Quote from norm
my family has a history of psychosis and we r now dealing with the 3rd sister who is displaying psychotic behaviour. because of her personality which is a very sweet loving woman it is hard for some members of my family to recognize that she could possibly be mentally ill. she has been displaying paranoid and accussatory delusions of everyone around her for the last 4 years . my parents and her twin sister seem to be the ones that r the most in denial and don't discourage this nasty vindictive behaviour. her marriage has broken up and now my surrounding and extended family are all fighting and don't want to be around each other and we use be very very close to one another. i have spent the last 4 years trying to tell my parents that my sister is mentally ill but because she looks so normal on the outside they refuse to listen to what i have to say. my words fall upon deaf ears. this has driven a wedge between my family to the point that we don't spend holidays and special occassions together anymore because no-one wants to be her next victim of abuse or accusations . she is not a nice person to be around anymore.. . some of my sisters delusions are people stealing from her, people manipulating her bank account , her husband cheating, people stealing her mail, she sees all people and every situation in a negative way which is the opposite of her when she is well. what i need is some literature on psychosis signs and symptoms and effects on people families and how families can cope and deal and recognize these behaviours so that i can show my parents that what i have been saying is really happening to us and that something can be done. could u direct me to a web site on these issues or give me some advice on a different approach with my parents. i thank you very much for your time and appreciate any advice or help u can give me thx again
will this help convince your family?
what is mental illness?
mental illness is a term used for a group of disorders causing severe disturbances in thinking, feeling, and relating. they result insubstantially diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of life. mental illnesses can affect persons of any age-children, adolescents, adults, and the elderly-and they can occur in any family. several million people in the country suffer from a serious long term mental illness. the cost to society is high due to lost productivity and treatment expense. patients with mental illness occupy more hospital beds than do persons with any other illness. those with mental illnesses are usually of normal intelligence although they may have difficulty performing at a normal level due to their illness.
schizophrenia is one of the most serious and disabling of the mental illnesses. it affects approximately one person in one hundred. the disease affects men and women about equally. its onset is usually in the late teens or early twenties. people with schizophrenia usually have several of the following symptoms:
- disconnected and confused language
- poor reasoning, memory and judgment
- high levels of anxiety
- eating and sleeping disorders
- hallucinations-hearing and seeing things that exist only in the mind of the patient
- delusions - persistent false beliefs about something, e.g. others are controlling their thoughts
- deterioration of appearance and personal hygiene
- loss of motivation and poor concentration
- tendencies to withdraw from others
unfortunately there are many myths about schizophrenia. people with schizophrenia do not have a "split personality" and are not prone to criminal violence. their illness is not caused by bad parenting and it is not evidence of weakness of character. their illness is due to biochemical disturbance of the brain.
depressive illnesses are the most common of psychiatric disorders. they are generally less persistently disabling than schizophrenia. the primary disturbance in these disorders is that of affect or mood. these mood disorders may be manic depression (bipolar) in which the person swings between extreme high and low moods, or they may be unipolar in which the person suffers from persistent severe depression. about six percent of the population suffers from an affective disorder -a major cause of suicide. persons diagnosed as having bipolar illness usually have several of the following characteristics during a period of mania:
- boundless energy, enthusiasm, and need for activity
- decreased need for sleep
- grandiose ideas and poor judgment
- rapid, loud, disorganized speech
- short temper and argumentativeness
- impulsive and erratic behavior
- possible delusional thinking
- rapid switch to severe depression
persons having depression (or depressive phase of a bipolar disorder) may have four or five of the following characteristics for two weeks or longer:
- difficulty in sleeping
- loss of interest in daily activities
- loss of appetite
- feelings of worthlessness, guilt and hopelessness
- feelings of despondence or sadness
- inability to concentrate
- possible psychotic symptoms
- suicidal thoughts and even actions
other disabling mental illnesses include severe anxiety and panic disorders, personality disorders, and obsessive compulsive disorder.
causes of mental illness
the causes of biologically based brain diseases are not well understood, although it is believed that the functioning of the brain's neurotransmitters is involved. many factors may contribute to this disturbed functioning. heredity may be a factor in mental illness as it is in diabetes and cancer. stress may contribute to the onset of mental illness in a vulnerable person. recreational drugs may also contribute to onset but are unlikely to be the single cause. family interaction and early child training were once thought to cause mental illness; however, research does not support that theory any longer.
can mental illness be prevented? cured?
since the causes of long term mental illnesses are not known, there is no effective prevention at this time. more research is needed to determine causes and strategies of prevention. likewise, there are no cures for mental illnesses. however, treatments can substantially improve the functioning of persons with these disorders.
what are the treatments for mental illness?
an expanding ranges of medications markedly reduce symptoms for many people. supportive counseling, self-help support groups and community rehabilitation programs promote recovery and build self-confidence. housing and employment services enable some people to develop independent living skills, hold a job, and achieve a fulfilling life. others may need support for most or all of their lives. helping them achieve a sense of dignity with the highest degree of independence, productivity, and satisfaction with life is the goal.
the above write-up was provided by nami, the national alliance for the mentally ill, of arlington, va.
see our bibliography of brain and neurological diseases