Severe mental illness is a condition of the mind where the individual has difficulty engaging in regular life routines, activities, and responsibilities due to their mental health disorders. To be clear, people with mental health conditions usually exhibit problems with their thinking, feeling, or behavior caused by problems with a neurological stamp (brain function), history of trauma, and drug abuse. As a result, people with severe mental illness interrupt their daily lives and cause distress. Mental health is an individual’s state of mind, just as physical health is a range of health concerns.
Health professionals use severe mental illness (SMI) to describe the most serious mental health issues.
How Do The Experts Identify Severe Mental Illness?
The National Institute of Mental Health states that the diagnosis is severe when the mental illness impairs the person’s ability to function normally. They indicate the three areas that a severe mental illness can affect.
A SERIOUS MENTAL ILLNESS (SMI) IS DEFINED AS A MENTAL, BEHAVIORAL, OR EMOTIONAL DISORDER RESULTING IN SERIOUS FUNCTIONAL IMPAIRMENT, WHICH SUBSTANTIALLY INTERFERES WITH OR LIMITS ONE OR MORE MAJOR LIFE ACTIVITIES. THE BURDEN OF MENTAL ILLNESSES IS PARTICULARLY CONCENTRATED AMONG THOSE WHO EXPERIENCE DISABILITY DUE TO SMI. (NIMH)
What Are The Types Of Severe Mental Illness?
It must be understood that people with severe mental illnesses are significantly limited in one or more significant areas of life. Mental Health professionals rely on the DSM-5 (diagnostic manual of the American Psychiatric Association) to diagnose their patients. It lists hundreds of mental illnesses. The DSM-5 categorizes illnesses according to their diagnostic criteria. The most familiar SMI from the DSM-5 include:
- Anxiety Disorders
- Bipolar Disorders
- Depressive Disorders
- Impulse-Control Disorders
- Dissociative Disorders
- Eating Disorders
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorders
- Personality Disorders
- Psychotic Disorders
Bipolar disorder and schizophrenia are the most common severe mental illnesses.
Do People With Severe Mental Illness Abuse Drugs More Frequently?
YES, many people who suffer from addiction also have mental health problems. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports that nearly 9 million people have co-occurring disorders. Co-existing conditions, such as a specific mental health disorder and a substance use disorder, are comorbidity. Despite being unrelated, the conditions are often present together, and one condition usually makes the other worse. For example, a person who has been diagnosed or undiagnosed depression may use cocaine to lift their mood. Unfortunately, a side effect of cocaine once it wears off is depression. So, by using cocaine, the person is only adding to the symptoms of their depression.
SURVEYS HAVE FOUND THAT ABOUT HALF OF THOSE WHO EXPERIENCE A MENTAL ILLNESS DURING THEIR LIVES WILL ALSO EXPERIENCE A SUBSTANCE USE DISORDER AND VICE VERSA. (NIDA)
How To Help A Loved One With A Smi?
Supporting someone with a mental illness who is also abusing drugs or alcohol requires professional help and support. There is not a one-size-fits-all approach to either mental health or addiction. People with comorbidity benefit most from a program that provides interdisciplinary treatment of both conditions as one. These programs are called dual-diagnosis treatment. Aria Florida offers numerous types of dual-diagnosis treatments that are evidence-based. We provide the following dual diagnosis therapy options:
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy Program
- Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
- Group Therapy Program
- Individual Therapy Program
Call Aria Florida’s Clinical Staff For Severe Mental Illness Diagnosis Information And Treatment Options
It is vital to make sure the person who needs help is appropriately diagnosed and that a professional mental health expert meets with them right away. Knowing the diagnosis and how it affects the person is the first step. Call now for same-day admission and guidance from our professional mental health and substance use disorder staff.