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Mental Illness | A Disorder of Perception

The need for mental health awareness continues to grow as we realize how life-altering this illness can be. Especially when it influences how a person perceives everything in the case of a psychotic disorder. There are different categories of mental illnesses such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • Personality disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Psychotic disorder

The last one is perhaps the toughest and most challenging disorder to live with as it alters the perception of reality. It has several symptoms that can help a doctor determine the mental condition of the patient.

What exactly is perception?

It’s the way we humans organize our sensory information in order to understand what is happening in the environment around us. An inability to perceive reality makes it difficult to think clearly and make judgments based on what’s right or wrong and communicate efficiently.

What are the symptoms of psychotic disorder?

Often, a person who has a disorder of perception will fail to tell the difference between what is real and what is being imagined by him or her. Other most significant symptoms include:

1. Hallucinations

Hallucinations are common among schizophrenia patients. This occurs when patients hear or see things that are not actually there and can be a huge threat to their life. It can influence all senses of one’s body.

One may see imaginary people, colors, or shapes or hear different voices that cannot be heard by others. It is also possible to feel touched by someone even though there is no one nearby.

2. Delusions

One of the most common signs of a psychotic disorder is that one begins to believe in false scenarios which are completely made up. For instance, believing that a certain person or organization is a threat to them and is plotting against them. In addition to that, it is also possible for the patient to believe they have special powers. Imagine the risk to life if a person starts believing they can fly. Not only will it result in physical injury, but it can also cause mental strain and exhaustion.

3. Cognitive Disorders

A disturbed and confused person who has a derailed train of thought can face difficulties in day-to-day life. A foggy brain not only makes it difficult to communicate and damage one’s perception of reality. It can also cause severe memory loss.

For patients to leave a normal and more comfortable life, it is important to raise awareness about mental health so that people can understand how to help people afflicted with the illness. With proper care and medication, the illness can be treated and symptoms can be minimized.

Barrier to a productive life

There is an overlap of these symptoms with other types of mental illnesses. Sometimes even depression patients suffer from the above-mentioned symptoms adding to their irritation, exhaustion, anger, and sadness. Other illnesses include Schizophrenia and Bipolar disorders.

schizophrenic patient will typically see imagined people and suffer from all the mentioned symptoms. A bipolar disorder on the other hand alters the patient’s mood drastically. For instance, they may experience a good mood (mania) which will be followed by an intense low mood.

Three out of every 100 people experience a psychotic disorder once in their lifetime. Not only does it afflict trauma upon one’s life it can take away one’s chance at living a productive life. It hinders one from getting a decent education and also prevents one from finding employment. If left untreated, the condition could accelerate.

What are the causes?

As part of mental health awareness, it is a must to inform people about some common causes of psychotic disorders. These include but are not limited to:

  • Genetics
  • Trauma
  • Drug addiction
  • Physical illness or injury especially stroke and other brain-related problems
  • Being exposed to certain toxins

Disordered Perception: How to minimize the damage

If someone is willing to take control of the illness and minimize its consequences there are several ways to do so. It is important to identify what triggers the condition and make some changes to everyday lifestyle habits. This includes becoming more organized and following a better schedule.

A regular sleep schedule, family support and regularly taking medication can help the patient live a better life. The intervention of professionals is not just recommended but necessary to help the patient survive.

How to care for someone afflicted with this disease?

Are you helping a family member who suffers from this unfortunate illness? Well, there’s plenty you can do to provide them with the right care.

For one, make sure you learn the causes which can help you manage the condition. Remember, the biggest threat to these patients is their own self. If you feel threatened by them, you could drive them away or cause distress. You must also make sure that your loved one is taking proper medication on time, otherwise, the treatment will have a limited effect. 

Instead of pushing such patients in isolation and driving them away, providing proper care can help them recover and live a better life. It is time to raise mental health awareness and remove the stigma attached to treating psychotic disorders.