The continuum of mental health and disorders


By Mo Nyamande



This column in The Sunday Express gets better every week, and for as long as the readers and followers in this newspaper are reading and following, we will be here with new topics every week.

The need is there, and I am happy to provide the information for our people.

Mental Health has been the bane of human existence for centuries. Why has it been so complex to remedy?
The problem with the human being is that it is a social being. It requires other humans to guide and help it to navigate it’s environments. We are all born of a mother and a father, as such those become our guides/gods depending on whatever translation one chooses to take, based on their orientation and conditioning.

If your parents have been patient and kind, as such your god will be too, and if they have been harsh and punitive, so will your God.

The human being yearns to do more and better than its predecessor

Our mental spaces and events are guided by these principles. We are either too scared to challenge or question our parents’/god’s ways or conditioning, or we are too sold into the idea that anything else becomes blasphemous and could never be right.

The dilemma however, is that we neglect to improve on what has been handed over and end up simply copying and pasting the instructions handed over to us from our childhood to our own children.

For this very reason, we naturally become frustrated as we do not develop beyond what has been handed down. The human being yearns to do more and better than its predecessor.

We learn from the generations before us, but if for whatever reason we lacked the skill to do so, it is likely that the flaws are passed on down through generations.

These fears of failure are what present as Anxieties or neurotic presentations, due to the nature of stress and difficulties they cause. The guilt and shame of not being able to navigate/control one’s own faculties.

This stress and anxiety as discussed in the previous episodes triggers the production of excessive energy in the form of Adrenaline provided for use to perform the tasks to improve whatever skill. This hormone numbs any pain and increases focus onto whatever threat, perceived or real.

When this energy is not used longer term, it becomes a burden on the body, triggering the release of cortisol, a hormone associated with rest and sleep to mitigate the burning sensation of the adrenaline.

This sense of sleepiness, and lack of drive or motivation is what is then referred to as depression.

Anxiety and Depression are the core problems in almost all mental disorders.

So the continuum goes as follows:

Stress – minor difficulty in coping with a particular activity.

Anxiety – significant difficulty coping with various/ daily activities.
Depression – mood difficulties with daily life.
Psychosis – altered perception of life often associated with one or more of the sense compromised.
Personality Disorders – rigid and ingrained patterns of behaviour often making ones life or life of others around difficult.

These are symptoms of whatever underlying mental problem that exists, and these are what psychology and psychotherapy seek to help understand and explain which helps the individual to map out their own path or learn new ways to navigate back to better coping.

The like of addictions or other dependencies on other or substances – drugs; prescribed or illicit and alcohol, porn, work or gambling as well as OCD and other associated disorders become what is referred to maladaptive coping mechanisms to manage the frustrations of whatever underlying mental problem.

These problems are often learnt, consciously or unconsciously in what are referred to as classical or operant conditioning.

We often learn our habits from our environments, and so if they repeat(ed) poor habits that are largely flawed, and so will our coping be.

Charity begins at home, and our families try to mitigate or excuse our bad habits as they are likely to have contributed to their creation and development.

Parents may have spoilt us too much or been overly punitive to the point that they are likely to feel guilty for the perceived or actual shortcomings.

This is not to say they are at fault, but they would have played a big role in our life’s outcomes. We are children of our parents after all, though the society also play a part in social learning, but the core beliefs would have formed by the time we start school – usually around age 6.

Psychology and psychotherapy is not about looking for blame, but examine where things went wrong and what can be done to remedy them.

Psychiatry on the other hand seeks to help manage the pain of whatever disorder with the use of medication on the guise of chemical imbalances.

Lasting solutions and remedies to mental disorders come from understanding the what and the why, and the how becomes a lot easier. Always seek to be independent of substances and or dependency on others, in order to achieve the ultimate interdependency.

The Continuum of Mental Health and Disorders. Nyamande @

By Psychotherapist – Mertha Mo Nyamande @InsightWellbeing Ltd #Monya-Mental February 2021. Feedback

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