Mental Illness & Related Issues

Faq's Mental Illness & Related Issues

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Q1. What are the early signs that may indicate the onset of Mental illness?

Ans. Noticeable changes in behavior, moods - suspicious of other; depressed; anxious; withdrawn; tense; irritable or angry. Mood swings, sleep disturbances and changes in appetite, restless, either hyper energetic or hyper exhaustion.

Q2. Can Mental illness be treated?

Ans. Yes; with medicines and therapy combined with supportive family and / or workplace environment, structured schedule for the patient etc
The length of the treatment varies from patient to patient. Lifelong medication may be required in some cases. However, many lead a fairly productive life with ongoing treatment.
The type of Mental Illness can undergo changes over a period of time. For example, psychotic if any may be controlled but anxiety or depression on OCD may step in. Hence family members must keep vigilant about new symptoms or behaviour changes and report immediately to the Psychiatrist. Never dismiss any new symptoms or changes in behaviour as irrelevant, "being an old case".

Q3. What are side effects of medication?

Ans.Side effects vary from medicine to medicine it is not possible to generalize. But it is better for the family members and the patient to ask the psychiatrist about side effects.

Q.4 What can we anticipate when medicines are changed?

Ans. Usually if the patient is doing well on the present medication, new medicines are not introduced. However, in chronic cases that do not stabilize, the doctor may adopt a policy of trail and error with the medicines. But it must be done only after informed consent of the family members and the patient wherever possible. Patients and their families, have a right to seek clarifications on medication changes. They must be sure of the patients' cooperation as well for change of medication. Taking a joint decision with the patient must be attempted wherever and whenever possible.

Q.5 Are medicines to be taken life long?

Ans. There is no general rule. It varies from person to person but it does affect the quality of life to some extent. However, keeping symptoms under control is more important than any other aspect of life. The new generations of atypical anti-psychotics are believed to promote quality of life more than the older drugs. However, these are matters of debate that is best left to the Psychiatrist.

Q.6 What are the other aids like therapy etc.?

Ans. The world health organization (WHO) has identified 5 types of treatment methods or mental illness. These are medication therapy, patient’s therapy, family therapy, social therapy and occupational therapy.

Q.7 Can Mental Illness be cured?

Ans. Mental Illness is treatable and can be controlled. Many of us believe that medical alone can help in recovery. A combination of medical, psychological and social therapy models are required. Most importantly, a positive family attitude is a big asset.

Q.8 Is ECT safe?

Ans. Yes. Families have some apprehension about ECTs or popularly known as electric shocks. Thought not a permanent of miracle cure, it helps to control symptoms effectively in the short term. It must be administered always under anesthesia as per the Supreme Court Order. Consult your Psychiatrist for more information. Side effects are believed to be temporary such as loss of short term or what is known as autobiographical memory.

Q.9 Our doctor does not talk much. He writes the prescription fast and sends us off. What do I do?

Ans. Unless there is something critical, the doctor may not find the need to spend more time. It is better that the care give or even the client patient does some homework by jotting down the points that you think needs special attention and showing it to the doctor. Once you communicate your doubts, clarification is bound to be provided.

Q.10 My brother talks about attempting suicide very often. What shall I do?

Ans. Yes, it is a part of the illness and avoids making the patient guilty about it. Anytime your patient talks about it, share with your doctor immediately. See if the patient spells out concrete plans or strategies and methods etc. Besides constant vigil, keep reassuring the patient about how much he or she means to the family. Also, emphasize the fact that it is part of the illness and will gradually disappear with therapy and proper medication. Keep giving reassurances. It may be desirable for you to learn from a Counselor about ways and means of reacting to such situations.

Q.11 What are the warning signs of relapse and what is the solution?

Ans.Warning signals are restlessness, anger, agitation, eating problems, sleeping problems, depression, social withdrawal, decreased compliance with medication, anxiety, preoccupation with symptoms; break down in routine, stopping from College or office etc. Once the signals are clear, then the Psychiatrist has to be told. It is better to keep a set of Emergency medication, if advised by the doctor. Prompting an Emergency by admitting the patient on medical advice may also be tried. Family members must reduce their own level of anxiety and panic responses.

Q.12 Is rehabilitation possible when patient is still on medication?

Ans. It is very important for the patient to have a schedule so that he / she can get back to functional levels very soon. Keeping the patient occupied and busy is an important responsibility but at times it is not possible to do this at home, for this professional help is required and it’s better to put the patient in rehab for some time.

Q.13 How does therapy help the patient and the family?

Ans.Mental Illness is a devastating experience for the families; and of course nightmare to the patients. Under these circumstances, therapy helps the family-patient dynamics in a manner that it reduces emotional burden on both so as to carry out the rehab program with minimal disturbance in the routine.

Q.14 The patient sleeps too much and is unable to follow the routine. What do I do?

Ans. Consult the Psychiatrist to alter the timing and dosage of medicine if required. Lethargy and apparent lack of interests pose major hurdles in motivating the patients. Be patient and does not express too much expectation. Things are likely to change gradually.

Q.15 Is marriage a solution to Mental Illness?

Ans. No. Nor is it a taboo. It depends on the patient’s ability and willingness to undertake the responsibilities in a marriage. It is better to seek medical opinion before finalizing anything. The policy of disclosure and not hiding anything from the prospective alliance is to be strictly followed. Unfortunately, failures are more common.

Q.16 Who will look after my child/spouse after me?

Ans.This question has no definite answer. It is matter of deep concern to families giving them sleepless nights. Many options suggested below are more of academic relevance for families. Hiring lifelong care is neither possible nor affordable. Just see if you can identify someone - a special someone who will keep a watch if in case the patient is orphaned. Other options given below can also be explored depending on specific situation in each family.
• Supportive relationships from peers / cousins or friends
• Self care and management skills to be imparted if possible
• Prepare the sibling with adequate training
• Set up a private Trust
• Ask the doctor about prospects of marriage.
• Identify long term homes.
• Start a self help group and make it a project in the group for which Govt. of India. Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment provides grants.
• Fight for the rights of the destitute locally with your State Government.
Career and consumer support groups must ask the Government to provide simple and safe options that are affordable to the common Indian. The demands for long term homes are shunned by many mental health professionals and officials as reviving the asylum model of care. However, when confronted with the question of “Who after us?” none of them are able to offer a satisfactory solution.


    By helping our son find the tools, the courage and the strength to live alcohol free life, Prabal has given him a second chance. – Dr Anand.


    After visiting Prabal Rehab I was confident that I found the right place for my brother. Within one month, the counseling staff was able to uncover his greatest pain. He was able to share the psychological scar with us while his family counselor sat by his side. In our son’s words “Today, I look out the window and see a future with wonderful opportunity. I never saw that before.” No program, facility nor therapist in the past has ever helped our son achieve this level of self worth. Thanks to Rajiv Sir. – A B.


    When I arrived at Prabal Rehab, I was a mentally, physically and spiritually broken man from 20 years of excessive alcohol use. There I was met by a wonderful, caring and professional staff who guided me through my detox and was there for me every step of the way. With an excellent teaching and counseling staff, I was given one-on-one counseling and group therapy. Prabal gave me a foundation and the tools to build on this foundation, in order to maintain sobriety. Today, I am a happy & sober man. I want to thank to Team Prabal for saving my life, as I was truly on my way to death. – Rathore.


    Hi, I’m a multiple addict. Years back, in the early 90’s, watching my friends take drugs triggered me to take similar substances so that I can also feel as if in heaven. Thus started my years of addiction and I was entangled in this vicious web for 13 long years. Repeated efforts by my family and loved ones to take me out of this web had failed. The drugs caused me several damages – physically, mentally and emotionally. Drugs made me do things, which I would have never done if only I was sober. I could see myself stealing, lying and manipulating…. I was slowly changing into a vile & wisher monster…Finally, as a last resort; my family got me admitted in Prabal Rehab. I was there for four month. The continued support of the staff even after the treatment period helps me to look and deal with life in a different perspective. – Srinivasan


    I am an alcoholic and I started this habit at the age of 17. Within 2 years time, I became dependent on it that I couldn’t stop drinking .Due to this; I have lost so many things in life – financial loss, physical damages, and lost more than 8-10 jobs. As I grew in addiction, I started damaging my household articles and started fighting with my parents. It was at that time my mother brought me to Prabal rehabilitation centre and the treatment continued for almost three months .Now I’m very much relaxed and enjoying my sobriety .I also worked there for some time to become more confident so that I could keep myself and my family happy for the rest of my life. – Joshi


    I am a multiple addict who was affected very badly because of this deadly disease. My life was wonderful with a sweet little family and a good job. I had to pay them all for my disease. I have had multiple relapses and end number of treatments. After each treatment I wanted to continue myself as a social drinker and this wishful thinking made me hit back every time. It was only in 2011 my brother forced me to Prabal Rehab Centre against my wishes where almost I tried everything to get out, even tried to break the doors but all in vain but slowly and slowly after detoxification my physical and mental health started improving, my counseling, family meetings and various psychological investigation were rigorously going on and in due course I myself started enjoying the recovery plan. Days, Weeks and months passed and then after four months I was finally discharged. I gained 14 kg of weight, my skin started glowing, face was filled up and my mind was on a right track. Today I can proudly say that I have completed two blessed years without any lapse. I do understand that I may not be able to get back all that I had lost to my addiction, but at least I can make sure that I don’t lose anything in future! –Arif


    I started using drugs at the age of 19 and was addicted by the time I was 20, my well-educated and well-cultured family background could not stop me from my cravings. During the 14 years of addiction, I could see myself in a very bad shape with nothing other than drugs and using friends around me. But when my health complications hit me hard, I did not find any of those friends to help me or even to take me to a hospital. As a last resort, with nothing else on my way, I had to seek the help of a few recovering addicts who got me admitted in Prabal Detox centre and there I decided that I should make a change in my life………. That was a beginning of a new life. Now I can see myself sitting in a good position with good job, good respect and above all good values. And I have good people around me who can guide me in my recovery. H Shah.


    I am a recovering addict with 23 years of hard-core addiction. I hit the rock bottom and faced a lot of damages such as physical, social, occupational and financial. It was during this period that a few outreach workers came to meet me and explained to me that my drugs were the root cause of all my damages. They convinced me with their positive approach and immediately I surrendered to them and accepted my powerlessness over my addiction. They then brought me to Prabal Rehabilitation Centre where I was admitted for treatment. After a month of medications, rehabilitation started. During this period, the hospital counselors taught me good qualities, right values and also made me focus on recovery. Now I am leading a drug free peaceful life for 3 years – A Paul


    My grandparents call me Babu, I am a 36-year-old alcoholic who has completed his treatment at Prabal. I was working as a Manager for an Insurance company before I lost this job. “My life was hopeless. I was sure that this alcohol would follow me to the grave. Life without it seemed unthinkable. How was it possible to get through a single day, let alone a week, month, year, or my whole life, without it? Still, I was out of options and decided to give the whole thing a chance.”Definitely Rajiv Sir at Prabal showed me the way.


    “Looking back on my treatment, it’s needless to say that it was a life changing experience. A therapeutic community is probably the most intense form of psychological makeover that a person can undergo. It’s painful, it’s agonizing, but it’s ultimately exhilarating. Life seems very delightful now. My choices are clear, and the cobwebs are all swept away. Sometimes I wonder what all the fuss had been about earlier. All the doubts, the misgivings, the confusion seems so silly now. This is what the treatment at Prabal gave me. I know all this sounds like a testimony for the program. It is, and it is very real.” Nadeem


    As can be inferred from my case, the power of the Prabal brought to bear on a single individual can have very positive results. The collective approach of the therapeutic community, where each person is the other’s doctor, yields results that reintegrate a person into society. The isolation and seclusion of the addict is broken and he is reintroduced into the currents of the river of life. G Seth


    I am Nutan Sabarwal. My husband has been drinking for the last 15 years. I tried almost everything to make him stop drinking. Both his health and our family were on the edge of death. It was in 2012 that I got to know about Prabal. I clearly remember the Sunday night when I got my husband admitted in Prabal for treatment. I never believed that he could ever get normal. On my counselor’s suggestion I started attending the weekly family association and awareness meetings. Participation in these meetings gave me the insight how to deal with Alcoholics. Now I am optimistic about our future. I am thankful to Swati my counselor at Prabal, who guided me throughout and helped my family to survive in the bad times. Now, when I look back at the past it seems like an old forgotten story. Today my hubby is standing by my side, now my life is very colorful and I pray for all others like me to receive the treatment.


    My name is Sofian, I stayed in Prabal for five months. I regret that I lost many precious years of my life in addiction but feel jubilated that today I am living a drug free life and pursuing my studies. Earlier, everyone around called me Nashedi (addict), but today they call me with my given name. Hats off to Prabal.


    Now I am away from drugs for the last more than five years whereas previously it was so difficult to stay away from drugs even for five minutes. In these five years, I almost got everything back. Whatever I had lost, friends, family, relationships, happiness, are back in my life. Today I am example for others. Now, I want to help people like me to stay away from drugs in addition to my responsibilities towards my family. “There are plenty of people to give you drugs but only a few to help you come out of it.” My heartiest thanks to Rajiv Sir & whole staff of Prabal. S. Sood.

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