Your Local Pharmacist is

Jay Koovarjee

 92 Pitt St
Sydney NSW 2000
ph: (02) 9221 0091
fax: (02) 9221 0090

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:: In Brief

 

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:: Mental Health
Healthy Lifestyle - Mental Health
  Healthy Lifestyle
  Mental Health 

Good mental health helps us to more fully enjoy and appreciate the people and environment around us. We respond better to the stresses and challenges of daily life, we are more creative, use our abilities to the fullest and make the most of opportunities when our mental health is strong.

Stressful life events can have a serious impact on our mental health. To help reduce the likelihood of mental illness,mental disorders and mental health problems. Here are a few simple steps which help promote mental health.

  • Share thoughts and feelings with friends,family or a counsellor.Talking can help solve problems and relieve stress and anxiety.
  • Eat nutritious food, get adequate sleep and exercise regularly. These can trigger a chain of healing affects.
  • Learn to relax. There are many relaxation techniques and resources available eg hobbies,reading,meditation
  • Seek help. It is important to seek professional help

Mental Illness:

Mental illness refers to a group of disorders that affect the way a person thinks, feels and acts. Mental illnesses include depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, anxiety and personality disorders. Some mental illnesses involve the experience of psychosis (where a person loses touch with reality) and some do not.

Mental illness is more common than you may think. Mental illness directly affects one in five Australians at some stage in their lives, varying from mild or temporary to severe or prolonged. It is even more common among young adults, affecting 25 percent of this age group. It is felt across all sections of society. It can affect relationships, the ability to work, and participation in, and enjoyment of life.

There is some evidence that mental illness is caused by a combination of biological factors that create a vulnerability. Genetics play a part, but people can develop a mental illness with no family history at all. We know that chemical changes occur that affect functioning of the brain (both dopamine and serotonin are involved).  People who are vulnerable to mental illness may experience symptoms in response to stress, social change or drugs.

Advancements in medication are continually improving the outlook for people with a mental illness. Along with psychological and social supports, a majority can live active and fulfilled lives.

Early warning signs differ from person to person, but some common signs are when a person’s behaviour changes (either suddenly or gradually) and he or she becomes unusually suspicious, anxious, depressed, irritable or angry.

The person may experience mood swings, sleeplessness, loss of motivation and energy, changes in eating patterns, and memory loss. Family and friends will notice changes in a person’s behaviour, often with a disruption to a person’s work or study and to a person’s energy levels and sociability. These symptoms can sometimes be a reaction to life events or changes, especially for people in adolescence, but if in doubt, seek advice from a health service.

Early intervention is better for all concerned.

Types of Mental Illnesses:

Psychosis is when a person loses touch with reality and has confused thoughts, perception, emotions and behaviour. Symptoms may include disturbing delusions and hallucinations.  Psychotic symptoms can occur in an isolated episode or as part of an ongoing diagnosed illness such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, psychosis or schizo affective disorder.  Three in every 100 people will experience a psychotic episode. Many recover fully.

Like any other illness, psychosis can happen to anyone.  Some experiences of psychosis are isolated episodes, especially substance-induced psychosis and brief reactive psychosis.  Sometimes a first episode can be triggered by the use of drugs, including heroin, cocaine, alcohol, marijuana, amphetamines (speed) and benzodiazepines.  Drug-induced psychosis will subside once the drugs or alcohol are out of the person’s system.

Schizophrenia - A cognitive disorder where symptoms may include delusions, hallucinations, disorganised thought, speech or behaviour, and a flattening in emotions.

Bipolar mood disorder - People with bipolar mood disorder experience recurrent episodes of depressed and elated moods. Both can be mild to severe. The term ‘mania’ is used to describe the most severe state of extreme elation and over activity.

Schizo affective disorder -This is an illness that displays some of the psychotic symptoms of schizophrenia along with the mood extremes associated with bipolar disorder.

Anxiety disorders - Anxiety disorders represent a condition in which worry, anxiety or fear are prominent symptoms. Disorders include obsessive compulsive disorder, panic attacks and phobias. Typically, a person’s anxiety levels are so high that day to day functioning becomes difficult.

Depression -Clinical depression involves a persistent lowering of mood. This plays out in a variety of symptoms that include feeling extremely sad or tearful, sleeplessness, feeling guilty and worthless, loss of energy and motivation, loss of pleasure, and impaired thinking and concentration. Everyday functioning can become extremely difficult.

Find out more about Anxiety & Depression

More information:

Mental Health Council of Australia - www.mhca.com.au
Beyond Blue - www.beyondblue.org.au

Ask Your Pharmacist about:

  • Managing Mental Illness
  • Medication for Mental Illness
  • Drug Interactions 

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