Vancouver Home Health Care Agency

Mental Health and Behavior

Mental Health and Behavior

“Why can’t you get better?” “Why have you changed?” “What’s wrong with Dad?” “Why are you always so grumpy you used to be so happy?” “Just get happy!” These are among the many questions posed to those with mental illness, and while the person who asks may mean no harm, they are hurtful. Mental illness is a growing issue in America; it is greatly misunderstood due to misconceptions and incorrect information. Sufferers often feel embarrassed to admit to mental illness, as the American society still has a difficult time accepting its existence. However, mental illnesses such as depression, PTSD, and anxiety should not be pushed aside, and the first step to healing is recognition.


Depression can be temporary or permanent, and it is common among those who face terminal illnesses or death. In fact, it is one of the natural stages of grieving. Depression can present itself in many forms, from subtle changes in attitude to complete personality changes. The most common signs of depression are, but not limited to:

  • Difficulty remembering or concentrating
  • Fatigue
  • Feelings of helplessness, guilt or pessimism
  • Insomnia or excessive sleeping
  • Irritability
  • Loss of interest in hobbies
  • Persistent pains, cramps, headaches, or problems with digestion
  • Feeling empty
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts

Realizing these symptoms are happening can cause embarrassment and withdrawal, which is dangerous. When a person faces a terminal illness or the need for in-home care, some depression should be expected. Admitting these feelings or changes and getting help is one of the hardest steps to take for an American, who may feel shunned in society. However, American suicide rates were at 41,000 in 2013 according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, which means that society must work harder to not only recognize mental illness, but work harder to help fix it. There are treatments for depression, such as Wellbutrin and Paxil, with high success rates. Admitting there is an issue is the first step; getting help is the second. There should be no reason for embarrassment in either step.


PTSD, or post traumatic stress disorder, is a sudden mental illness which attacks the sufferer without warning. It is an illness which stems from a traumatic event, such as a damaging car accident or a war. While it is most often found in veterans, it can occur in others who have suffered traumatic events. The most common symptoms are:

  • Re-experiencing the event
  • Avoiding reminders of the trauma
  • Increased anxiety

Treatments include cognitive therapy, exposure therapy, EMDR, and medication. Cognitive therapy helps sufferers talk about the incident. Exposure therapy works when a patient repeatedly talks about the incident, eventually getting “used to” the memory and accepting what happened. EMDR is eye movement desensitizing and reprocessing, which helps a person redirect the memories through the use of eye movement, taps, or other stimuli. Medications most commonly prescribed for PTSD are SSRI’s, which are anti-depressants. Two of the most common types are Celexa and Prozac.

These types of mental illnesses are the most common among those who need in-home care or are faced with a terminal illness. The most important thing to remember is that these feelings are natural, and to be expected. If you or someone you know has just had a life changing event, such as the start of in-home care, remember that it is not shameful to feel negatively about the changes. Depression, PTSD and anxiety happen to many people, and mental illness is not something to be hidden away. It is as real as cancer and can be as permanent as diabetes, so it must be treated with dignity and respect, not embarrassment and shame.

The professionals at Vancouver Home Healthcare Agency can help find the right therapists to work with these illnesses, and any other mental illness suffered by an in-home patient.
At Vancouver Home Healthcare Agency, Caring and Compassion is our business.

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