Mental illness or mental disorder still has a stigma for many people. Medical science has made a lot of progress with regard to psychotropic medications, which are medications that stabilize mental disorders. In the following I will discuss briefly what is known about the most common mental conditions.
There are several links to subchapters that you can access in the upper left corner of this page entitled “In this section”. You can see that mental disorders have been categorized in the DSM-IV (Ref.2), which is the standard classification system that psychiatrists and psychologists use, into five major categories. They are: Mood disorders (depression, bipolar disease etc.), somatoform disorders, anxiety disorders, changes in eating patterns and schizophrenic disorders. All in all there more than 30 subchapters to which there are links. In my opinion it is important that the public learns as much as they can about mental illness, how to recognize symptoms and why the psychiatrist or physician uses certain drugs to control the mental condition. We are also learning through metabolic studies of the brain, through PET scanner research and others that brain hormones can be selectively disbalanced and in schizophrenia and depression this newer knowledge has already led to newer antipsychotic and antidepressant medications. Mental disease may also be less frequent on a population basis with a more balanced diet that avoids refined sugar and limits the amount of refined carbohydrates (rice, pasta, bread, potatoes). Hyperinsulinism and a lack of omega-3-fatty acids can play havoc with the balance of our brain hormones. Avoidance of abuse of any kind in a person’s life, regular exercise and enough quality sleep coupled with enough leisure time and hobbies to balance the stress from work are also essential. Many studies throughout the world have also shown that the relaxation response from such diverse activities like prayer, meditation, interaction with friends, partners and family may prevent mental disease to a large extent.
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3. Dr. Shaila Misri at the 46th St. Paul’s Hosp. Cont. Educ. Conference, November 2000, Vancouver/B.C./ Canada.
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