Understanding Mental Disorders
Mental disorders can be manifested in various forms. The symptoms of mental illnesses can differ based on age, gender, the particular type of disorder. The signs and symptoms can also vary from time to time and person to person. However, certain symptoms may be considered as warning signs of mental health problems that warrant attention and intervention. These include:
Mental disorders can affect individuals of any age, ethnicity, gender or socio-economic background. No one should be considered as immune to the ravages of mental illnesses. The Department of Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences, Fortis Hospital, Kolkata thus, practices lifetime psychiatry, providing appropriate interventions to individuals of all ages and is sensitive and affirmative towards all relevant background factors. It is best to get help and treat it as a psychiatry emergency.
Common Mental Disorders
There are a vast number of psychiatric disorders that can affect individuals. However, some mental disorders are more common, and include:
Causes of Mental Disorders
A lot is still to be known regarding the genesis of mental disorders. The current understanding of mental illnesses is that a complex interplay of biological, psychological and social factors is involved in the development and maintenance of mental disorders. Biological factors include genetic contributions, disturbances in neurotransmitter functioning, brain pathology and hormonal fluctuations. Psychological factors involve a personâ€™s personality composition, patterns of thinking, interpretation of life experiences and learned behaviours. Social factors can include poverty, traumatic events, and discrimination.
How are mental disorders diagnosed?
A mental disorder is diagnosed through multiple steps and procedures. The first step to a diagnosis is usually a detailed case history taking and examination of the individualâ€™s current mental status, that is conducted by a trained mental health professional after building rapport with the person. A thorough physical examination is also conducted by the psychiatrist, and a few investigations may also be suggested, in order to rule out any physical conditions that may be involved. Core mental disorders, however, are usually not diagnosed through blood tests or lab investigations. Rather trained professionals analyze how the particular set of symptoms may or may not fit into certain diagnostic categories. For further diagnostic clarifications and treatment planning, psychometric assessments are also carried out by clinical psychologists. Through the process of interview, questionnaires, and other procedures, these assessments help to better arrive at diagnostic conclusions as well as judge the severity of the problem.
How are mental illnesses treated?
Since mental health problems are caused by a variety of factors, treatment for mental disorders also have multiple points of focus. The first and most important step to the treatment process is early identification. As in the case of any illness, the sooner the problem is detected, the better are the outcomes. Thus, any sign of unusual mental functioning must be brought to the attention of health care providers immediately for further investigation.
Two broad approaches to the treatment of mental disorders include pharmacological and psychotherapeutic.
Pharmacological approaches to treatment include medical intervention at the advice of a psychiatrist which helps to alleviate the symptoms of mental disorders. It is important to keep in mind that psychiatric medications must not be started or stopped suddenly without consulting a psychiatrist.
Psychotherapeutic interventions include treatment with the help of therapies of a wide range of modes and genres that focus on symptom alleviation through the help of communication, ventilation, analysis of problem and the use of relevant strategies and training aimed at empowering the individual to overcome the problems stemming from a mental disorder, handling of life stress and skill development for handling of crises. These interventions are carried out by clinical psychologists.
About the Department
The Department of Mental Health and Behavioral Sciences, is a multidisciplinary team comprising of psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, counselling psychologists, special educators, and other experts, who together provide well-rounded, comprehensive and holistic mental health care aimed at both the prevention as well as treatment of mental health issues. Some of the services provided by the department include: