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Sunrise By David Coy: Unspoken Illness

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By David Coy

The National Institute of Health estimates that one in five people have some type of mental illness. That equates to approximately 20-25 percent of our population. It may be that family members think they are alone in struggling with some type of disorder or illness of the mind. They are not alone, but they may feel that they are. This is partly because as a society we do not like to talk about this topic, which magnifies the feeling of being alone and the grief that commonly develops in living with and attempting to support family members with mental illness. Why mental illness develops in the mind of some people can only be speculated. Traumatic injury and stress are thought to be two possible causes. Drug use and abuse is another cause and one we do not like to admit is linked to mental illness. Decades ago, women were given a drug Thalidomide while pregnant to prevent miscarriages, and it was later discovered to cause birth defects in their children. Our gene pool and brain chemistry has been altered because of a variety of reasons, and in some people, mental illness has developed. Another example is huffing. A popular pastime with youth in some segments of our society. Spraying any kind of aerosol into a bag and inhaling can damage the balance of brain function and chemicals produced in the brain for a balanced function. Cannabis also damages the brain’s natural balanced function.
How do we help those with mental illness? First, incorporate them as part of family as well as society. Second, support treatment with medication and counseling as necessary. Do not shy away from talking about this topic; become knowledgeable about and provide a strong support system for individuals and families.
This is Sunrise Aftercare, sunrise@sfdcares.com.

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