Medical Science is discovering that mental health problems often have a physical cause. Psychological problems are no longer thought of as character weaknesses or flaws. We now know that mental health problems can begin when psycho-logical or emotional stress (such as the loss of a loved one) triggers chemical changes in the brain. While some people can withstand more stress than other, nobody is immune to mental illness.
Because mental healthy problems have physical and psychology-cal causes, both self-care and professional care are often needed. The goal is to reduce stress and to restore the normal chemical processes in the brain.
Seeking Professional Help
This chapter does not cover all mental health problems. If you have mental or emotional symptoms that are not addressed here, contact your healthy professional. In general, it is a good idea to seek professional help when:
· A symptom becomes severe or disruptive.
· A disruptive symptom becomes a continuous or permanent pattern of behavior and does not respond to self-care efforts,
· Symptoms become numerous and affect all areas of your life and do not respond to self-care or communication efforts.
· You are thinking of suicide,
There is a wide range of professional and lay resources to choose from mental healthy problems.
Family doctors: Mental healthy problems may have physical causes. Your doctor can review your medical history and medications for clues, provide some counseling, prescribe medications, or refer you to other resources.
Psychiatrists: Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in mental disorders. They counsel patients, prescribe medications, and order medical treatments.
Psychologists, Social workers, and counselors: These professionals receive special training in helping people deal with mental health problems. They help patients identify, understand, and work through disturbing thoughts and emotions.
Pastors: People often turn to their clergy for counseling and advice in times of emotional distress. Many pastors have formal training in counseling and many do not.
Support Groups: Talking with others who are coping with the same problem is often helpful.