The challenges of mental health issues


Although the exact cause of most mental illnesses is not known, it is becoming clear through research that many of these conditions are caused by a combination of biological, psychological, and environmental factors. 

While stress sources don’t necessarily cause anxiety disorders, they can worsen symptoms. And while, as mentioned above, anxiety disorders are the most common mental illnesses affecting adults and children across the world today. 

Mental illness refers to a wide range of mental health conditions, disorders that affect your mood, thinking and behaviour. Examples of mental illness include depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders and addictive behaviours. Many people have mental health concerns from time to time

Some mental illnesses have been linked to abnormal functioning of nerve cell circuits or pathways that connect particular brain regions. Nerve cells within these brain circuits communicate through chemicals called neurotransmitters. “Tweaking” these chemicals through medicines, psychotherapy or other medical procedures can help brain circuits run more efficiently. Defects in or injury to certain areas of the brain have also been linked to some mental conditions. 

Mental health-related issues have also been seen to run in families, suggesting that people who have a family member with a mental illness may be somewhat more likely to develop one themselves. Susceptibility is passed on in families through genes. 

Experts believe many mental illnesses are linked to abnormalities in many genes rather than just one or a few and that how these genes interact with the environment is unique for every person (even identical twins). 

That is why a person inherits a susceptibility to a mental illness and doesn’t necessarily develop the illness. Mental illness itself occurs from the interaction of multiple genes and other factors such as; stress, abuse, or a traumatic event which can influence, or trigger, an illness in a person who has an inherited susceptibility to it. 

Certain infections have been linked to brain damage and the development of mental illness or the worsening of its symptoms. Defects in or injury to certain areas of the brain have also been linked to some mental illnesses. 

Some evidence suggests that a disruption of early foetal brain development or trauma that occurs at the time of birth for example, loss of oxygen to the brain may be a factor in the development of certain conditions, such as autism spectrum disorder. 

Long-term substance abuse, in particular, has been linked to anxiety, depression, and paranoia. Other factors include; poor nutrition and exposure to toxins, such as lead, may play a role in the development of mental illnesses.

Mental health challenges and disorders have many different signs and symptoms and can look different in different people. They can impact how a person thinks, feels and behaves.

Some common symptoms of a mental health challenge or disorder are: changes in mood, changes in the way you perceive thing, obsessions, fears, feelings of anxiety

Mental health challenges and disorders can happen to anyone. They affect people of all ages, races and social classes. No one is immune.

The best way to prevent mental health challenges from getting worse is to recognize symptoms early and get professional help. Many mental health challenges and disorders can be treated successfully. When the signs are recognized early, that person can get started on the path to a full recovery.

The Managing Director, Gede Foundation, John Minto, at a training on behavioural change and research methodology on capacity building for healthcare agencies said, his organisation is ready to work with the Federal Government of Nigeria to integrate screening and treatment of mental ailment into the primary healthcare service.

Considering that some medical scholars have revealed that in a population of 160 million or thereabout, it is speculated that 64 million Nigerians suffer from one form of mental illness or the other deserving attention, Minto said the big thing is for his foundation to work with the government to integrate issues of mental care in primary health at the community level. He added that they were in a working relationship with the Federal Ministry of Health and the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (NACA) to make sure that mental health is in the HIV national strategic framework.  

Culled from The Daily Trust Newspaper