Wednesday, April 24, 2019

U - Untreated Mental Illness #AtoZ #MentalHealthAwareness

About 50% of individuals with severe psychiatric disorders (3.5 million people) are receiving no treatment. By 2020, mental health disorders are projected to overtake all physical diseases as a more recurrent cause of disability.

A mental illness rarely fits its textbook mould. Every case is unique, and many different factors interact to form the symptoms experienced by each individual.

Statistics show the alarming consequences of an undiagnosed or untreated mental illness:
  • ·         People with schizophrenia die from health complications at twice or triple the rate of the general population.
  • ·         In the U.S., suicide claims a life roughly once every 15 minutes, with the alarming majority having an undiagnosed mental illness.  This makes suicide the 3rd leading cause of death for young adults in the U.S.
  • ·         Roughly a quarter of all young adults in trouble with the law have symptoms of a serious mental illness.
  • ·         People living with serious mental illnesses live on average 25 years less than those without.

Mental health problems take a toll not only on those directly affected, but on friends and family members as well. Thy symptoms of mental illness are often misunderstood, and a significant amount of false information and stereotypes are perpetuated about people with mental illnesses. Education is the most important step to understanding mental health problems, and the best thing loved ones of a mentally ill person can do is to learn about the nature, symptoms and treatment options of the mental illness in question.

Many mental disorders go undiagnosed because the sufferer is simply unaware their symptoms aren’t normal. They might feel the need to internalize the problems they’re having for fear others won’t understand, or they might not see the pattern of dysfunction their behavior is causing in their everyday life. It’s vital for friends and family members to speak up when they see a problem because that’s often the only way a person will realize the need for help.

Persistent symptoms often drive people to self-medicate, which is the act of abusing drugs or alcohol in order to get temporary relief from their symptoms. This behavior is typically observed in those with a chronic condition, particularly mental disorders, and can be a more accessible than professional treatment depending on the individual case. However, self-medication is only initially effective. After it becomes the standard solution for symptoms, it shortly becomes the same for any ills whatsoever. This progression soon gives way to substance abuse and addiction followed by patients turning one mental condition into two, each enabling the other to spiral out of control.

A crippling delay between the initial appearance of symptoms and the beginning of treatment allows for the condition to become more severe, the potential co-occurrence of other mental illnesses, and a lower treatment success rate as people age and their disorders become ingrained in their identities.

DISCLAIMER: All the information being provided her has been sourced from the internet and books and some also via personal experiences. It has no medical authentication per se so suggestions if followed must be done in consultation with a trained mental health professional.


This post is a part of April Blogging from A To Z Challenge
You can find all my posts here.


  1. Very, very good points! As you pointed out, many don't realize their own feelings are not "normal," that not everyone feels they way they do. Add in the stigma of mental illness, and it's no wonder so many choose to forego treatment. Even in areas of the world with good treatment options, there's still the stereotypes to deal with.

  2. You are so right Lisa however the rate of untreated mental illness is almost double in developing and poorer countries because the societies there also remain unlettered and backward so the taboo is more too

  3. Undoubtedly mental illness is one of the most difficult condition to treat. First, we all think differently. For the sake of simplicity we have divided one end of mental activity to be genius and another to lunatic. Rest those who fall in-between may have a wide range yet all are called normal. So apparently, normal near lunatic end and normal near genius end may fall in the same category but may feel and express themselves differently. So they may have exhibit mental activity and problems thereof differently. Second, since we all think through our mind, we may not even know there is something wrong with us. Because whatever we are doing, we may think is normal and right. I think we must develop routing behavrioural and neurological tests and get ourselves evaluated regularly for any deviation.

  4. Yes Abhijit first of all "normal" and "abnormal" needs to be redefined and more empathy more sensitivity

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