While it's normal to feel a little overwhelmed by stress every now and then, being mentally healthy isn't always within our ability to control. When these concerns cause frequent stress and affect your ability to function, it may become a mental illness.A mentalillness is a common, but treatable, health condition that can interfere with your daily life.
Examples of signs and symptoms of mental illness include:
Feeling sad or depressed
Changes in eating habits or sex drive
Loss of interest or detachment from things you once enjoyed
Experiencing paranoia, delusions or hallucinations
Mood changes of highs and lows
Difficulties concentrating or thinking
Thoughts of harming yourself or others
Mental illnesses are often physical as well as emotional and psychological. They may be caused by a reaction to environmental stresses, genetic factors, biochemical imbalances, or a combination of these.
Examples of mental illnesses include:
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Mental Health and Substance Use
Medical research suggests there is a substantial link between mental illness and the use of addictive substances like drugs or alcohol. It can be a cyclical relationship: some people may develop a mental health condition as a result of excessive drug use. On the other hand, some people with a mental illness may take drugs to cope with or alleviate the symptoms.
People with mental illnesses are especially vulnerable to the effects of drugs and alcohol, and consumption of these substances can complicate the symptoms ofa mentalillness and create new problems. Individuals who suffer from a mental illness and substance use are known to have a 'Dual Diagnosis.' To effectively treat both problems, a comprehensive treatment plan that considers both issues to be interconnected is required.
Treating Mental Illness and Substance Use
The Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) promotes and administers comprehensive, recovery-oriented services in the areas of mental health and substance use treatment.
While prevention services apply to all Connecticut residents, DMHAS’s mandate is to serve adults 18 years of age and older with psychiatric or substance use disorders, or both, who lack the financial means to obtain such services on their own.
DMHAS is responsible for providing a wide range of treatment services to adults. This includes such services as:
Inpatient hospitalization and outpatient care
24-hour emergency care
Rehabilitation and restoration to competency
Outreach services for people with serious mental illness who are homeless
They are also the operating agency for theMental Health Waiver, which helps individuals with serious and persistent mental illness avoid living in a nursing home. It also helps others living in an institutional setting transition back to the community.