Psychology, brain diseases, and mental health are all related to what we call the mind. They each represent different approaches to the ways people think, feel, and behave. So, what do these three concepts mean, and how can they help you live a better life? It helps to have a clear understanding of each term and how they work together.
What Is Psychology?
Psychology is a relatively new science. However, even though psychology wasn't thought of as a scientific discipline yet, philosophers have been studying the mind and behavior since ancient times. Different experts have given the word different meanings, but they all view psychology as the study of the mind and behavior. The first scientific research on psychology was done in the 1830s, so as a science, it's less than 200 years old.
What Do Psychology Professionals Do?
Psychologists, therapists, and others in the psychology field study the mental processes, how they determine behavior, and how behavior can be changed. They experiment, investigate, and theorize about various themes, including personality, motivation, the unconscious mind, and development.
Psychologists and counselors who work directly with people who have mental health conditions offer treatments that are based on these studies and theories. They may provide psychological testing, mental health care, and psychological services for schools and various industries and institutions. Most practicing psychologists offer some form of talk therapy and provide consultations.
What Are Brain Diseases?
Brain diseases are physical problems that may or may not affect thoughts and behaviors. They are caused by illness, genetics, or injury. The brain controls not only thought, but also speech, memory, movement, and many biological functions. Even basic functions like breathing are controlled in the brain.
Here are just a few of the many brain diseases:
All of these diseases can affect the processes that the brain usually carries out. Some affect the physical body most, while others have a greater impact on thought and behavior. But in nearly every type of brain disease, the consequences are, to some degree, both physiological and mental.
Who Treats Brain Diseases And How?
Neurologists and neurosurgeons play a major role in treating physical brain diseases. They are doctors trained to help with the physiological problems that affect the brain. They may do tests, like the Tensilon test to observe muscle movements, the lumbar puncture to test the spinal fluid, or the EEG to observe the brain's electrical activity.
After the neurologist makes a diagnosis, they and the neurosurgeon make a treatment plan. The plan may involve medications, surgery, and various types of therapy. Usually, it takes a team of experts working together to treat brain diseases.
Often, a neuropsychologist is a part of the treatment team. The neuropsychologist can diagnose and treat psychological problems that result from brain diseases. A psychiatrist may help with psychiatric medications and other treatments. Other psychology professionals, such as a counselor or occupational therapist, may help with the treatment as well. Although not all brain diseases can be cured, certain therapy treatments (such as clinical trials and brain stimulation) can help most people either recover or deal better with the disease.
What Is Mental Health?
Mental health is the condition of your mind. It includes your psychology, your emotions, and social functioning. If you have good mental health, you can manage your thoughts, feelings, and decisions in positive ways. You can handle stress well, have good relationships, and make the decisions that are right for you. You can be productive in your work and reach your highest potential.
Types Of Mental Illness
Mental illness is very common. In any given year, 1 in 5 adults will experience some type of mental illness. Some types of mental illness include the following:
What Do Mental Health Professionals Do?
Mental health professionals seek to help people develop the skills to improve their mental and emotional well-being. As clinical psychologists, other mental health professionals usually offer some form of talk therapy, with many variations. For example, an art therapist might use talk as a part of the therapy, but what sets them apart is their use of art to help people understand themselves better and find solutions to their mental health problems. Likewise, a therapist working with someone who has PTSD might use a desensitization technique, exposing the patient gradually to the thing they fear, but they will also use talk as a part of the process.
How Psychology, Neurology, And Mental Health Are Related
The most obvious connection between the three types of specialties is that they all have something to do with the patient's mental capacities. Psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors, and other mental health professionals focus on psychological symptoms. Neurology professionals, and psychiatrists to a certain degree as well, focus on the physiological genetics, structures, electrical activity, and chemical reactions in the brain.
Even so, neurology is related to psychology and mental health because the condition of the brain can influence thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. At the same time, psychological problems may or may not come from biological problems in the brain. Also, the consequences of a long mental illness can be physically harmful, such as when a person who has depression stops taking care of their physical health.
Symptoms Of Psychological Disorders
Psychology and mental health are different aspects of the same focus on mental processes. If your mind is causing you problems, a psychologist or counselor can help. But you might not immediately recognize that the problem is related to your mental health. Here are some symptoms to watch for if you think you may be having mental health or psychological problems:
Symptoms Of Brain Diseases
Sometimes it's difficult to recognize that you have a problem with your brain. Other times, it's quite obvious. The symptoms vary from purely physiological to behavioral or emotional. It's important to remember that you need to see a doctor to be diagnosed rather than trying to figure it out for yourself. It's also helpful to know when an issue might be worth exploring.
Here is a list of some of the symptoms that can be present when you have a brain disease:
The Problem With Self-Diagnosis
People who have problems related to psychology, brain diseases, or mental health often try to determine for themselves what's wrong. They may panic themselves unnecessarily. Or, they may decide that it's nothing to worry about and ignore it. If you have lingering symptoms from either of the above two lists, especially if you have more than one of them, it's a good idea to ask a professional.
If you suspect you have a mental disorder or brain disease, the best thing to do is to get help immediately. Rather than trying to diagnose yourself, it's important to talk to an expert who knows the signs and can do certain tests to find out more. Then, if you don't have a problem, they can put your mind at ease. If you do have a mental health or brain issue, they can help you or guide you to the right professional for your condition.
If you find that your mental health issues aren't related to a biological condition, talking to an in-person or online therapist is a good way to resolve them. If you do have a physiological brain disease, a therapist can help you deal with the symptoms and may be a part of your team.
Your therapist can use their knowledge of psychology and mental health to help you understand yourself and your situation better. They can guide you to discover your solutions to your problems while at the same time using psychological techniques to help you get better.
Seeing a therapist remotely has the added benefit of not having to travel to a therapist’s office when you don’t feel well enough to do so. For example, with regard to PTSD, research with a Veteran population has shown that individual and group therapy via videoconferencing with a therapist yielded similar results in the reduction of symptoms as those found in traditional therapy. Research has also shown that there was a strong therapeutic alliance between the person receiving the therapy and the therapist. Online therapy can also help with other conditions, such as insomnia and anxiety.
Although a local counselor or psychologist may be able to help you. it might take months to get an appointment. If you'd like to address your problems sooner and in the comfort of your own home, you can connect with a counselor at BetterHelp for online therapy. Whichever you choose to do, you'll be happier and function better in life when your mind is as healthy as it can be.Read below for some reviews of BetterHelp counselors.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How is the Brain Affected by Mental Illnesses?
There’s no denying that mental illnesses and mental disorders have very real impacts on the brain. According to research on mental illness and mental health disorders, irregularities in brain circuit operations can lead to various psychological disorders and other issues.
When assessing the variety of ways that mental illness affects the brain, the specific nature of this mental illness, coupled with the symptoms are important factors. Different mental illnesses (whether it’s obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), substance abuse, dissociative disorders, etc.) impact the brain in a variety of ways.
Does Psychology Help Mental Illness?
An understanding of psychology certainly makes an enormous difference in helping mental illness. The importance of psychological understanding is made apparent by the various health services and clinical trials that exist to help individuals struggling with mental illnesses or mental disorders.
The American Psychiatric Association has documented on multiple occasions the various ways that psychology and those who specialize in it can help persons with mental illnesses. Once a medical condition is recognized and diagnosed, a wide range of health information and solutions can become readily available.
Is Mental Illness a Disease?
Due to the means by which mental illness impairs the thoughts, feelings, decisions, and even actions of individuals, it does qualify as a disease.
Mental illnesses can be tough to overcome; however, it’s important to know that in many cases, health information, diagnosis, or treatment options are available. If you believe that you or someone you love is struggling with mental illnesses, seeking professional health services is highly advisable.
Is There a Difference Between Mental Illness and Mental Disorder?
In many cases, mental illness and mental disorder are used interchangeably; however, there are some differences between the two.
Individuals who struggle with mental illnesses often require assistance in order to properly function in the world. Warning signs of mental illness also tend to be more obvious to outsiders than mental disorders; in order for people with mental illnesses to get better, medical intervention — specifically, medication — is necessary.
Mental disorders, unlike mental illnesses, can oftentimes be treated by lifestyle changes, although this isn’t always the case. While mental disorders do vary from mental illnesses in certain ways, they should both still be taken seriously. Many individuals who struggle with mental disorders may do so because of biological factors, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or an already-existing mental illness.
What are the Five Signs of Mental Illness?
According to the American Psychiatric Association, the five warning signs of mental illness are as follows:
Knowing these five warning signs of mental illness is important; however, the American Psychiatric Association and National Institute of Mental Health also document many other symptoms linked to mental illnesses. If you believe that you or someone you know is struggling with mental illnesses, don’t be afraid to seek professional help.
What Psychology Deals with Depression?
According to the American Psychiatric Association, psychotherapy is the form of psychology with the best track record of helping depressed individuals. The American Psychiatric Association also lists interpersonal therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy as great avenues to recovery for people with depression.
The National Institute of Mental Health also explains that psychotherapy can be combined with medication for individuals struggling with depression, anxiety disorders, dissociative disorders, etc. Additional findings from the National Institute of Mental Health also confirm that psychotherapy and brain stimulation exercises often come recommended by mental health specialists for depressed individuals.
How Can You Help Someone Mentally?
The opportunities to help someone mentally are more plentiful than most people realize. If you believe that someone is struggling with personality disorders, substance abuse, abuse of drug supplements, etc., then referring this person to mental health services may be a good idea.
You should also know that it’s possible to help someone mentally even if they aren’t struggling with issues like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), mental disorders, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, etc. Sometimes, providing mental help to someone can be as simple as sharing with them information from the National Institute of Mental Health, American Psychiatric Association, etc.
If someone you know has gone through clinical trials or health/mental processes, then supporting them throughout the process of diagnosis or treatment can be of help.
What Should You Not Say to a Mentally Ill Person?
Although the National Institute of Mental Health confirms that different mental illnesses can vary, there are still certain things that you should never say to a mentally ill person. Making hurtful or insensitive comments to someone who struggles with mental illness(es) can be extremely damaging.
With that being said, the following phrases should never be said to someone who struggles with mental illness:
Always remember that showing care and compassion to those who struggle with mental illnesses is important and worthwhile.
How Do You Deal with a Mentally Unstable Person?
Knowing how to deal with a mentally unstable person is a loaded subject matter. Sometimes, issues like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety disorders, personality disorders, dissociative disorders, or even a medical condition can be at the root of instability. In some cases, you may not always know why a person is struggling with mental instability; however, you do need to know how to deal.
First and foremost, you should always ensure that your own well-being is protected. If you feel in danger or threatened by someone with a mental disorder or mental instability, removing yourself from the situation is best. If someone you know is mentally unstable, yet open to receiving professional help, referring them to professional help/mental services is advisable.
What Causes Mental Illness?
Multiple credible sources (such as the National Institute of Mental Health, American Psychiatric Association, etc.) confirm that a wide range of causes for mental illness exists.
Some mental illnesses are triggered by the following:
Additional information from sources like the National Institute of Mental Health also confirms that psychological disorders, personality disorders, anxiety disorder, dissociative disorder, are linked to the above triggers. Even certain medical conditions (such as heart disease) are linked to the development of mental illnesses.
What is the Rarest Mental Illness?
Reduplicative paramnesia is the delusion that a location is either doubled, existing in multiple areas, or relocated. When most people hear of mental illness, they may think of very specific health topics, such as anxiety disorder, personality disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder; however, reduplicative paramnesia’s status as the rarest mental illness doesn’t mean that it should be taken any less seriously.
Can You Be Born Mentally Ill?
Unfortunately, there are certain cases where you can be born with a mental illness. This is confirmed by the reality that genetic predisposition is a major cause of many cases involving mental illness. However, being born with a mental illness does not mean that someone cannot have a happy or fulfilling life.
All kinds of treatment options, brain stimulation therapies, clinical trials, treatments, etc. exist to help individuals who struggle with mental illness. Sources that cover health topics, such as the National Institute of Mental Health, can also be of value to individuals who have a mental illness.
Is Mental Illness Permanent?
Some mental illnesses are permanent, while others can be treated with brain stimulation therapies, clinical trials, and mental health services.
If you or someone you know struggles with a mental illness, it’s understandable to wonder whether or not this is permanent. In a situation like this, the best way to get a professional and credible answer is to speak with experts who have the necessary mental health information.
One person’s experience with personality disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, dissociative disorders, etc., can vary from someone else’s.
What is the Hardest Mental Illness to Live With?
While it’s understandable to wonder which mental illness is the hardest to live with, there’s no one answer to this question. There are too many variables that impact mental illnesses, developments of mental illness, etc., to determine which one is most difficult.
Generally, individuals who receive mental health services, access to clinical trials, brain stimulation therapies, medicines, etc., have an easier time. How a person develops a mental illness can also play a role in how hard living with it may be; for instance, someone who was born with a mental illness will likely have a different experience than someone who developed a mental illness after heart disease, substance abuse, etc.
What is Poor Mental Health?
Sources such as the National Institute of Mental Health, American Psychiatric Association, etc., often cover mental illness; however, the ability to recognize poor mental health is equally as imperative.
Some warning signs of poor mental health include the following:
Displaying multiple signs of poor mental health can indicate that seeking mental health services is in order. There are all kinds of existing solutions, from speaking with a therapist to undergoing clinical trials, brain stimulation therapies, or even going on certain medications.
What Age Does Mental Illness Start?
There is no one age when mental illness starts. Some people are born with mental illnesses; others develop mental illnesses due to trauma, substance abuse, heart disease, abuse of drug supplements, or other external factors.
Mental illness can include, but is certainly not limited to, the following conditions: personality disorders, anxiety disorders, psychological disorders, etc.