The Science Behind Mental Illness

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science behind mental disorders

Each year there are over 44 million Americans suffering from serious mental health conditions.  And sadly, only half of these people will seek treatment and intervention due to shame and discrimination.

The problem with mental disorder is real. And maybe one of your family members are already affected by it.

Learn more about this topic as we are going to learn the science behind mental illness.

Definition

In simple terms, mental illness is the physical ailment of the brain which affects its normal functions from thinking, behavior, emotion, and energy to the point that the affected person will find it difficult to manage or cope up with the demands of life. And while society has its predefined notions about this condition, scientists and medical experts are now beginning to uncover the deeper causes of mental diseases such as the brain structure, chemistry, genetics, experiencing trauma, or having other ailments like heart disease.

The 2 most common types of mental disorder are anxiety disorder (panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and specific phobias) and mood disorders (depression, bipolar, and the likes).

The Role Of The Brain Chemicals In Mental Disorder

As previously mentioned, one of the main cause of mental disorder is chemistry particularly, in the imbalance of chemicals in the brain. If this happens, then the brain will not be able to communicate with a person’s body effectively. Therefore, preventing them from performing a healthy and appropriate response to certain stimuli.

Here are some of the neurochemicals in the brain that is associated with mental disorders is processed incorrectly:

Epinephrine/Adrenaline – It’s a hormone that is responsible for the regulation of heart rate, blood pressure, and muscle contraction. Often triggered by stressful situations, the overproduction of this hormone can result in fatigue, difficulty in concentrating, and anxiety disorders.

Dopamine – It is a chemical that regulates the brain’s reward centers as well as our emotional responses to different stimuli. Lack of dopamine often results in addictive behaviors like drug and alcohol addiction, depression, cravings, and compulsions. On the other hand, too much of this is usually associated with autism, attention disorders, mood swings, psychosis, and even schizophrenia.

Norepinephrine – It’s a hormone that is responsible for mobilizing the body and brain to take action on something by increasing alertness, speed up reaction time, regulating heart rate, and affecting blood flow. Too much norepinephrine may lead to hyperactivity, anxiety, and stress.

Serotonin – It’s a chemical that helps regulate our mood, social behavior, sleep, memory, appetite and digestion, and sexual desire. Overproduction of this neurotransmitter can also lead to anxiety as well as other mental disorders like OCD and depression.

How Can You Help

stigma mental health problems

Awareness is good, but taking action is even better. If you know someone who is struggling with mental illness today, then here are some of the things you can do to help them:

  1. Show acceptance and respect.
  2. Advocating the affected individual within your circles of influence to create a support system.
  3. Learning more about the disease that’s affecting your friend or family member and mental health in general.

If you want to send your support to this cause, check out Big Moods’ mental health stickers. A portion of their profit will be donated to the mental health awareness charity Active Minds. Just click on the link to view their website.

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