Mental illnesses/disorders have been on the rise since 1971, and with it, the call for better mental healthcare. Several factors including the rapid evolution of culture and technology have led to people wondering whether or not they’re experiencing any mental disorder at all, and how they could help themselves if ever.
Though there is no one mental illness test to determine whether or not you are completely healthy mentally. Proper diagnosis by medical or mental healthcare professionals can more or less help you determine your current state, what you can do, who to reach out for, and how you can help yourself.
Why Should You Care About Mental Health?
Mental health is just as important as your physical well-being. Depending on your current state, your mental health may directly affect your emotions and actions. Poor mental health can also creep into your work and social life, possibly disrupting your outlook in life.
There are a number of ways mental illnesses can affect you, including the following:
- Generally low energy towards any activity.
- Recurring mood swings.
- Feelings of anxiety, fear, and/or worry.
- Loss of motivation.
- Avoiding social interactions.
In case you are having any thoughts of self-harm, suicide, or the like, please contact a mental health professional as soon as possible.
If you feel like you or a loved one needs immediate mental health attention, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 for support and assistance from a trained counselor. Do not hesitate to call 911 if you or a loved one is in danger.
How Are Mental Illnesses Diagnosed?
There are multiple mental health symptoms that can be diagnosed by your doctor. In case they feel like they won’t be able to help you properly, they may refer you to other healthcare professionals that are more familiar with the problem.
Mental health assessments include physical tests, lab tests, examinations, interviews, and questionnaires, each carried by different professionals.
Physical tests are usually handled by your primary care physician (PCP) or family doctor in order to rule out any physical health problems that may affect your mood. This is important given that some medical conditions have similar symptoms to that of mental health conditions.
Doctors may also look into your personal history, and ask you questions about your life in general in order to assess key contributors to any stress you may be feeling. External stresses or stimuli may be temporary or recurring, so this step is also important to rule out trauma or temporary problems. Some of these questions may involve your personal life, your social life, and your work life.
A mental health evaluation is also necessary in order to assess your emotions and behavior and whether or not it is indicative of a mental illness or not. Usually, they will ask you about which symptoms you experience, when you experience them, how often they occur, and how they have affected your life so far. They may also ask you to answer some questionnaires during this process.
What Happens After A Diagnosis?
Once a PCP rules out possible physical problems, they may make a diagnosis of mental illness and refer the patient to either a psychiatrist or psychologist, depending on their need.
Before their treatment, a patient and his/her loved ones may be interviewed to profile the patient’s current situation and how to tackle the problem properly. Some symptoms may be obvious from the get-go, while others may be found out only after careful observation.
They usually use the Diagnostic Statistic Manual (DSM-5) as a reference for diagnosis. The DSM-5 outlines the criteria for mental illnesses and is commonly used to specify certain mental illnesses.
What Are Screening Tests For?
Mental health screening tests are used to look for signs and symptoms of mental disorders. They do not necessarily diagnose a mental illness, but rather they can be a basis for whether or not a patient would need further evaluation by a professional.
Screening tests can be administered by physicians or family doctors during a regular check-up and involve general questions that involve the patient’s mood and emotions from a day-to-day basis. This can be done via a written questionnaire or verbally.
There are also many online screening tests that are available for free. These tests can help determine whether or not you would need to seek professional help. If you are unsure about the results yourself, you can share them with your doctor for a more professional opinion.
What Are Psychological Tests For?
Psychological tests are used to assess and clarify the symptoms of a general diagnosis. Some of these tests include the following:
- Schizophrenia Test and Early Psychosis Indicator (STEP)
- Beck Depression Inventory (BDI)
- Dissociative Experiences Scale
- Goldberg Bipolar Spectrum Screening Questionnaire
- Hamilton Anxiety Scale (HAM-A)
- Yale-Brown Obsessive Compulsive Scale
Psychological tests may help identify other disorders and medical conditions that may affect an individual’s mental health, as well as see how they respond to certain stimuli. These tests can be administered either digitally, orally, or through written examinations depending on the proctor.
How You Can Help Yourself
The stigma of having a mental health disorder is not as bad as it was before. Reaching out and seeking help is never a bad idea, especially when things feel overwhelming sometimes. There are many online resources that you can try, and support groups you can join in.
Your emotions and drive are important contributors to your mental health. Surround yourself with positivity and like-minded people that can bring you genuine happiness. Take the time to focus on what you love doing, and ask for help when you think you cannot do it all alone.
If you or someone you know is struggling with drug addiction in Long Beach, don’t hesitate to seek help. Visit Roots Through Recovery mental health treatment center in South Bay located at 3939 Atlantic Ave, Suite 102 Long Beach, CA 90807 or call (866) 766-8776.
There’s nothing wrong with having a mental illness. It’s only wrong if you choose to keep it to yourself and affect others. Call or visit us today!