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Mental health awareness

We all have the potential to develop mental health problems no matter our age, gender, ethnic group or financial situation. Studies have revealed that about one third of South Africans suffer from some form of mental illness. In essence, more than 17-million people in South Africa deal with depression, substance abuse, anxiety, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

A mental illness is a physical illness of the brain that causes disturbances in thinking, behavior, energy or emotion that makes it difficult to cope with the ordinary demands of life

The most common mental health disorders are anxiety disorders, mood disorders and schizophrenia disorders.

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Anxiety Disorders:  The individual has a severe fear or anxiety which is linked to certain objects or situations. Examples include Panic disorder, Phobias, Obessessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD

Mood Disorders: Mood disorders are also known as depressive disorders. Indiviauls with thse conditions have significant changes in mood, generally involving either mania (elation) or depression. Examples include major depression, Bipoloar disorder, Persistent depressive disorder and Seasonal Affective disorder (SAD).

Schizophrenia disorders:  Whether or not schizophrenia is a single disorder or a group of related illnesses has yet to be fully determined. It is a highly complex condition. Schizophrenia normally begins between the ages of 15 and 25. The individual has thoughts that appear fragmented; they also find it hard to process information.

There are various ways people with mental health problems receive treatment. It is important to know that what works for one person may not work for another, this especially the case with mental health. Some strategies or treatments are more successful when combined with others. A patient with a chronic mental disorder may choose different options at different stages in their life.

Treatments can include psychotherapy, medication and self-help.

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