Most people believe that mental disorders or illnesses are synonymous to ‘insanity’ or something that is rare and ‘only happens to others’. But in reality, mental illnesses are extremely widespread, a large portion of the world’s population go through some kind of mental trouble or the other, be it a mild condition or an acute crisis situation. Individuals who suffer from mental issues of any kind are prone to feeling societal stigma and immense vulnerability. It can affect anyone, irrespective of their age, gender and race and can disrupt one’s mood, behaviour, the way they think and their overall personality.
While most of us are familiar with the commonly heard of mental conditions such as obsessive compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, depression, etc, but there are a number of unusual disorders which are neglected simply because they are not typical and are unheard of, yet they affect the masses.
- Othello syndrome – Also known as morbid jealousy is a strong delusion of infidelity of a spouse or partner. It is characterized by recurrent accusations of disloyalty, searches for evidence, continuous checks on one’s partner, stalking, interrogation about their whereabouts and in extreme cases, it can even lead to violence. The name “Othello Syndrome” comes from the character in Shakespeare’s play Othello, who murders his wife, as a result of a false belief that she has been unfaithful.
- Drunkorexia – This is most prevalent among college students who engage in unhealthy practices such as skipping meals or exercising strenuously after a night of heavy binge-drinking. Traits such as cutting back on food and increasing exercise to either speed or enhance the high from drinking, engaging in bulimic-type behaviours: vomiting after eating, taking laxatives or using diuretics.
- Bigorexia– When fitness takes an ugly turn; it may lead to reverse anorexia. This is a disorder in which an individual becomes obsessed with the fact that they are not brawny or chiselled enough. Symptoms include constant checks in front of the mirror, becoming distressed if a gym session is missed, taking steroids and neglecting personal relationships or work.
- Pica– This is the persistent eating of substances such as dirt, chalk or paints that has no nutritional value. This condition is prevalent primarily among children. The research that has been done on the causes of pica suggests that the disorder is a specific appetite caused by mineral deficiency in many cases, such as iron deficiency. It may also be a result of acute stress and anxiety.
Mental health is always sidelined when compared to physical health because sometimes we are in simple denial that we could be a victim of a mental condition. But what is essential for us to realise is that physical fitness along with stability of the mind together contribute to holistic wellbeing. Communicate, listen and above all, be empathetic towards others and yourself to ensure mental peace.