The issue of mental health is increasingly becoming a public health concern as more and more people in the world struggle with disorders (1). Recent studies have shown that depression is the most prevalent mental health issue, with anxiety, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder taking the second, third, and fourth positions respectively. The seriousness of mental health as a global healthcare concern is that depression accounts for the second highest level of disability behind the only lower back pain. It also contributes to disproportionally high rates of suicides and heart conditions, exerting a negative impact on the quality of life for millions of global citizens (2).
A common definition of mental disorders is that of abnormal behavior and mental afflictions (2). According to Brulde (2), the greatest challenge in mental disorders is not so much how to seek effective medication for the patients as it is the question of how the healthy people ought to relate to the afflicted. Mental disorders usually degenerate from mental health problems that are let to deteriorate. They include; Generalized Anxiety Disorders (GAD), Obsessive Compulsive Behaviors (OCD), phobias, and other non-specified ailments (1). Swami et al. (3), further retaliates the importance of community sensitization in the recognition of mental disorders like depression and schizophrenia, the two most common types of disorders.
The distinction between mental disorders and other types of mental health issues is the symptoms, which are defined as belonging to mentally disordered people and personality quirks (2). Mental disorders hamper the normal functioning of the human brain and impede the normal functioning of the patient. Furthermore, the consequences or manifestations of mental disorders are unintended or regulated by faulty reasoning caused by implausible norms and regulations. It is for this reason that personality disorders such as phobias that are considered debilitating enough are also classed as mental disorders.
Treatment of mental disorders
The recognition of mental disorders is particularly important because the correct diagnosis of the ailments is often the difference between continued ailment and recovery (4). The Mental Health Foundation (1) stipulates that the issue of mental disorder treatment is especially important when we consider the fact that mental insanity is considered as one of the most valid defense in capital punishment offenses such as murder. The treatment of mental disorders varies across age groups, socioeconomic groups, cultures, and ethnicities.
The standard treatment for mental disorders includes medicinal drugs, psychiatrist intervention, and advanced treatments such as electroconvulsive therapies (1). Drugs are used in many cases of depression and schizophrenia to diminish the effects of mental disturbance and give the patient a modicum of control over their mental faculties. Psychiatrists are trained to help the patient by digging into their past to discover any traumas that might be causing their mental health issues. According to the British Association for Music Therapy (6), childhood traumas are the leading causes of mental disturbance in adults. A psychiatrist is trained to lead the patient on a journey of self-discovery that allows the patient to find the underlying cause of their mental health issues. Electroconvulsive therapy involves the use of advanced technologies to introduce mild electric waves to a patient's brain and change the wirings of their brains (5). These electroconvulsive therapies include music therapy that is gaining widespread popularity.
Symptoms of mental disorders
The identification of symptoms of mental disorders is almost as important as the treatments that follow that detection. Mental health diagnosis depends on this identification to detect and recommend treatment for disorders. Since mentally disordered patients may be incapable of seeking medical intervention for themselves, it is very important for the public to be observant and informed as to what type of behaviors constitutes mental disorders in a patient (3). According to Brulde (2), mental disorders are injurious psychological conditions that are undesirable and caused by internal mental processes. Some of the symptoms of mentally disordered patients include social isolation, sluggishness, and poverty of thought (5). Mental health problems manifest in different ways, but anxiety and depression are some of the most common (1) and lead to the highest percentages of acting out in mental health disorders such as the attempted suicide that has been noticed to be unnaturally high in mentally disordered patients.
Music therapy in mental disorders
The use of music therapy as a complementary form of mental health intervention has steadily been gaining momentum in the past few decades (4); (5). Music therapy has proved to be a valuable intervention for mental illness in patients who enjoyed music even before experiencing the mental disorders. It is especially effective in patients who are unresponsive to standard therapies such as group discussions and those who resist treatment. The Mental Health Foundation (1) supports this hypothesis and stipulates that music therapy is especially effectual in alleviating symptoms among older people. Since people keep their tastes in music throughout their mental issues, music therapy uses very specific types of songs to reduce the behavioral and psychological manifestation of mental illness.
Methods and techniques in mental disorders
According to Swami et al. (3), the mental wellbeing of an individual affects not just their lives but also that of people around them, the community, and their country. Knowledge of mental health issues in the society creates a friendly environment for mental health patients to seek health and get the opportunity to lead full, meaningful lives. Mentally disordered people are considered legally and fundamentally unable to make personal decisions, up to and including the type of treatment for their mental disorders. The decision of what methods and techniques to be used in the treatment of mental disorders in patients, therefore, falls on their kin and close relations. Mindfulness allows for treatment by rooting the experiences of the patient in the present moment through meditation, breathing, and yoga to allow the mind to self-heal (1).
Mental Health Foundation. Fundamental facts about mental health. London: Mental Health Foundation; 2016.
Brulde B. The concept of mental disorder. Philosophical Communications. 2003; 1(29): 1-79
Swami V. Persaud R. Furnham A. The recognition of mental health disorders and its association with psychiatric scepticism, knowledge of psychiatry, and the Big Five personality factors: an investigation using the overclaiming technique. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology. 2011; 46:181-189; DOI 10.1007/s00127-010-0193-3
Hohmann L. Bradt J. Stegemann T. Koelsch S. Effects of music therapy and music-based interventions in the treatment of substance use disorders: A systematic review. PLoS ONE. 2017; 12(11): 1-36; DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0187363
Jane E. Music therapy in the treatment and management of mental disorders. Irish Journal of Psychological Medicine. 2006; 23(1): 33-35; DOI: 10.1017/S0790966700009459,
Cotterill A. Music therapy and mental health -making positive, safe connections. London: British Association for Music Therapy, 2015.
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