CHAPTER 5 Mental and Emotional Problems WHAT DO YOU THINK? • Emotionally healthy people handle life’s problems without any help. • False: emotionally healthy people often benefit from professional help, and it is well worth seeking. • Anxiety is always a sign of a serious mental problem. • False: ordinary anxiety is a normal emotion that everyone experiences from time to time. • Depression is one of the most common mental disorders. • True COPING WITH DIFFICULT EMOTIONS • On any given day, you may experience a wide variety of emotions • Emotions are neither positive nor negative • Feelings such as anger or fear may be unpleasant, but that does not make them wrong • It’s the way you deal with these emotions that can be good or bad for your health • Emotions can be managed! Learning to handle emotions in a positive way will protect your physical, emotional, and social health. FEAR AND ANXIETY • Fear is a normal, instinctive response to a dangerous situation. It can trigger the stress response that we learned in chapter four. • Fear is healthy when it encourages you to be careful in a dangerous situation. • Some things that frighten us may cause an unreasonable amount of fear. This is called a phobia (we will learn about these in the next section). FEAR AND ANXIETY • Anxiety- an emotional state of high energy that triggers the stress response and is related to fear. • Anxiety is natural and can either be helpful or harmful to us. • If you feel increased anxiety while taking a test, it may help you perform better. • Extreme anxiety can hurt your performance by making you feel overwhelmed and causing you to freeze up. DEALING WITH ANXIETY OR FEAR • 1. Identify the cause. What do you fear? Write it down. • 2. Deal with the cause if you can • 3. If you can’t change the cause, let it go. • 4. Try to envision a positive outcome. Focus on success • 5. Use any extra energy for physical activity. • 6. Practice relaxation techniques. SADNESS AND GRIEF • Sadness is a NORMAL reaction to events in your life (bad grades, break-up) • Sadness can be mild and brief or deep and long-lasting • The deepest form of sadness is grief – the emotional response to a major loss, such as the death of a loved one • People who feel sad may say that they are “depressed”, but sadness and depression are not the same thing. • Sadness is a normal and temporary emotion, while depression is a serious illness that interferes with a person’s daily life. ANGER • During your teen years, the increased levels of hormones in your body may cause you to become angry over small things • It is important to learn how to manage your anger so you do not risk damaging your relationships with others. • To control anger you must first recognize what is causing the anger, then you can think about ways to deal with the problem • It is important to first cool off before taking any action • Take a walk • Listen to music • Write down your thoughts in a journal GUILT AND SHAME • Guilt is the normal feeling that arises from the conscience when a person acts against internal values • The best way to deal with appropriate guilt is to admit you are wrong • Sometimes people feel guilty for things that are not their fault (divorce) • Shame is a feeling of being inherently unworthy • Shame means feeling bad about who you are as a person • Feelings of shame can be linked to serious mental problems • Remember: guilt is about what you do while shame is about who you are MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL DISORDERS • Everyone experiences difficult emotions from time to time, but when emotional problems interfere with daily life, that could be a sign of mental illness. • Mental illness can interfere with work, personal relationships, and even basic daily tasks like bathing. WARNING SIGNS OF MENTAL ILLNESS • Personality Change • Inability to cope with problems • Difficulty performing daily tasks • Unrealistic Ideas • Excessive Anxiety • Prolonged Depression or indifference to the world • Change in eating and sleeping • Extreme highs and lows in mood • Excessive anger, hostility, or violent behavior • Thoughts of suicide or homicide (needs immediate help!) ANXIETY DISORDERS • Anxiety disorders can be severe and disabling • Phobias- an extreme, irrational fear of an object or situation • Social Anxiety- extreme fear in the presence of other people • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder- an uncontrollable fixation on specific thoughts and behaviors • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder- serious stress reaction in response to a terrifying event • Panic Disorder- sudden, unexplained attacks of terror MOOD DISORDERS • Mood disorders involve extremes of emotion • Depression • Persistent feeling of apathy, hopelessness, or despair. • One of the most common mental disorders (one out of every ten people) • People who experience symptoms of depression for longer than two weeks should seek professional help • Bipolar Disorder • Extreme highs and lows of emotions • People with this disorder bounce back and forth from depression • Their mood swings can go from extreme happiness to extreme irritability or aggression • They also have difficulty concentrating and display poor judgment and reckless behavior OTHER DISORDERS • Schizophrenia • Severe mental disorder that causes people to lose touch with reality • Addiction • Physical or psychological dependence on a particular substance, habit, or behavior • Eating Disorders • Anorexia Nervosa • Bulimia Nervosa • Binge Eating Disorder EMOTIONAL HEALING • Therapy is any activity or treatment that helps a person cope with a mental or emotional problem. • Many teens seek therapy to help them through troubled periods in their lives. • Some examples include: • Depression, anxiety, or stress • Eating disorders • Learning or attention problems that affect school • Painful events (serious illness, death, divorce, etc.) • Substance abuse • Everyday problems like managing anger or coping with peer pressure TYPES OF THERAPY • Psychotherapy • Therapy in which the patient discusses problems with a trained therapist • Family Therapy • Members of a family meeting with a therapist to discuss problems that affect them as a group • Group Therapy • Several people with similar problems receive support from each other and from a counselor • Behavior Therapy • A therapist helps a person break an unhealthy pattern of behavior through a system of rewards and desensitization (overcoming fears) SEEKING HELP • If you feel like you may need help with a mental or emotional problem, there are several places you can look. • Your first step would be to talk to a parent or guardian • Other people who may offer help: • Teachers • Guidance Counselor • Religious Leader • Doctor • Community Health Centers • Crisis Hotlines • Support Groups SEEKING HELP • If you choose a therapist, it is important to choose one you are comfortable with. • During your first visit you may want to ask the following questions: • How long have you been practicing? • What are your office hours? • How much do you charge, will my insurance cover it? • Do you work with teens regularly? • Do you have experience helping people with problems like mine? • What is your basic approach to treatment? • If you are not satisfied with the answers you get, keep looking until you find someone who is a good fit for you. MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS • People with these titles are qualified to offer therapy. Any others who claim to provide mental health services may not be trustworthy Name Services Training Psychiatrist Can provide medical and psychiatric evaluations and prescribe medications Medical degree and four years of specialized training Psychologist Perform psychological testing and treat emotional and behavioral problems Graduate degree in psychology Psychiatric Nurse May assess and treat mental College degrees ranging illnesses and in some states from associate’s to doctoral prescribe medication Social Worker Assess and treat mental illnesses and help people with everyday life issues Master’s degree in social work Counselor Provide counseling to individuals families and groups Master’s degree in psychology or counseling plus a license from the state where they practice HELPING OTHERS • Recognize when it is possible to help a friend and when professional help is necessary. • Some problems require a trained professional, an untrained person can cause more trouble by saying the wrong things. • Caring and support are important to those suffering from severe mental illness • Another way to help those who have been diagnosed with a mental disorder is to talk honestly about their condition • Do not judge or label those with a mental illness, treat them as you would treat anyone else with respect and consideration.