Monday, 2 June 2014

An expert by experience shares their view about physical and mental health.

Physical health care monitoring for people with serious mental illness.

“People with mental health problems often have complex and long-term difficulties with their physical health such as weight gain, smoking and heart problems. They sometimes do not take care of themselves, have inactive lifestyles and may not be able to cope with daily life or work. People with mental health problems have higher rates of diabetes, lung disease, cancer, heart problems, HIV/Aids and other infectious diseases.”

Mental Health of a patient can only be viewed at different stages. I prefer to give them a colour spectrum. Green when they are well. Amber when they are moving into a transitional stage towards psychosis or depression. Red when they are in psychosis or deep depression.
Green = Amber = Red

1. At the Green stage, the patient has a good sense of well being. They are happy. Makes plans for future. Take on projects. Socialise with family and friends. Get involved in social and extra curricular activities. Note: this can only happen to this level if the psychiatric medication is not interfering with the natural progress of their wellness. By this I mean, the side effects of unnaturally lowered metabolism. Side effects of Cognitive functions being inhibited or switched off in some cases depending on dosage. Side effect of intellect being suppressed. Side effect of Perception eroded. And many more. But these are just basic criteria for the patient to be happy and fully compos to be in the Green zone.

2. At the Amber stage some patients are so well acquainted with their illness, that they will know the change has or is coming over. They may not always be clued enough to seek advice/ help at this stage. Something I have always done. I knew when I hit the Amber. But have waited many times for it to subside which has eventually taken me to Red. This is a mis- calculation. Amber stage should never happen if you are fully recovered. If you hit Amber, the chances are you are really going on to progress into Red stage. And that’s where a small increase in dosage of the medication nips in the bud the progression of illness to Red.

3. Red stage . It is advisable to be hospitalised at this stage. Only if it is for a brief spell to monitor the diminishing cycle of psychosis or acute depression.

Therefore given the 3 stages of the cycle of mental wellness/illness, I refer to the paragraph above that people with mental illness cannot cope with daily life or take care of themselves and smoking does become their only source of pleasure. Consequently comfort eating is also a big issue.

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