There are many ways in which a mentally ill person can be identified. These characteristics are as follows. A person who is affected with mental illness will not be able to think clearly. The person will not be able to solve the problems faced in life. He or she will need additional help from other people who are around them to help them in solving even small problems in their life. The mentally ill person may not usually have a good relationships with family, friends and workmates. The person may have sudden changes in the way he thinks or talks and this can cause the relationship to sour.

The other signs that can be used to identify the person who is mentally ill are that the person will not be able to work productively. There will be many times when the person tries to work, but they may not be able to complete the job. The person may also not be spiritually at ease. The person may also not be able to contribute to the community because of these factors that have been mentioned already.

Causes of mental illness

There are various causes of mental illness, but most of them are very vague. In fact, the causes of mental illness are not fully understood. Some of the causes that have been identified are as follows:

1. Most mental illness is caused by interaction of stressful life events, Psychological processes, Biological changes in the brain such as chemical imbalances

2. Life stressors that might contribute to the development of mental illness: Poverty, Migration, Lack of control over life, Physical illness, Family conflict/abuse, Traumatic or neglected childhood, Drug and alcohol use, Financial problems, Unemployment, Loneliness, Infertility, Death and bereavement, Conflicts and disasters

3. Mental illness is present in all societies and all groups within all societies; but it is more common among the poor. The course and outcome of mental illness is influenced by the socio-economic status of the family. The expression of mental illness is influenced by socio-cultural context

Treatment and management of mental illness

Drug treatments :
This is essential for people with psychosis and for people with severe or long-lasting depression and anxiety

There are many other therapies that can also be used in the treatment of mental illness and they are as follows.

• Talking therapies with trained counsellors
• Relaxation and breathing techniques
• Problem solving techniques
• Lifestyle changes
• Many mental disorders can be managed at the primary health care level
• Many NGOs are active in the area of mental health treatment and care

Referral to specialist care is ideal in the case of severe mental disorders, but the quality of tertiary care is variable - Institutional rather than community based, Lack basic resources, Inadequate staff numbers and training, Poor standard of treatment, Violation of human rights

It should be remembered that each mentally ill person may not be normal, but they can become normal like all of us if they are given adequate care and are treated appropriately.

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