You Are Not Alone
If you think that someone you
love has a mental illness, you are not alone. More than 20%
of adult Americans experience some form of mental illness during
the course of a year. 2.8% of the population in a year
(about 5 million adult Americans in 1990) suffer from severe
mental disorders--disorders with psychotic symptoms such as
bipolar disorder, schizo-affective disorder and schizophrenia.
Mental illness makes it hard for
people to cope with their emotions or think clearly. It can
cause them to behave in unusual or inappropriate ways. It
can bring untold suffering to families.
A first step to mental wellness
is recognizing there's a problem and realizing your family can get
Mental Illness Is A Medical Illness
Like diabetes or muscular
dystrophy, mental illness is no one's "fault." It
appears to be caused by imbalances of chemicals in the
brain. Stress, heredity, medical illness, and physical
injury to the brain are also thought to be factors in causing
mental disorders. Ordinarily, people can handle the problems and
stresses of daily living by themselves. Sometimes, during
extremely stressful situations, like the loss of a loved one, they
may seek professional assistance to help them cope. If
someone you love has a mental illness, you may need to seek
professional assistance to help your family cope.
Warnings Signs That Indicate You May Need to Ask for Professional Help
anxiety or fear that is almost constant and seems out of
proportion to the situation.
loss of confidence, withdrawing from friends and activities,
or hopelessness that doesn't go away.
in mood or behavior that are abrupt and that are radical
departures from usual patterns.
such as headaches or nausea, that seem to have no explainable
that you and/or your family don't have to go it alone. There
are treatments and counselors available to help you or your loved
Different Types of Mental Illness Include
DISORDERS - Everyone feels anxious at some time or other. Anxiety
often occurs during the early stages of schizophrenia, and it
often occurs in mood disorders. However, anxiety is the
central symptom on a group of disorders called anxiety
DISORDERS - An inflexible pattern of thinking and behavior
that deviates markedly from what's expected can indicate a
personality disorder. Dysfunctional perceptions, emotions and
control of impulses cause poor social and occupational
adjustment. Personality disorders usually begin when
people are teenagers or young adults.
DISORDERS - Schizophrenia usually begins when people are
teenagers or young adults, but it can begin later on.
Symptoms must be present for at least 6 months in order for
schizophrenia to be diagnosed. The symptoms of
schizophrenia are generally categorized with positive or
- Depression, mania and bipolar disorder are called mood
How to Get Help
George S. Thompson is a licensed Professional Counselor and Licensed Marriage &
Family Therapist in Texas with 30 years of experience helping Houston-area residents cope with mental illness and
other life problems. Call 713-395-1555 Ext. 2651 today and schedule your first consultation. Get the
caring, professional help that you and your loved ones need.
Read about treatment options and how your family can help a loved one suffering from mental illness.