Mental Illness & Mental Health Medications - A Guide For Patients

  • April 4, 2019
  • /   Sunshine Behavioral Medicine
  • /   Mental Health,Mental Illness,Medication
young lady in counseling with mom and healthcare professional

What Is Mental Illness?

Mental illnesses are diseases of the brain that causes the followings:

  • Problem in the areas of thoughts, emotional regulation, and/or behavior that reflects dysfunction (impaired or abnormal functioning);
  • Experiences significant distress or disability in personal, relational, social, occupational, educational, and other important activities;

A response to an extreme stressor, such as a loss, that is expected and culturally approved is not a mental disorder because rather than a dysfunction, it's an appropriate and temporary reaction to a stressor.

Majority of Mental Illnesses are:

  • enduring – they last long
  • ¥ inflexible – they don’t change
  • ¥ have a distinct frequency, they happen or recur with specific length of time
  • ¥ have a distinct duration, when they happen, they last for a time
  • ¥ severe in symptomology to cause a marked decrease in functioning and increase in distress

What is mental illness?

A mental illness is distress and dysfunction that goes deeper than a reaction to even extreme life stressors; a mental illness is a dysfunction that negatively affects person's thoughts, emotions, and/or behaviors and interferes with their ability to live a peaceful and uncomplicated life and bring him or her to serious conflicts with the society.

So that you know:

In 2016, there were an estimated 44.7 Million adults aged 18 or older in the United States with Any form of Mental Illness (AfMI). This number represented 18.3% of all U.S. adults. That means, roughly, one out of every five, (1/5), adult Americans suffers from a Mental Illness. With so many people suffering from Mental Illness, it is foolish to be embarrassed of Mental Illness or think it is a weakness!

Early Signs of Mental Illness:

  • Withdrawal — Recent social withdrawal and loss of interest in others
  • Drop in functioning — An unusual drop in functioning, at school, work or social activities, such as quitting sports, failing in school or difficulty performing familiar tasks
  • Problems thinking — Problems with concentration, memory or logical thought and speech that are hard to explain
  • Increased sensitivity — Heightened sensitivity to sights, sounds, smells or touch; avoidance of over-stimulating situations
  • Apathy — Loss of initiative or desire to participate in any activity
  • Feeling disconnected — A vague feeling of being disconnected from oneself or one’s surroundings; a sense of unreality
  • Misperception, Hearing, Seeing Unreal Voices or Visions.
  • Illogical thinking — Unusual or exaggerated beliefs about personal powers to understand meanings or influence events; illogical or “magical” thinking typical of childhood in an adult
  • Nervousness — Fear or suspiciousness of others or a strong nervous feeling
  • Unusual behavior – Odd, uncharacteristic, peculiar behavior
  • Sleep or appetite changes — Dramatic sleep and appetite changes or decline in personal care
  • Impulsivity – Inability to control ones urges
  • Addiction – Problems with Alcohol, Prescription and Illegal Drugs.
  • Self-neglect - Poor self-care, poor hygiene, Unhealthy habits
  • Safety neglect – Inattention to one’s own safety, High Risk Activities
  • False perception – Hearing voices or seeing visions Unreal to others. (others can hear or see)
  • False beliefs - Believing in having unusual power, Paranoid,
  • Mood changes - Rapid or dramatic shifts in feelings
  • Relation problems – dealing with friends, relatives, co-workers
  • Family and Occupational Problems – Inability to hold down a job, Un-employability, problems with coworkers and supervisors,
  • Problems with the law – Lack of understanding or obeying the law
  • Idea of suicide and self-harm – Preoccupation with thought of killing self.
  • Ideas about harming or hurting others – Violence, Homicidal thoughts.

Serious Mental Illness (SMI)

Like so many other things in life, mental illness is complex and multifaceted. There are many different types of mental illness, and they each have a unique impact on a person living with it. Some, but not all, mental illnesses are serious mental illnesses. What separates a serious mental illness from others is severity, or degree of impact. An SMI creates significant impairment, whereas other mental illness has mild or moderate impairment.

Serious mental illnesses included:

  • Schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • schizoaffective disorder\pervasive developmental disorders
  • Anxiety - Unrelenting worries about everything
  • Depression in childhood and adolescence
  • Panic disorder
  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Anorexia and Bulimia
  • Addictions, Alcoholism
  • Hoarding
  • Compulsive gambling
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Oddity, Inappropriateness, Paranoia, Reclusive, Dramatic, Disrespectful, Cheating, Lying, Stealing, Exploiting, Uncontrollable Aggression, Violence, Arrogance, Inability to get along with others.
  • Denial of Mental Illness!

There are an estimated 10.4 million adults aged 18 or older in the United States with Severe Mental Illness (SMI) needing to be Institutionalized. This number represented 4.2% of all U.S. adults. That means one out of every 25 adult Americans needs to be hospitalized for Mental Illness.

Don’t hesitate to get help.

Mental Health Medications


Medications can play an important role in treating several mental disorders and conditions. Treatment of Mental Disorders may also include psychotherapy (also called “talk therapy”), Counseling, and Brain Stimulation Therapies. In cases that Mental Illness is compounded by Psychological Conflicts, Character Flaws and Drug and or Alcohol Addiction, psychotherapy along with medication is necessary. Choosing the right treatment plan should be based on a person's individual needs and medical situation and under supervision of a psychiatrist.

It is important to know that:

  1. NONE of the Mental Health Medications Will CURE mental disorders. The same way that Insulin does not cure Diabetes and Blood Pressure Medications Do Not CURE high blood pressure.
  2. Mental Health Medications Do Not Help Human problems such as; mental (psychological) conflicts and confusion, Character flaws (Personality Disorders), problem in relations, problems at work or institutions, or problems with the government or the legal systems. As much Mental Health Medication may be used to reduce the anxiety and depression these problems create, the answer to these problems is counseling and NOT medication.
  3. Mental Health Medications DO NOT Work like Aspirin. It Takes weeks for Mental Health medications to start working. Mental health medications should not be taken “as needed”.
  4. Trying to write your own ticket for the type of medication or dosage or trying to lead the Doctor to write a particular Mental Health Medications is foolish and complicates the treatment. No Psychiatrist in right mind will give in to manipulation or pressure.
  5. The patients must report symptoms and the problems that bother them to the psychiatrist. It is the responsibility of the doctor to select the appropriate medication and explain it to the patient.
  6. Understanding Your Medications

If you are prescribed a medication, be sure that you:

  • Tell the doctor about all OTHER medications and vitamin supplements, and Over the Counter (OTC) drugs you are already taking.
  • Remind your doctor about any allergies and any problems you have had with medicines.
  • Understand how to take the medicine before you start using it and take your medicine as instructed.
  • Don't take medicines prescribed for another person or give yours to someone else.
  • Like all other medications, Mental Health Medications have side effects that are mostly minimal and manageable. You must weigh the side effects of the Mental Health Medications against their benefits. You have to CHOOSE either to take the Mental Illness and face its dangerous consequences or accept the side effects of the Mental Health Medications and manage it with the help of your psychiatrist… Report serious side to your doctor. See your doctor right away if you have any problems with your medicine or if you are worried that it might be doing more harm than good. Your doctor may be able to adjust the dose or change your prescription to a different one that may work better for you.

Take your medications as instructed consistently

Healthy Mind Comes Before Healthy Body

Mental Illness Is NOT A Passport to Prohibited &Punishable Conduct Or Sick behavior