I have a serious mental health diagnosis ... now what ?

If you have just been diagnosed with a serious mental illness it is okay ... take a deep breath and read on. A diagnosis is simply a way of categorizing your symptoms and allows providers (doctor's , therapist, psychologist, etc.) to both bill and provide effective treatment. This, at this time, is detailed in the DSM V for which provides direction and catorigorizes mental health symptoms to define each listed mental health diagnosis.

What is a serious mental illness ? SAMSA defines a serious mental illness as "having, at any time during the past year, a diagnosable mental, behavior, or emotional disorder that causes serious functional impairment that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities" (https://www.samhsa.gov/disorders). Serious mental illnesses include Major depression, schizophrenia, bi-polar, etc. It was estimated that there was 9.8 million adults diagnosed with a mental illness in 2014 per SAMHSA. For additional information please check out : https://www.samhsa.gov/disorders & index.shtml

The above listed disorders have symptoms that include (but are not limited to) hallucinations, delusions (tactile, visual, etc.), manic episodes, major depressive episodes, disorganized speech, increased obsessive compulsions, racing thoughts, etc.

These diagnosis are just the beginning. If you are reading this, and are either currently diagnosed and/or recognizing your experience with some of the above listed symptoms... take a deep breath and pat yourself on the back. Self-awareness is the most important piece in moving forward also understanding that YOU ARE NOT YOUR DIAGNOSIS and YOU CAN CHOOSE HOW TO RESPOND. You must decipher what you do and do not have control over and how you will respond to what you don't.

Please feel free to ask questions.

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