THE EXPERIENCE OF MENTAL ILLNESS

ATTITUDES TOWARD MENTAL ILLNESS

SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC COSTS

DEFINING MENTAL ILLNESS

PREVALENCE - United States and Worldwide

Among Children and Adolescents
Among the Elderly
Among the Poor and Among Men and Women
Changing Rates of Mental Illness

KINDS OF MENTAL ILLNESSES

Anxiety Disorders and Mood Disorders
Schizophrenia and Other Psychotic Disorders
Personality and Cognitive Disorders
Dissociative, Somatoform and Factitious Disorders
Substance-Related, Eating and Impulse-Control Disorders

CAUSES OF MENTAL ILLNESS

Biological Perspective
Psychodynamic, Humanistic and Existential Perspectives
Behavioral, Cognitive and Sociocultural Perspective

DIAGNOSIS

TREATMENT

Drug Therapy
Individual Psychotherapy
Group and Family Therapies
Electroconvulsive Therapy and Psychosurgery
Treatment Settings
Treatment in Non-Western Countries


HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVES OF MENTAL ILLNESS



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Drug Therapy

Drugs introduced in the mid-1950s enabled many people who otherwise would have spent years in mental institutions to return to the community and live productive lives. Since then, advances in psychopharmacology have led to the development of drugs of even greater effectiveness. These drugs often relieve symptoms of schizophrenia, depression, anxiety, and other disorders. However, they may produce undesirable and sometimes serious side effects. In addition, relapse may occur when they are discontinued, so long-term use may be required. Drugs that control symptoms of mental illness are called psychotherapeutic drugs. The major categories of psychotherapeutic drugs include antipsychotic drugs, antianxiety drugs, antidepressant drugs, and antimanic drugs. (Drug Therapy, Therapy Mental Illness, Drug Mental Illness)

Antipsychotic drugs, also called neuroleptics and major tranquilizers, control symptoms of psychosis, such as hallucinations and delusions, which characterize schizophrenia and related disorders. They can also prevent such symptoms from returning. Antipsychotic drugs may produce side effects ranging from dry mouth and blurred vision to tardive dyskinesia, a permanent condition that produces involuntary movements of the lips, mouth, and tongue. (Drug Therapy, Therapy Mental Illness, Drug Mental Illness)

Antianxiety drugs, also called minor tranquilizers, reduce high levels of anxiety. They may help people with generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and other anxiety disorders. Benzodiazepines, a class of drugs that includes diazepam (Valium), are the most widely prescribed antianxiety drugs. Benzodiazepines can be addictive and may cause drowsiness and impaired coordination during the day. (Drug Therapy, Therapy Mental Illness, Drug Mental Illness)

Antidepressant drugs help relieve symptoms of depression. Some antidepressant drugs can relieve symptoms of other disorders as well, such as panic disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Antidepressant drugs comprise three major classes: tricyclics, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAO inhibitors), and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Side effects of tricyclics may include dizziness upon standing, blurred vision, dry mouth, difficulty urinating, constipation, and drowsiness. People who take MAO inhibitors may experience some of the same side effects, and must follow a special diet that excludes certain foods. SSRIs generally produce fewer side effects, although these may include anxiety, drowsiness, and sexual dysfunction. One type of SSRI, fluoxetine (Prozac), is the most widely prescribed antidepressant drug. (Drug Therapy, Therapy Mental Illness, Drug Mental Illness)

Antimanic drugs help control the mania that occurs as part of bipolar disorder. One of the most effective antimanic drugs is lithium carbonate, a natural mineral salt (see Lithium). Common side effects include nausea, stomach upset, vertigo, and increased thirst and urination. In addition, long-term use of lithium can damage the kidneys. (Drug Therapy, Therapy Mental Illness, Drug Mental Illness)

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