How to recognize alcoholism, depression and other mental disorders


More than a billion people worldwide suffer from mental health problems. 

Mental (or mental) disorders are not uncommon in the modern world. According to Mental health 2016, a couple of years ago, there were more than 1.1 billion people worldwide with some form of mental illness.

Total allocate the DSM-5: The Encyclopedia of Mental Disordersabout 300 types of disorders. In research, Mental health provides statistics on the distribution of the most common of them:

  • anxiety disorder, 275 million;
  • depression – 268 million;
  • alcohol use disorder (alcoholism) 100 million
  • drug use disorder (excluding AlcoholAlcohol) 62 million
  • bipolar disorder 40 million
  • schizophrenia – 21 million;
  • eating disorder (anorexia and bulimia) 10.5 million

Each country has its own prevalence of mental disorders. So, for example, in Russia, the first place is occupied by Mental health alcoholism, and depression and anxiety disorders – the second and third, respectively.

Like any disease, mental problems can be diagnosed and must be treated. You cannot hope for change. You cannot get rid of these diseases in a week with the help of pills and hot tea, like from ARVI, and you certainly cannot do it alone – there should be support at all stages.

Signs of a mental disorder

Despite the widespread prevalence of mental disorders, the causes of many of them are not fully understood.

All mental processes are brain processes. Therefore mental disorders are biological diseases. Where else can it be concentrated? The roots of mental illness, if not in the brain?

Unfortunately, a mental disorder cannot be detected with a blood test, like most other diseases. In addition, the process of the course of the disease is individual, and a lot depends on its nature, which creates additional difficulties in diagnosis.

Common signs

The public organization Mental Health America compiled Mental Illness and the Family: Recognizing Warning Signs and How to Cope list of alarms to watch out for:

  • confused thinking;
  • prolonged depression, sadness, or irritability;
  • increased arousal or sharp decrease inactivity;
  • excessive anxiety and obsessive fears;
  • social isolation;
  • a sharp change in eating habits and daily routine;
  • strange thoughts (delusional illusions);
  • hallucinations;
  • a progressive inability to cope with daily tasks that were previously easy;
  • suicidal thoughts;
  • unreasonable physical illness;
  • abuse of illegal drugs or Alcohol.

The presence of at least two signs from the list is already a reason to contact a specialist.

The organization’s website can test for signs of a specific mental disorder, such as depression, an eating disorder, or addiction.

Signs of alcoholism

  • An irresistible urge to drink, on the verge of necessity.
  • The person is not aware of the degree of intoxication.
  • The appearance of the syndrome of alcohol Withdrawal Syndromecancellation. It occurs when you give up AlcoholAlcohol or significantly reduce its dose and is not a common hangover. Among the characteristic symptoms: increased sweating, loss of appetite, sleep disturbance, tachycardia, nausea, anxiety and fear, and in an especially acute form – the appearance of hallucinations and suicidal thoughts.
  • Decreased susceptibility to AlcoholAlcohol. It takes more and more dose for intoxication to occur.
  • Ignoring other interests in favour of Alcohol.
  • Ignoring the obvious and proven harm of AlcoholAlcohol, as well as the fact of disgusting health the next day.

To talk about serious alcohol addiction, you must AlcoholAlcohol use disorders fall under at least three signs.

Signs of depression

Depression is an insidious and dangerous disease that in its most acute forms can provoke suicidal tendencies. It can also be a sign of more serious problems, such as bipolar disorder. Bipolar Disorder…

Seek help immediately if you notice several of these symptoms at the same time in yourself or your loved one:

  • permanent sadness and anxiety, a feeling of emptiness;
  • feeling of hopelessness;
  • increased irritability;
  • an unreasonable feeling of guilt, one’s own uselessness and helplessness;
  • loss of interest in hobbies or complete lack of pleasure in what you love;
  • constant feeling of tiredness ;
  • slowing down of speech and movements;
  • excessive anxiety;
  • difficulty concentrating, remembering and making decisions;
  • trouble sleeping (waking up too early or sleeping too long);
  • changes in appetite and weight;
  • thoughts of death or suicide;
  • unreasonable headaches, cramps, or digestive problems that can’t even be cured by medication.

Depression should not be underestimated. This is a real disease that can lead to irreparable consequences.

Signs of General Anxiety Disorder

The feeling of anxiety is familiar to everyone. It is a part of our life. It’s okay to worry about an important interview or public speaking, but it’s okay in moderation. When anxiety escalates Anxiety disorders into a mental disorder, it does not disappear anywhere but becomes your faithful companion.

It is worth planning a trip to a specialist if you notice the following signs for several months:

  • permanent anxiety and nervousness;
  • fast fatiguability;
  • difficulty concentrating;
  • irritability;
  • muscle tension;
  • inability to manage your anxiety;
  • sleep problems (difficult to fall asleep, difficult to wake up, and restless and intermittent sleep).

The problem can be recognized not only by general anxiety. There are also more specific manifestations:

  • Panic disorder is sudden attacks of unnecessary fear (panic attacks) that are accompanied by chest pain, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, or dizziness. Panic attack symptoms often mimic those of a heart attack.
  • Social anxiety disorder (social phobia) – the emergence of severe fear and increased anxiety in connection with various social situations (new acquaintances, public speaking, eating in a public place).
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder is the involuntary appearance of obsessive thoughts (obsessions), from which a person tries to get rid of through rituals – obsessive actions (compulsions).
  • Post-traumatic stress – prolonged increased anxiety (several months), an overwhelming feeling of fear and helplessness after psychological trauma (robbery, rape, death of a loved one).
  • Phobias are pronounced obsessive fears that cannot be overcome on their own.

Barriers to problem recognition

Before solving a problem, it must be discovered and, importantly, recognized. The topic of mental disorders is not that taboo, but not everyone dares to talk about them directly. No one is ashamed to take sick leave for angina, but it is not always easy to take time off from work for a psychotherapist session.

Not everyone takes mental disorders seriously, and those in need of help are afraid that, as soon as they announce their problem, they will immediately be hung with one of the labels.

Misconception about the problem in society

Depression is not about “drinking coffee on the windowsill, dreaming about it.” This is completely different. It happens that the term is used in a context that has nothing to do with an illness: they complain of depression after the death of a favourite hero of the series or because of a broken nail.

Depression is simplified. There is an absolutely wrong opinion about the problem due to the lack of association with the clinical disease, which depression really is.

Special treatment for people with mental disorders

Fear of being branded as a madman may seem like a compelling argument for many not to seek psychological help from a specialist. Unfortunately, everyone has to deal with tactless people who, for inexplicable reasons, do not see the difference between acceptable and unacceptable. But in no case should they stand in the way between you and your health.

With an increase in the percentage of people suffering from mental disorders, the number of help and support centres increases, and at the same time, the population’s awareness of this acute problem increases. Hopefully, the perception will change dramatically soon.

Fear of being alone

You are not alone. You are one of over a billion people with a similar problem. And recognizing this, it is very important to conduct timely diagnosis and start treatment. There are remote support centres that are ready to provide assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a week.


It is your task to take the first step and turn to him at least for advice.

In addition, your task is to help those who find themselves in difficult situations. If you notice clear symptoms of a mental disorder in a friend or relative, and he categorically refuses to acknowledge them, then you will be responsible for supporting a loved one.

It is often the first steps that are the most difficult, and once you take them, you will realize that you are already on the road to recovery.

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