Indices of the mental state of couples

WE started considering the impacts of mental health on enjoying a great marriage last week. This week, I want us to analyse the signs that  shows thatone’s spouse may need help in the area of mental health. Let me make it clear that it does not mean madness. Rather, it is a way of helping one or one’s spouse to stay out of madness. With the early detection of these symptoms, a state of madness is highly preventable. When we notice these signs about oneself or one’s spouse, it means it is time to seek for help, or offer supportive help to the spouse involved

What are mental health disorders?

As stated by Dr. Victor Lasebikan, in his book, Women’s Mental Health Problems, “According to World Health Organisation (WHO), mental illnesses, also called mental health disorders, refer to a wide range of mental health conditions that affect a person’s mood, thinking, and behaviour, “such as social anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, drug addiction, and personality disorders. These can be categorised as follows:

  • Anxiety disorders: These involve persons who respond to certain objects or situations with fear and dread, resulting in inappropriate physical signs of rapid heartbeat and sweating. This category includes generalised anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder and specific phobias.
  • Mood disorders: These are also called affective disorders that involve persistent feelings of excessive sadness or happiness. The most common being depression, bipolar disorder, and cyclothymiacs disorder.
  • Psychotic disorders: These involve distorted awareness and thinking, two of the most common symptoms are seeing and hearing of, imaginary images and sounds (respectively)-and delusions- false strong beliefs-. Schizophrenia is common example here.
  • Eating disorders: Eating disorders involve extreme emotions, attitudes, and behaviours involving weight and food. Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder are the most common eating disorders.
  • Impulse control and addiction disorders: These involve irresistible urges, or impulses, to act in harmful ways to self or others. Pyromania (starting fires), kleptomania (stealing), and compulsive gambling are examples of impulse control disorders. Alcohol and drug are common objects of addictions. Often, responsibilities and relationships of victims suffer.
  • Personality disorders: People with personality disorders have extreme and inflexible personality traits that are distressing to the person and/or cause problems in work, school, or social relationships. In addition, the person’s patterns of thinking and behaviour significantly differ from the expectations of society and are so rigid that they interfere with the person’s normal functioning. Examples include antisocial personality disorder, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, and paranoid personality disorder.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD): People with (OCD) are enslaved by constant thoughts or fears that cause them to perform certain rituals or routines. Such disturbing thoughts are called obsessions, and the rituals are called compulsions. A person with an unreasonable fear of germs, who constantly washes his or her hands, falls into this category.

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  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): PTSD is a condition that is an aftermath of a traumatic and/or terrifying event, such as a sexual or physical assault, sudden death of a loved one, or a natural disaster. These play out as lasting and frightening thoughts and memories of the event that result into emotional distress.
  • Stress response syndromes (formerly called adjustment disorders): These occur as a result of life stressors such as natural disasters,(earthquake or tornado); car accident; sudden development of major illness; or interpersonal problems of divorce, death of a loved one, loss of a job, or a problem with substance abuse; work pressure due sudden additional responsibility.

Dissociative disorders: People with these disorders suffer severe disturbances or changes in memory, consciousness, identity.

Common indices of mental health disorders.

  • Long lasting sadness or irritation.
  • Extremely high or low mood. This could be loss of energy or interest in relationships, according to Dr. Ayodele Ajayi.(U.K. based consultant Psychiatrist)
  • Excessive fear, worry, or anxiety
  • Self isolation: Sudden withdraw from the public by keeping to self.
  • Sudden changes in eating or sleeping habits. Excessive eating or sleeping habits. Loss of appetite.

All these are clear indications that one or one’s spouse needs help in the area of mental health. Prompt action will save the marriage from serious crisis. At this point, “a stitch in time saves” should be the slogan.

References: Women’s Mental Health Problems by Dr. Victor O. Lasebikan.

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