoms. Individuals with bipolar disorder tend to take such substances in excess.

In reality, many individuals who may be experiencing the symptoms of depression and mania may not be aware of that they are living with an illness which could be difficult to diagnose. Such individuals, like those suffering from bipolar disorder, are also likely to turn to substances due to the perceived reason that they help in escaping both despair and extreme mania.

Over time, as the addiction to substances becomes part of the behavior and reward-seeking feelings intensify, bipolar patients continue to abuse substances to experience the feel-good psychoactive effects while ignoring the toll it takes on their body and mind. This is also the main contributing factor behind the spike in dual diagnosis cases.

Although the diagnosis and treatment of co-occurring diseases, such as physical disorders and mental disorders, takes longer due to numerous complications, dual diagnosis treatment has evolved to a point wherein most addiction treatment facilities are more than equipped to handle such cases.

Until the turn of the last century, most doctors believed that the two conditions are mutually exclusive and need to be treated separately. However, most rehab facilities have infrastructure and staff that are adept at handling cases of dual diagnosis, such as addiction and bipolar disorder, by treating both the conditions at the same time.

This not only reduces the risk of a relapse but also ensures holistic treatment that typically improves the symptoms of both the disorders. This leads to the improvement in the rates of recovery.

Help is at hand

An individual with dual diagnosis usually experiences more trauma and challenges than those diagnosed with just one condition, depending on the severity of the condition. However, treatment for dual diagnosis cases, such as bipolar disorder and addiction, can greatly improve the mental and physical condition of an individual. By undergoing an effective treatment, one will be able to maneuver his or her life in the right direction, perform daily tasks, and maintain healthy relationships at home, school or work.

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Is It A Surprise That So Many People Have Mental And Emotional Problems?

Whenever I have looked through a paper or a news website over the years, I have often come across news stories that go into how so many people are suffering mentally and emotionally. What often comes up is that these people's lives are being derailed by anxiety, depression and / or suicidal feelings.

After I hear about things like this, I am rarely shocked by what I here. One of the reasons for this is that I think society is dysfunctional, which is why I think that it is more of a surprise if someone has not gotten mental and emotional problems than it is if someone has.

A Number of Factors

What plays a big part in what someone's mental and emotional is like as an adult is what their early years were like. If this was a time when they were aborted and / or neglected, it could be normal for them to suffer as an adult.

The trouble is that even if this was a time when they did not get what they needed to grow and develop in the right way, it does not mean that they will actually realize this. They might have created all kinds of defences, defences that would have been created to allow them to survive their early years.

The Symptoms

Through having a less-than nurturing childhood, they can end up with a number of different issues. With this in mind, if they were to look into why they are depressed and / or suffer from anxiety, for instance, they may find that these are the effects of what happened when they were growing up.

To look deeper and to find out what is going on, and then to deal with the cause, would be the ideal. But, out of their need to avoid pain and through having the need to stay loyal to their parents (and to protect them), they can end up living on the surface of themselves.

The Cause

As a result of this, they can come to the conclusion that the reason they feel this way is due to a 'chemical imbalance'. Now, they may have an imbalance within them, but this is illegally to be something that just happened.

There is going to be a reason why their brain is not working in the right way, and it could have due to the trauma that they experienced early on. Yet, in the same way that their time in the education system most likely will not have allowed them to develop self-awareness and self-knowledge, they are unquestionably to be given the guidance that they need if they were to see their Doctor.

Another Part

Not only would those early years have affected their brain, these years would have also had an impact on their gut. And while the mind is often seen as the most important area when it comes to mental health, it is actually the stomach that plays a bigger role.

If this part of their body is not in a good way, it is going to be incredibly difficult for them to function at their best. What this also means is that even if someone's early years were not abusive, they could destroy their mental and emotional health through having a bad diet.

It's Terrible

One of the things that ruin the gut microbes is sugar, and so much of what is ateen in today's world is full of sugar. Ultimately, a poor diet leads to poor mental and emotional health; it's as simple as that.

Along with the diet, what is also going to make it harder for someone to function is if they do not have close connections with others. Speaking to people online, for example, can not replace real relationships.

One Step Back

If someone had a dysfunctional childhood, it can mean that they did not get the guidance that they needed to be able to develop connections with others. In fact, what could feel safer is to keep people at a distance.

Naturally, this is going to cause them to suffer; not only will they find it hard to regulate their own emotions (system), but they will rarely have anyone around them who will be able to help them to do this. However, while someone can experience life in this way due to having a rough childhood, they could have lots of people in their life.

A Mask

They are then going to spend a lot of time around others, but this does not mean that they will fully show up. Instead, they can be someone who generally covers up how they feel, which will mean that these people will not know what is really going on for them.

Due to what happened in the beginning of their life, they are likely to feel as though there is something inherently wrong with them. This is then why they need to put on an act and to hide their true-self.

Final Thoughts

Sometimes this is why so many people suffer in silence even though they are surrounded by family and friends. So, as child abuse is so common, the education system rarely allows people to understand them (it usually does the opposite), a lot of the food today is poor, technology often replaces real relationshipships, and so much of the modern day world is about escapism, I would say that it would be a real shock for mental and emotional problems to be the exception as opposed to the rule.

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Why Depression Is a Physical Condition, Not A Mental One

Everyone has days when things do not feel right and a mood strikes them. Some get over it rather well while others have it drag on for hours, days, or even weeks. Sometimes they seek help from a doctor and drugs are prescribed. They may help in the short-term but the problem remains. Sometimes it gets to be so bad that stronger drugs and other things are required. For some they may choose to end their lives.

As a spiritual person with a link to the Spirit of the Universe in my experience everyone has the same connection. We are puppets on strings in God's plan and we are pushed along to serve in ways we have never expected. Some break the string and become rebellious to it and they wander in disillusionment and depression as a result.

It's the disillusions that they generate or take part in that are the biggest causes of depression. They can be drugs; alcohol; acting; writing; and any form of fiction. They can also be the false gods of religions that people pray to without answers. To force them to continue to believe they are threatened with hell and that creates another form.

Without the spiritual connection we walk on paths that lead to a state of anxiety. We head into the wilderness of worldly lies and money. Peace escapes us and accidents, diseases, and loss beset us. This is what the community of manfinders prefers to the peaceful knowing and acceptance of the Great Spirit.

Heaven and hell are fake. They are the weapons of power and are used as whipping sticks to drive people into congregations and belief systems that is against their grain. That is especially true if they have a connection in place. They feel empty inside, even dark or black. They want to escape but the threat of eternal punishment is the guard on the door.

My reincarnation is proof that everyone has reincarnated, as told in the Old Testament (Job 5: 19-21 and Isaiah 26:19). In Job we are told we have reincarnated six times. Isaiah reminds us that at the end of days we will all be in our bodies for judgment.

Those who have broken the string are still used by God to complete the plan. The difference is they no longer hear the little voice within telling them what to do. Because they feel lost they have no comfort within themselves and they try desperately to 'fill the gap'. When they can not reconnect the body reacts and depression and mood swings set in. That is why the condition is a physical one and not a mental dysfunction. Drugs will not help it either.

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Five Steps Leaders Might Take to Keep Groups That Focus on “Psychosis” Inclusive

I believe with fervor that having survivor-led mad group therapy available to the public can greatly reduce the suffering that people who experience “psychosis,” or what I prefer to call special message crisis, go through. Over the last nine years I have been leading mad-focused groups in multi-cultural settings mostly in, but sometimes outside, the system. I have found not only that they can be run safely, but that they can have the power to transform lives. However, I do feel motivated to assert that when it comes to kicking people out of group to maintain group equilibrium and safety that I believe there are five steps leaders need to be prepared to make first.

First, I believe that leaders need to accept the way people show up, prepared to intuit all varieties of presentations or manifestations. Perhaps group members may feel like they are being confused by others in the group via illusions that function as ideas of reference, or even controlled by them. They may code up their language for protection. They may treat the leader as if the leader can hear the same voices that they hear, or as they know the leaders' reincarnated soul. They may not believe that the leader has experienced what they have (and indeed they may be right.) Some may dominate the discussion or purposely try to take over the group. Because all of this can be challenging to safety I have learned that it helps when the leader is intuitively prepared for any and everything. I myself have prepared myself for these challenges by trying to better define what “psychosis” is. I have reconstructed a definition that can sync up a wide variety of what has historically been defined as conditions. And I try to be forever curious as there are always new things to learn. Indeed, if the leader is not prepared to intuit and accept all presentations, people will not feel safe talking about their experiences. I believe that intolerance for people who show up in a different or what is perceived as a difficult manner can be extremely hurtful to the group.

Second, I believe that leaders need to work to train the group to be brave and tolerant of each other. I frame coming together with the specific purpose of sharing untold stories to be an oft neglected privilege that has unfortunately been denied because the “they” experts say it is not safe. I am always willing to start out with my own story and I advocate for a spirit of risk-taking / sharing by acknowledging that people in “psychosis” or special message crisis may be so used to dangerous or disturbing experiences that guarantee safety would be a disservice. I also might point out that despite what they say, this is a practice that has been an effective movement in different countries and that I have done for a long time without too many problems. In other words, treating the “set of symptoms” as a neglected culture that is subjugated works. Moreover, I have found educating the group about the reconstructed definition of “psychosis,” or messages crisis, has set the group focused on the things they have in common with each other, particularly in the early stages of group development. Strongly supporting alienated individuals also helps train the group to be more tolerant and can avoid many problems that come up. This can go a long way in discouraging the group from expecting a “trouble maker” to get kicked out.

Third, because there is a high degree of diversity in the mad community, I believe the leader needs to be extremely sensitive to all forms of culture, particularly relating to relevant issues of subjugation. Remaining open to all people who show up without cultural bias is particularly important to when a person shows up in a difficult manner. Knowing how the behavior fits into cultural issues can be key to addressing it. Race, class, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, education, legal justice, substance abuse, immigration, gang affiliation, disability, regional conflicts, employment history, social adeptness and many other social factors or potential for cultural conflicts. It is wrong, I believe, to exclude someone because they are bothered by these kinds of social factors. Although they may not all show up immediately, a leader needs to be prepared to accept, learn and support everyone. Again, a person who is not accepted on the basis of something that the leader is ignorant about or is not curious to explore, may do harm.

Fourth, I believe that leaders need to be prepared to make time to meet with individuals outside of group to learn more about why they might be trying to hurt the group. If they are doing this intentionally, they may in fact be expressing a need to connect with you. Perhaps, they are experiencing messages that are extremely misunderstood or there is a cultural issue with you that they need to talk with you about. I have learned that getting to know peoples' messages in deeper ways can really help in managing problems that might otherwise come up in group. But when the group is truly becoming unsafe for participants, which is rare, special meetings need to be called for and the leader needs to work on better understanding the problems that come up in group and clear up the cultural issues. Perhaps, an outside the group meeting might involve two individuals at times when there is conflicts. On the one occasion I neglected to do this in a pro-bono group, I lost a lot of group members.

Fifth, finally, if taking the time for a meeting or two does not improve the behavior, the leader can attempt to make a targeted-and-specific, cultural-sensitive behavior contract to protect the group. In my opinion, this is best utilized in real emergency circumstances and needs to be devoid of the leader's cultural biases to the best of their ability. This is also something that requires the participant's participation in which the problem can be identified and an agreed upon solution can be proposed. At the very least the contract needs to be something the participant can buy into. When the participant takes the power to get involved, consequences can involve sitting some groups out, or being referred to individual therapist if they are unable to make a change in behavior. I'd suggest that if the participant takes steps outside the group to improve themselves the leader can be in communication with them, pining for their return.

It is true that many people who suffer from “psychosis” or message crisis also have complex histories and trauma and other co-occurring problems (like addiction and nuero-diversity.) I do believe that these kinds of complex issues which challenge safety can be addressed within a group process. I have seen them addressed even by survivors who visit programs rather than work in them.

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Mental Health, Medication & the Power of Talk (Part 3)

Understanding Your Choices … is the key to finding solutions

Despite the fact that there are numerous mental health professionals today, these people are still failing to get the care that they need. This situation is large a result of failing to properly educate the public. ”

So many of us are walking around with mental-emotional problems today and we are not receiving the care we need and deserve. In some cases, it is a matter of being unaware that there is a problem. These individuals may have been depressed or anxious for so long that they have come to believe that their feelings of sadness or fear are natural. They may actually believe that happiness and feelings of comfortable safety are fantasy states that exist only in books of fiction. Unaware of how their depression or anxiety can negatively impact potential relationships with others, they may view their feelings of loneliness as normal.

In most cases, however, people are aware that they have mental-emotional concerns. Yet, despite the fact that there are numerous mental health professionals today, these people are still failing to get the care that they need. This situation is largely a result of failing to properly educate the public.

Early in the 20th century, governments found they could influence health behavior with public service announcements (PSA). Over the ensuing decades, citizens have learned that good physical health lays in getting vaccinations, mammograms and brushing teeth regularly. The focus of these events has, however, traditionally been upon physical ailments and physical treatments. Even when addressing problems that are psychological in origin, such as alcohol or tobacco dependence, PSAs focused on the social or physical health consequences and solutions. It is only in the last decade or so that psychological issues are being introduced to and discussed with the public as psychological issues.

Unfortunately, the entrance of the pharmaceutical industry into the “information” industry provides the public with a very one-sided approach to health care. Given that their business is selling drugs, it is understandable that they are creating commercials telling the public that some new drug will solve all of their problems. “Are you depressed? Well, do we have a great new drug for you!” “Want to quit smoking? Ask your physician about our drug.” This last makes tremendous sense … substituting one drug dependency for another. Not!

Failure to educate the public is not restricted to the government or pharmaceutical industry. The media tend to use the terms “psychologist” and “psychiatrist” interchangeably. If you were to ask the average person, they'd tell you that they are the same. Most people are unaware that a psychotherapist is someone who has undergone intensive education in dealing with mental-emotional problems. A psychotherapist's approach is talk therapy and, if medication is called for, it typically plays a supplementary role to psychotherapy. A psychiatrist, on the other hand, is someone who spends an intensive period of time becoming a physician. A psychiatrist's approach is to manager drugs. Talk therapy, if used, mostly focuses on insuring compliance with the drug treatment.

If the mis-education of the public was not necessarily problematic, healthcare insurance companies have been doing their best to make their contribution. Health insurance has typically failed to cover mental health. Although there are signs that this might be changing, it is still far easier to get drugs to treat the symptoms of your depression than it is to see someone who can actually help resolve the underlying problem rather than the symptoms. The message sent is that there is no cure. The only viable option is a lifetime of drug treatment.

If society wants to seriously address the increasing amount of mental-emotional health problems, the public will need to be properly educated and access to effective mental healthcare will need to be improved.

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How Can You Be A Mentally Healthy Human Being?

When you go to an ignorant psychologist he / she makes you many questions in order to understand your problems. Then he gives you advice based on his knowledge and the knowledge of the historical time you belong.

When you translate the meaning of your dreams according to the scientific method of dream interpretation you understand God's words.

God gives you answers and explanations to help you understand your problems, your behavior, and the harmful influence of your satanic anti-conscience. You learn how to combat the absurdity it imposes to your conscience.

Your anti-conscience tries to make you individually accept its absurd and evil thoughts with the intent to destroy your capacity to think logically and permanently control your mind and your behavior.

God helps you recognize your anti-conscience's absurd thoughts and refuse to follow them.

You must be more than grateful because you have this information today. Your poor elderlyors were blind victims of their anti-conscience. They could not do anything against an invisible and powerful enemy that was ruining their lives and destroying their consciences because they ignored its existence.

You can develop your conscience and become a sensitive genius because today you can see your enemy and protect your conscience even before being attacked. God gives you the information you need in your dreams.

You can become an admirable human being and save humanity thanks to your work and your example.

You can make important discoveries and become an inventor. You can become an artist, a philosopher, and a spiritual guide. You can develop all your capacities and hidden talents.

So, why should you be a mentally ill and unhappy creature who is always afraid of everything?

You must prefer to avoid the tragic destiny of your ancestry and become a brilliant human being, without having any psychological problem. This is how you will be in a superior position in life.

You can predict the future and understand exactly what to do thanks to God's guidance in your dreams. This is a big privilege, even though you will probably dislike God's guidance in many ways because you are primarily a lazy and absurd individual.

God will make you work. You will have to correct your behavior and learn how to think and act based on goodness and wisdom.

However, this change is very good for you.

You have to pass through a deep process of transformation in order to eliminate your evil self and become the extraordinary human being you can be.

God is an excellent doctor. You can trust His guidance in your dreams, while you can not trust your own judgment, since you are influenced or controlled by your anti-conscience.

You are the absurd patient who must learn how to think logically. Your reasoning system must be organized based on God's justice. Your moral sense is more important than your ideas.

You can learn how to translate the meaning of your dreams according to the scientific method of dream interpretation yourself. I simplified Carl Jung's method of dream interpretation so much that everyone can understand it and use it into practice without wasting time.

God shows you in your dreams how you must think and have in order to be a mentally healthy human being.

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The Mental Health Industry Needs to Overcome Stigma

Back when I was just a Yuppie, I learned a few points of wisdom about working through stigma. I needed mentors to help teach me how wrong stigma is. Now, I want to pay forward some of what I learned outside the class room to some mental health academies and administrators who may not have gotten the same lesson.

I was learning to chop cheese steaks at a Korean owned deli and instantly enamored with this mentor on the grill, Mister Ray Gee. The deli was located just across the river from downtown Philadelphia, in the North Camden ghetto. This Mister Ray and I were just meeting. We were both the same skin-and-bones size, our last names together in rhyme, and any middle aged man who did not have a gut was an inspiration to me.

Mister Ray took one look at me and exclaimed in one breath, “Wow you are like Nervous Norton! But do not worry, it's not your fault!

Without missing a breath, our supervisor, a short and stout man who we called Doc set me to work scrapping grease off the floor with a razor blade. I dove into the work very comfortable with what had just occurred. I felt a little charge with the challenge. On my knees I scraped and scraped to overcompensate.

I immediately found myself thinking about how when I returned to school from four months of incarceration in two different mental health hospitals, I had only scoffed when my peers, the majority of what had previously bullied me, welcomed me back with a little gift certificate. I had reasoned that it was not all that unusual of a gesture for peers at a private Quaker school to extend. I had only been humiliated. I had to acknowledge that it was nervous behavior.

I thought even more about the sessions the family had in Salvador Minuchin's reputable inpatient clinic. One day in session, my Mom openly informed that she shared the content of a session back to a work colleague. My Mom worked at the school I attended. She later wave me evidence that my private information was filtering down to the jury of my peers who were sorry and praying for her. When I returned to school much of this would appear to be confirmed. Worse no therapist on the hospital staff seemed to acknowledge my perspective.

On my knees, I sensed Mister Ray was intuiting aspects of these complexities with his test. If I was willing to pass his test, he was giving me a chance to learn something new.

In the yearbook back at Quaker school, my peers lied about the local commuter school I chose to attend. They said that I went to the high cost prestige of Antioch University in Ohio. I was an honor student and I was making them all look bad when I moved to the ghetto with a twenty-five-year-old girlfriend and save my parents money. Communication in my family about finances is such that I still do not know if I really had a choice.

A few months later, I got my second point of wisdom from Mister Ray. By this time I had learned to use the grill from him. I had heard about his sexual exploits with white girls without judgment. I had aptly proven that outside work I was just a book worm in the library, but could curse. And though it was true that by that time he knew I lived with routes to escape from an abusive relationship, I think what really earned me respect was my willingness to let him con me into driving him uptown after work to cop.

In any case, he decided to help me. He said, “Boy, you have got to work smarter, not harder.” It became a mantra along with his nickname for me, Nervous Norton.

Again, I felt clearly understood. It was not that I protested because I did not expect anything from him. We had fallen into a pattern of respect. With few words and resilience of spirit he inspired a spiritual healing within.

As a man with significant learning disabilities, I could not afford to immediately practice Mister Ray's second lesson. When I would be a graduate and fledgling social worker I would have a habit of positioning myself myself supervisors as I worked my way through a Master's Program and carrying out their will.

This worked fine until I graduated and got hired by a supervisor who also maintained a cocaine habit in a west coast city. I became radicalized and started breaking standard drug war codes of behavior in a section 8 housing project. This caused me to believe that I was being followed. I ended up incarcerated in an old order state hospital. It took two and a half years of poverty, but I eventually would recover. In order to recover I would need to learn how to do things like honor my mother in spite of those perceptions I had back in high school.I would need to accept stigma and find ways to do battle with it.

It was not till six years after I recouped my career that I actually started to use Mister Ray's well remembered advice. I started running groups about surviving “psychosis” using my own experience. I started my own personal practice of keeping in real in therapy.

Perhaps it was unique privilege to be taught points of wisdom by Mister Ray. They continue to help me see through the lies and shortcomings that currently limit our mental health field, evidence based practice and the medical model. I even see through elements of cultural bias in some anti-establishment rhetoric.

Sadly, Ray and Doc had only rented a few seasons before they both quit because of becoming disgruntled with the Korean mobster management and oppression. I certainly did not blame them even though I ended up losing touch. At the Deli, stale cereal sold for seven dollars a box and there were no supermarkets within a ten mile radius. Neighborhood contacts reported that Doc, who had used unacknowledged expertise to diversify the menu, had a consequent binge on crack.

I ended up partnering with a similarly aged cohort from the neighborhood because I did need the money. My partner and I ended up mentoring youth beneath us. They had a choice, I would learn, between working with us under the table, and working to sell crack under the bridge. Some did not have longevity, but several did. For several years they were my family and social life.

Although I am well aware that not all academic and administrative folks need a lecture about mainstream paradigms, now that I am advocating for the development of an out of the box program in an utterly oppressive system, I find many who do. I believe we can train individuals who have experienced “psychosis” and are on the streets to run support groups. I have helped prove this could be done, but not everyone wants to listen.

At work as a psychotherapist in an inner-city program, I do therapy with good Mister Ray people who have more beauty in their hearts and suffering in their bones than me, but who are rendered immobile and impoverished. I believe a lot less harm could be done. I believe solutions exist that can transform the system from being a cotton industry to a soil saving industry of mixed nuts. It's just that no one wants to listen.

I think of Mister Ray's mentor-ship and what it must have been like him to observe an upwardly mobile, eager to work, perfectionist, anorexic white boy and decide in spite of my disgust, to support him. I figure it is something like making friends with a person who defends those stale seven dollar boxes of cereal paradigms that fail people.

I wish I had thought of him when I was thirty-years-old and working under pot smoking teenagers who acted so superior to me. I am not sure I am as good of a man as Mister Ray. But I sure wonder if more people who walk in the hacienda corridors of mental health power learned to have real mentors instead of facts and figures. It may help more of us learn how stigma hurts those poorly paid yuppies among us who benefit from it. Me, I am still just trying to get better every day.

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Study: Behavioral Therapies Work Better Than Opioids in Managing Pain of Mentally Ill

Most people with a mental illness would have lost without their day-to-day medications. Whether it is an antipsychotic drug, a tranquilizer or an antidepressant, the symptoms of most mental illnesses are managed with medications. Apart from the psychological impediments that arise when regions in the brain associated with memory, speech and emotions fail to function in sync or when the neurotransmitters go haywire, most people living with a mental disorder also experience pain on a regular basis.

A recent research highlights that opioid prescriptions are discharged in alarming numbers to those suffering from mental disorders. The researchers suggest that improving pain management for people with mental health problems “is critical to reduce national dependency on opioids.” According to the study titled “Prescription Opioid Use among Adults with Mental Health Disorders in the United States,” adults with some form of mental ailment are receiving more than 50 percent of the 115 million opioid prescriptions given on an annual basis in the United States.

The study findings, published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, also revealed the startling fact that while nearly 19 percent of Americans with a mental health ailment were habituated to prescription painkillers, only 5 percent of those without any mental health condition were on opioids. The study used the nationally representative Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) to examine the relationship mental health ailments, especially anxiety and depression, and prescription opioid use.

Pain is often misunderstood and overprescribed

The nature of pain is not yet understood. The International Association for the Study of Pain defines pain as “an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience, associated with actual or threatened tissue damage, or described in terms of such damage.” In the absence of objective tools to diagnose mental disorders, most doctors have to rely on their own experience and interpretation of an illness as well as patient's self-reported symptoms.

While talking about this anomaly in the sensory perception of pain, especially with respect to those living with poor mental health, Dr. Brian Sites, an anesthesiologist at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire and one of the study researchers, says, “Since (pain is) a subjective phenomenon, it's very difficult to measure those things and treat them because some patients (report) 10 -out-of-10 pain forever. ”

The researchers expected that doctors would practice discretion. But unfortunately most doctors are quite liberal in prescribing opioid medications to the mentally ill. According to Dr. Sites, this is resulting in significant morbidity.

As per Dr. Edwin Salsitz, an attending physician in the division of chemical dependency of Mount Sinai Beth Israel Medical Center in New York, although opioids are primary treatment for pain, mentally ill patients start believing that the drugs alleviate their mental issues. This pushes them into a vicious cycle of addiction and abuse.

Dr. Andrew Saxon, director of the addiction psychiatry reserve program at the University of Washington, is of the opinion that in most instances drugs while providing lasting relief nor improve everyday functioning. They just provide a subject gratification of reduced pain. The situation gets grim as those added to opioids to treat pain develop a co-occurring mental disorder, which further deteriorates their overall health.

Road to recovery

Saxon, who is also the chairman of the American Psychiatric Association's council on addiction, gives more importance to behavioral interventions and alternative therapies than than dependent on opioids. He also suggests that teaching people to understand the root cause of the problem and develop coping skills is more effective in the long run. The study serves as a reminder that it is important to empathize with the person living with a mental health condition instead of washing hands of by prescribing medications. The aim should be to improve patients' overall quality of life rather than putting them at further risk.

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National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month – Show Support

We All Get Lost Sometimes

We all get emotional ups and downs once in a while. However, mental health conditions go beyond temporary emotional reactions and often become something that is here to stay. Such a condition affects the way we conceive ourselves, the way we love or hate, the way we have, and the way we perceive others. There is a variety of complex contributing factors to the cause of this state, such as:

  • heredity
  • stress
  • childhood abuse
  • neglect
  • brain injury
  • loneliness

These can affect people of any age, gender, educational level, and cultural background. Sad enough, minority groups' representatives are less likely to have any access to proper treatment. Understanding the issue in its various forms is the best way to get involved, educate, and create awareness.

Why Counseling Awareness is Important ?

Mental health issues of minor populations are a major concern for health experts in the United States. While each year millions of racial and ethnic groups face this problem, they continue living with the condition and are less likely to go for treatment because of the countless barriers in terms of access to health care. Instead of getting help from medical specialists, they approach practices, for example. Another factor is the fear that they are going to be treated wrong, stereotyped, and discriminated against. This stigma is further aggravated by social oppression. Language barriers can also decrease their motivation to look for help. Poverty not only intensifies existing health conditions, like depression, but also prevails people to look for any kind of help. And above all, due to poor education, they are unaware of how this condition can affect their lives.

Counseling for awareness among victims and pastors is quite needed as most minorities will be more likely to contact a clinician only if advised by a clergy member.

The Purpose of National Minority Mental Health Month :

To highlight the need to promote public awareness and improve access to treatment among culturally and socially sidelined communities, each July we observe National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. Minorities populations have less access to any kind of resources, even if there are available. This month is the perfect opportunity for all types of organizations to create awareness in diverse communities, by hosting a variety of events and activities across the country each year.

Increase Awareness:

Help the minorities receive diagnosis and treatment for their issues. Awareness brings attention to the inequalities and needs of various communities.

Write your own blog post on the subject with up-to-date statistics and facts, including information on where minority representatives can find counseling and help.

Volunteer and help someone out by sharing their story, listening to their feelings, and encouraging them to manage stress.

There are organizations out there that work to create awareness among minority communities. Join any of them and learn how to become an advocate for yourself and your community. Is not that what a “community” is all about?

Host a local screening event. Arrange counseling on treatment options and how to get access to support. Surprise your guests with memorable customized giveaways. Among the literal thousands of promotional items available out there, going with silicone wristbands printed with your own unique message is one of the best choices in view of the stylish and easy customizable nature these products have. These not-only-fashion accessories are ideal for everyday wear and easily available online.

This awareness month, we all work together and build awareness about the importance of mental wellness and effective healthcare. Spread the word!

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From the Spokesperson of God to a Persecuted Individual, the Wide Spectrum of Delusions

Delusions are a common symptom of certain mental disorders. While the exact cause is yet to be ascertained, according to some studies certain genetic and environmental factors play a key role in triggering delusional thinking. Neurochemical imbalances caused when messages are referred between different regions of the brain could precipitate the condition. In addition to brain conditions, traumatic injury, brain tumors and adverse drug reactions could also precipitate a delusion-like state.

Some mental health disorders associated with delusions are:

Bipolar disorder: During the manic phases, it is common for the person to experience delusion. When one is in a depressive phase, they may become paranoid and start imagining things. A person may think that others are trying to take their money.

Schizophrenia: Delusions are common in schizophrenia. The set of false beliefs does not change with time and even interferes with daily activities.

Dementia : A person with dementia has difficulty staying in the present. It is quite possible that they are unable to concentrate, and say and do things that might seem awkward. Many are beset with paranoia, suspicion and delusions. The delusion could cause them to become suspicious of caregivers, children and spouse.

Delusions are responsible for the individual acting in ways that might seem bizarre to all, but the person affected could still believe that he / she is perfectly sane. A person may start believing that he / she is unnecessarily being persecuted by the government. Simple day-to-day activities such as walking in the street could be a challenge as the individual may have the constant sense of being “watched.” Persistent delusions may turn into a delusional disorder.

Types of delusions

The spectrum of delusional thinking that could be exhibited by an individual could range from the grandiose to the nihilistic. While some people with a delusional disorder remain high-functioning individuals, there are others who jumble their thoughts and words, and lack coherence, sensibility and reason.

Delusions are of the following subtypes:

  • Persecutory: One of the most common forms of delusions is persecution when the person believes that he / she is being punished wrongly for their activities. They may also feel that they are being victimized by people kindly and made to suffer a miserable life.
  • Grandiose: A grandiose delusion is one when someone thinks he has inflated powers and knowledge. A person with a grandiose delusion could also think of himself / herself as the reincarnation of a famous person and even start acting as such.
  • Referential: Referential delusion comes into existence when the person thinks that any action or word by another person (usually a famous personality or someone on TV) has a special reference that is understood by them only.
  • Erotomaniac: As the name specifies, this type of delusion is obvious when the person mistakenly believes that someone loves him or her, when it is clearly not the case. While most keep their erotomanic fantasies under cover, some could resort to practices such as stalking, sending emails or gifts, etc.
  • Nihilistic : People with nihilistic delusions think they are invisible or inaudible. Even when someone proves their existence, they refuse to acknowledge it.
  • Somatic: Under this condition, an individual ponders over self-defects and consider it a medical condition. An innocent mole, for example, may throw an individual into a frenzy, as he or she could consider it a sign of cancer.

Road to recovery

Delusions are a sign of a mental illness as thoughts and behaviors are not embedded in reality and there is a risk to life. Sometimes, delusional thinking may cause harm to other people's lives or result in legal offsets. It is advisable to seek a therapist's help and get appropriate medical intervention.

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Fear Is Driven by The Imagination

This is the one emotion that few can control and it is the rod that breaks many, both physically and mentally. It is used by those who need to control people's actions and what they think. It is the greatest weapon beliefs possess and it is governed by what they drive into the mind from a young age. Children are brain-washed into believing in it and as they age they are pulled by the hook entwined in their psyche to stay true to their beliefs.

The opposite of fear is confidence, although this is not exactly an emotion but rather a combination of other factors. These include knowledge, experience, and a positive attitude. Instead of being tethered to an idea or teaching they explore all possibilities and ensure they are on steady ground before taking action.

Those who overcome the brain-washing and lead positive lives are more likely to be the leaders of the pack. They speak and act with assurance and a demeanor that displays a lack of fear and an acceptance of facts, that are not necessarily what others tell them.

Fear, on the other hand, is prompted by a lack of confidence and ability to know how to overcome it. One would have such an emotion if faced with something they could not avoid that might hurt or kill them. This could come about if on a battle field where one faced an armed enemy. But not everyone feels fear in this situation.

Many would feel anger, hate, and disgust and be ready to charge and be the first to kill or injure the other. What of the fear that one will burn in hell for all eternity? That is not something that is proven and yet it can drive people mad.

In my experience as a spiritual counselor I have heard many tales from victims of this awful lie. It is a lie because there is no such place as hell and nor is there a place called heaven, or paradise. This is known because of my reincarnation and link to the Spirit of the Universe, the real God.

It has led many to me over the years who have required spiritual healing and reassurance of their acceptance as normal. There is no such thing as sin and the religious lies that promote them the product of the one bearing the number 666. That was the Roman Caesar, Constantine, who established the Catholic Church and used heaven and hell as weapons to drag people in and control them.

He built the Vatican over the temple of Jupiter (Peter in English) and it, in turn, ordered the New Testament. It was written and compiled by Jerome who put in place the idea of ​​a soul and that sin can be read on it after one dies. There is no truth in any of it and the Spirit is redeeming its people by releasing these facts.

Because of the brain-washing fear instilled by religious convictions is nothing but a stretch of the imagination. To be rid of it all one has to do is walk away from the source of the idea and become knowledgeable enough to build confidence in oneself.

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Working With a Mental Health Problem: Knowing One’s Rights

“The bravest thing I ever did was continuing my life when I wanted to die.” • Juliette Lewis

The American actress's above admission aptly highlight the tussle she faced like several other people suffering from mental disorders. People with a mental health condition are often wary of disclosing their condition to the employers fearing discrimination and stereotyping. While there are laws in place for preventing biases from creeping in with regard to race, gender and disabilities, there is an implicit bias existing to this day in respect to the people with a mental health condition.

Apart from this, many employers go out of their way to ensure a suitable working environment for the people with a disability, particularly physical disabilities. However, they have not succeeded much in creating similar opportunities for mental patients. The need of the hour is to support the mentally ill join the work and other aspects of life.

It has been widely accepted that a steady employment is a kind of treatment in the case of people with a range of mental illnesses. Since mental patients often exhibit a range of talents and abilities, it is essential to make appropriate investment in the voluntary strategies specifically targeting them. This will also be in the line of the defined rights of the mentally ill patients.

With the growth in awareness about mental illnesses, many offices nowdays staff full-time counselors and offer online chat services to address common mental health related problems, such as stress, anxiety and depression, all the while maintaining the privacy of the employee. Some of the legal rights safeguarding the rights of the people with mental illnesses have been discussed in this article.

Legal rights to protect from discrimination

Whether it is with regard to the right of being treated with respect and dignity or the right to receive remembrance and services as per one's entitlement, there are laws to ensure that any employee with a mental illness is not discriminated on any of these levels because of their condition.

  • Workplace privacy rights : This set of rights disbars an employee from enquiring about a person's medical condition, including mental health. One is entitled to reveal his or her condition only when he or she wants to access the benefits as defined by the law.
  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) : Although certain antisocial tendencies, such as kleptomania, pedophilia, exhibitionism, voyeurism, etc., have been excluded from the ambit of this law, most mental health conditions, such as major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and schizophrenia, have been included. The Act was passed in 1990 and has injunctions against any kind of discrimination based on physical and mental disability in workplace, government services, etc.
  • Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) : As per this Act, certain employees can take up to 12 workweeks of unpaid but job-protected leave during a 12-month period for a host of conditions, including for taking care of a child or spouse with a serious health condition that can either be a physical or mental illness.
  • Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA) : This Act provides a tooth to the government-based bodies, jails, prisons, state- or locally-run mental health facilities or development disability and mental retardation facilities, etc. to arrest problems related to abuse, neglect, and rehabilitation.

On the ground of the existing bias, implicit or explicit, and stereotypes with regard to mental health conditions, an employer can not decide whether a person can perform a task as per the requirement. Moreover, the employer on the basis of the laws mentioned above can not claim that the employee concerned is a safety risk to others.

It is necessary for the employer to provide substantial evidence for any kind of changes in the work and role of the employee suffering from mental illness. The evidence should be led by reason and objective in nature and not be hearsay. An employee with a mental health condition is well within his or her rights when he or she refuses to divulge information about his or her condition.

There are few instances when he or she would be required to provide information about his or her mental condition:

  • The grant of a reasonable accommodation to enable a person with mental illness to do his or her job in the best possible manner, including work from home possibilities.
  • Mandatory for all employees to share information related to mental health.
  • Reliable evidence to corroborate that the employee concerned poses a security risk because of his or her condition.

For most conditions that are “substantially limiting,” or wherein a person is incapacitated because of his or her disorder from fulfilling his or her work to his or her optimum capacity, a reasonable accommodation can be thought. Most mental health conditions, such as major depression, PTSD, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and OCD, come under the category of “substantiating limiting.” Therefore, depending on the nature of employment, one could either work from home or seek flexible work environment and timings.

Dealing with mental illness

With proper medication, counseling and therapy, it is possible to keep at bay some of the far-reaching and life-disruptive symptoms of a mental health condition that could interfere with the rigors of employment.

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Debilitating Aftereffects of a Toxic Work Environment

Schools are generally considered as the playground of bullies. However, bullying is not just limited to school-going children, but it is also witnessed during their adulthood. Any kind of bullying, ranging from verbal comments to negative physical contact, has the potential to turn workplace environmental toxic.

The entire concept of exercising one's supremacy over the other person by repeatedly indulging in offending and intimidating behaviors is quite common in workplaces. After the preponderance of such negative behaviors, the relationship between workplace bullying and mental health has remained one of the least discussed topics among employers, employees and medical practitioners.

An earlier study consistent of a 52-item health checklist for estimating the impact of negative workplace environment and workplace bullying on an individual's physical and mental health had the following observations:

  • Anxiety was a common psychological problem, with 80 percent responses reporting it.
  • 52 percent of those bullied suffering from panic attacks.
  • Agoraphobia was reported by 17 percent of respondents.
  • 49 percent reported clinical depression.
  • 30 percent of targets of bullying suffering from PTSD and 19 percent had an acute stress disorder.
  • 50 percent experienced intrusive thoughts and 14 percent witnessed dissociation.
  • Physical symptoms most commonly seen were migraine headaches (48 percent), irritable bowel disorder (37 percent), chronic fatigue syndrome (33 percent) and sexual dysfunction (27 percent).
  • While 29 percent had contemplated suicide, 16 percent had gone to the extent of actually planning the suicide.
  • A significant major rising up to 74 percent of those bullied felt betrayed by their co-workers and a 63 percent had lost faith in institutions.

Fortunately, of the 516 responders, nearly 71 percent took the recourse to medical help and 63 percent actually bought the assistance of a mental health professional for their work-related woes.

Nefarious ways of bullying

It is generally seen that children with sociopathic personalities grow into bullies as adults. As most manage to develop the veneer of an understanding adult, it takes time before their true personalities are understood. Whether as a supervisor, a co-worker or a manager, bullies make use of the apprentice weaknesses of their victims. Most of their attacks intend at dissolving the core identity of the victims, which can only be rebuilt through a sustained therapy. Some examples of bullying include.

  • Verbal assaults
  • Physical injuries
  • Harming one's reputation
  • Spreading rumors
  • Unwelcome sexual advances
  • Disparaging reviews about one's gender
  • Belittling one's work
  • Criticizing even when it is not due
  • Display behaviors that are toxic
  • Refusing to acknowledge the good work done by the person
  • Constantly berating and shouting at someone in public
  • Threatening someone about job losses, especially in the current times when unemployment is at an all-time high

Rebuilding faith

The best way to deal with workplace bullying is to seek help at the earliest. One can deal with workplace bullying by either informing the manager or the human resources (HR) department, or seeking a lateral transfer to avoid the negativity.

Also, in case the damage seems more psychological in nature and inflicts a range of repercussions, such as sleeping problems, anxiety, panic attacks, etc., it is better to seek professional help. For example, in the case of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), one requires sustained counseling by a trauma specialist. Trauma specialists help in building desensitization skills, which are of significant importance since the victims of workplace bullying who have had a serious traumatic experience have a greater chance of experiencing remission.

According to Judith Orloff, MD and author of “Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself from Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life,” the best means for tackling toxicity and negativity at the workplace is by strengthening relationship with co-workers who are not bullies. Dr. Orloff has also advocated meditation as a means for countering the aftereffects, such as shame, that arise when one is unable to counter the aggressor in a suitable way.

Sometimes, it is also helpful to keep a journal or a listing of all the discourses that one may have with a bully. Most bullies are good at manipulating situation and therefore keeping a journal is advisable, especially if one has to counter their lies and manipulations. She further elucidates, “Fear is the largest energy thief there is. A master seducer and gigantic source of negative energy, fear shamelessly robs of us of everything good and powerful, preys on our vulnerabilities.”

Road to recovery

Certain traumatic accidents could push one to the verge of a break requiring a sustained inpatient treatment. Whether it is PTSD or anxiety disorder, the crippling effects of these conditions can be alleviated by adequate support and compassion of loved ones. Including the support of family and friends, a synthesis of neuroscience, intuitive medicine, counseling, treatment programs, etc. offers the opportunity to realize one's emotional freedom and come to terms with life.

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