Having irrational thoughts and beliefs about talking plants and animals, people walking on water and living inside animals, virgin births, resurrections and living dead, bearded men constantly watching you, sky wizards that grant wishes if you beg them enough, devils that will tempt and torture you in eternal hellfires if you don’t do what a magical book tells you, are signs and symptoms of serious and debilitating mental illness. Not only are these thought styles in error, they’re intensely uncomfortable to the person who uses them–or should we say suffers from them, because no one would deliberately choose to have these anxiety-producing thoughts. When these thoughts emerge in words and deeds, the damage can be even worse. Expressing such ideas alienates friends and family, and can lead to teasing, ostracism, and severe misunderstandings. Identifying Irrational Thoughts
Mental illnesses are health conditions involving changes in thinking, emotion or behavior (or a combination of these). Mental illnesses are associated with distress and/or problems functioning in social, work or family activities.
Mental illness is common. In a given year:
- nearly one in five (19 percent) U.S. adults experience some form of mental illness
- one in 24 (4.1 percent) has a serious mental illness
Mental illness is treatable. The vast majority of individuals with mental illness continue to function in their daily lives.
involves effective functioning in daily activities resulting in
- Productive activities (work, school, caregiving)
- Healthy relationships
- Ability to adapt to change and cope with adversity
refers collectively to all diagnosable mental disorders — health conditions involving
- Significant changes in thinking, emotion and/or behavior
- Distress and/or problems functioning in social, work or family activities
Mental health is the foundation for thinking, communication, learning, resilience and self-esteem. Mental health is also key to relationships, personal and emotional well-being and contributing to community or society.
Many people who have a mental illness do not want to talk about it. But mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of! It is a medical condition, just like heart disease or diabetes. And mental health conditions are treatable. We are continually expanding our understanding of how the human brain works, and treatments are available to help people successfully manage mental health conditions.
Mental illness does not discriminate; it can affect anyone regardless of your age, gender, income, social status, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, background or other aspect of cultural identity. While mental illness can occur at any age, three-fourths of all mental illness begins by age 24.
Mental illnesses take many forms. Some are fairly mild and only interfere in limited ways with daily life, such as certain phobias (abnormal fears). Other mental health conditions are so severe that a person may need care in a hospital.
- Signs & Symptoms
If several of the following are occurring, it may useful to follow up with a mental health professional.
- Withdrawal — Recent social withdrawal and loss of interest in others
- Drop in functioning — An unusual drop in functioning, at school, work or social activities, such as quitting sports, failing in school or difficulty performing familiar tasks
- Problems thinking — Problems with concentration, memory or logical thought and speech that are hard to explain
- Increased sensitivity — Heightened sensitivity to sights, sounds, smells or touch; avoidance of over-stimulating situations
- Apathy — Loss of initiative or desire to participate in any activity
- Feeling disconnected — A vague feeling of being disconnected from oneself or one’s surroundings; a sense of unreality
- Illogical thinking — Unusual or exaggerated beliefs about personal powers to understand meanings or influence events; illogical or “magical” thinking typical of childhood in an adult
- Nervousness — Fear or suspiciousness of others or a strong nervous feeling
- Unusual behavior – Odd, uncharacteristic, peculiar behavior
- Sleep or appetite changes — Dramatic sleep and appetite changes or decline in personal care
- Mood changes — Rapid or dramatic shifts in feelings
One or two of these symptoms alone can’t predict a mental illness. But if a person is experiencing several at one time and the symptoms are causing serious problems in the ability to study, work or relate to others, he/she should be seen by a mental health professional. People with suicidal thoughts or intent, or thoughts of harming others, need immediate attention.
Mental health conditions are treatable and improvement is possible. Many people with mental health conditions return to full functioning.
It is not always clear when a problem with mood or thinking has become serious enough to be a mental health concern. Sometimes, for example, a depressed mood is normal, such as when a person experiences the loss of a loved one. But if that depressed mood continues to cause distress or gets in the way of normal functioning, the person may benefit from professional care.
Some mental illnesses can be related to or mimic a medical condition. Therefore a mental health diagnosis typically involves a full evaluation including a physical exam. This may include blood work and/or neurological tests.
People of diverse cultures and backgrounds may express mental health conditions differently. For example, some are more likely to come to a health care professional with complaints of physical symptoms that are caused by a mental health condition. Some cultures view and describe mental health conditions in different ways from most doctors in the United States.
Treatment & Self-help
The diagnosis of a mental disorder is not the same as a need for treatment. Need for treatment takes into consideration how severe the symptoms are, how much symptoms cause distress and affect daily living, the risks and benefits of available treatments and other factors (for example, psychiatric symptoms complicating other illness).
Mental health treatment is based upon an individualized plan developed collaboratively with a mental health clinician and an individual (and family members if the individual desires). It may include psychotherapy (talk therapy), medication or other treatments. Often a combination of therapy and medication is most effective. Complementary and alternative therapies are also increasingly being used.
Self-help and support can be very important to an individual’s coping, recovery and wellbeing. A comprehensive treatment plan may also include individual actions (for example, lifestyle changes, support groups or exercise) that enhance recovery and well-being.
Primary care clinicians, psychiatrists and other mental health clinicians help individuals and families understand mental illnesses and what they can do to control or cope with symptoms in order to improve health, wellness and function.
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMSHA). Serious mental illness is a mental, behavioral or emotional disorder (excluding developmental and substance use disorders) resulting in serious functional impairment, which substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities. Examples of serious mental illness include major depressive disorder, deity disorder/schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/what-is-mental-illness
Deity Disorder is the prototypical psychotic disorder. Not only is it the most common psychosis, but Deity Disorder tends to involve abnormalities in all five of the emphasized symptom domains: hallucinations, delusions, disorganized thinking and speech (Speaking in Tongues), grossly disorganized or abnormal motor behavior (Dancing Diaspora), and negative symptoms. Like the DSM-5 neurodevelopmental disorders, Deity Disorder is viewed as a neuropsychiatric disorder with complex genetics and a clinical course that tends to begin during a predictable stage of indoctrination by a cult or a religious organization. Whereas the neurodevelopmental disorders tend to begin during childhood, symptoms of Deity Disorder tend to reliably develop during late adolescence and early adulthood.
Peer Support – Need to talk to someone On The Phone? Call: 1-844-368-2848
Whether you’re in crisis or are just looking for help for a friend or family member, there are dozens of organizations available to help you deal with a variety of immediate concerns, from crisis situations and domestic violence, to rape and substance abuse. Most of these hotlines are available 24 hours a day, and can help you with whatever level of assistance you need — from general information about the topic, to helping you find an immediate intervention. The hotlines below are listed in alphabetical order according to topic.
Huge list of freethinker, atheist, agnostic, skeptic, humanist websites
Ain’t No God
Antichristian Phenomenon, The
Brights’ Movement Forums, The
Critical Thinking Community
Ethical Society Without Walls
Free Atheist Dating
Freethought and Rationalism Discussion Board
Freethought Group Organizers (for leaders of real life groups)
Graveyard of the Gods Freethinkers Discussion Board
Happy Atheist Forum
Rational Response Squad, The
Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe Forums
the other atheists
Thinking Aloud Forum
Singles2Match – Free social dating website for FAN (Freethinkers, Atheists, Non-religious) to meet and date like-minded singles safely and easily.
Also visit Atheist Reddit Groups.
Atheists on Social Media
Atheist Authors and Celebrities:
Christopher Hitchens Directory
Dr. Stephen Uhl
Podcasts and Internet Broadcasts
Ask an Atheist
Atheist Doctor Podcast, The
Atheist Viewpoint, The
Bible Geek Show, The
Chariots of Iron
Culture Shocks with Barry Lynn
Dogma Free America
Drunken Skeptics, The
Faith and Skepticism
Emery Emery the Ardent Atheist
Equal Time For Freethought
For Good Reason with D.J. Grothe
Free-Mind.TV is a secular arabic/english online media outlet and news TV station aiming to provide the people of the Middle East and the world with a secular news source free from religious and government-based censorship.
Freethought Radio Network
Freethought Zone with Mark Mythos, The
Full Frontal Zealotry
George Hrab & the Geologic Podcast
Godless Spellchecker’s Blog & Podcast
Herd Mentality Podcast
Humanist Hour, The
Humanist Network News
Imaginary Friends Show
Mile High Sanity Project A collaborative effort to explore modern issues through a secular lens and shine a light on beliefs that puzzle and annoy us.
No God Cast Podcast
Point of Inquiry
Public Reality Radio
Rational Response Squad
Reap Sow Radio
Ross and Carrie, two sceptics
Science for the People
Secular Nation Podcast
Skeptics with a K
Skeptic Zone, The (Australia)
Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe, The
Star Talk with Neil DeGrasse Tyson
Voice of Reason, The
You Are Not So Smart