"It's All in Your Head" What is mental health? Mental health is a part of well being that deals with the mind, the chemistry of the brain, and how one views situations that he / she may encounter. In other words, it affects anything that has to do with "thinking" about anything that one needs to do, and any emotion that is felt. In this essay, the background of mental health, different mental illnesses, and current treatments that are used to help people with these illnesses will be discussed. According to many sources, about one in five adult Americans (18 and older) suffer from mental health problems including depressive disorders, dysthymia disorders, bipolar, schizophrenia, anxiety, panic disorders, OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder), PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), phobia, eating disorders, ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), Autism, and finally, Alzheimer's disease.

All of these illnesses have dramatic and saddening effects that can forever change a person's life, but in this essay the three main mental illnesses that will be further informed are depression, OCD, and schizophrenia. Depression is a mental disorder that is becoming more and more common amongst many nations and many people, and although many consider it to be "contagious" like a virus, others consider it to be something non-existent to the human race (in denial of the existence). Depression is a mental state of depressed mood characterized by feelings of sadness, despair and discouragement. Depression ranges from normal feelings of the blues through dysthymia to major depression.

It in many ways resembles the grief and mourning that follow bereavement, there are often feelings of low self esteem, guilt and self reproach, withdrawal from interpersonal contact and physical symptoms such as eating and sleep disturbances. In addition, individuals who do experience this have the tendency to being substance abuse, dramatic weight gain, and various addictions that are harmful to their bodies and contribute to further mental destruction. Furthermore, the common victims of this illness are usually women, as a matter of fact nearly twice as many women as men are affected by a depressive disorder each year this translates to be 12. 4 million women and 6. 4 million men in the U.

S. alone. although there are many alternative ways to help cope with this illness through prescription medication such as Zoloft, Prozac and many more on the market, many people tend to stay away from these drugs due to their horrific side effects such as internal abdominal bleeding, nausea, brain tumors, and even worse - suicide. There are even those who do not recognize or even realize that they are depressed, letting the problem get worse over periods of years, but for those who do detect the illness can be easily treated through therapy provided by many licensed psychologists.

In addition to depression there are many other mental illnesses that strike individuals, one in particular that is truly unique is schizophrenia, a mental condition where a group of psychotic disorders usually characterized by withdrawal from reality, irrational patterns of thinking, delusions, and hallucinations, and accompanied in unstable degrees by other emotional, behavioral, or intellectual disturbances. Schizophrenia is associated with dopamine imbalances in the brain, defects the frontal lobe and is caused by genetic or other biological and psychosocial factors. Schizophrenia affects approximately 2. 2 million Americans or about 1. 1 percent of Americans in a given year that are 18 and older, and equally affects males and females having extremely comparable statistics, and often appears in late teens to early adults (19-29). In this condition victims have the tendencies to claim hearing voices in their heads which tell them to perform certain tasks, or carry out missions that literally make them act out an entire series of events.

Some individuals talk to the voices that they hear and become hostile and violent in voice tone and physical actions, sometimes becoming an extreme danger for people to be around. Although there is no current cure for schizophrenia, there are new and advanced ways of preventing the illness along with early detection that will prevent an individual from suffering and dealing with the severe side effects that come along with it. Many mental illnesses combined may cause schizophrenia, but there is one mental illness that many people have who do not even realize that they have and they rather call it an alternative way to live life. People who have the tendencies to do things repeatedly and obsessively in perhaps a "special" way have a serious condition called Obsessive Compulsive Disorder or commonly referred to simply as OCD. OCD affects 3. 3 billion people in America between the ages of 18 and 54 in a given year, which approximately converts to 2.

3 percent of the population. OCD is a disorder where a person who has a psychoneurotic disorder that is beset with obsessions or compulsions or both, and suffers extreme anxiety or depression through failure to think the obsessive thoughts or perform the compelling acts (Neufeld t 406). People with this disorder usually have the tendency to be extremely clean, or are extremely unorganized, collecting all and items. Hoarding is a common symptom of this illness, where individuals collect items and never eliminate them thinking that they will need them sometime in their life, and that a specific item may be the item that will save them in case of a hostage or some sort of tragic event in their life. Moreover, there are ways of treating this illness effectively with therapy and medication combined, but medication has the tendency to cause adverse side effects to the patient depending on the severity of the illness. If the patient has had the illness since childhood, then there is little help that can be provided that individual, however if the illness is fairly new (5 years old) the illness Can be effective and successful without any adverse side effects.

According to many sources, most mental illnesses are derived by past experiences that were traumatic and or extremely disturbing to that particular person, causing them to have a series of behaviors or disorders and obsessions causing mental illnesses to derive. As a matter of fact, 54 percent of mental illnesses are derived by either a disturbing or traumatic event in early childhood and can cause a person to become irritable making them obsessive over the condition in which they live their life or even obsessive over the people they encounter. Overall, all mental illnesses begin with somewhat unnoticeable symptoms that can be very crucial to the ailment of the illness at that time. Signs such as depressed mood, irritability, aggressiveness, constant fatigue, a total change in personality, and even a different perspective on life can be major keys to doors of mental illness, and together they all produce a severe danger to a person who experiences these symptoms of mental illness. Mental illness seems to be something that is not mentioned of very often and is something that more and more people are experiencing day after day, the longer people ignore this issue the worse the condition and cures for mental illness there will be. As many doctors try to find the cause of mental illness, there is something that can do to help find this cause...

Maybe it is the amount of stress that the nation is under with war, the declining condition of the economy, and or maybe the media threatening the nation with constant fears of weapons of mass destruction that can be lowered. Or maybe it is the fact that our everyday lives are becoming more complicated with technology, which is supposed to help us. But how will we ever know if we do not look at this problem seriously and urgently? Works Cited " Discovery health. com." Mental Health. November 28, 2004. Discovery Communications Inc.

November 29, 2004. "CME." Mental Health Information and Statistics. December 9, 2003. U. S. Department of Health and Human Services.

November 29, 2004. "AYN Health Centre." Mental Health. Health Canada. November 30, 2004.