July 25, 2012

The Internet – A Geat Resource for Those Who Suffer from Mental Illness

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It is possible to live with a mental illness, though it can be very trying at times. Information is vital in understanding one’s illness, coming to terms with it, and learning proactive and effective ways to manage it. Technology has allowed us access to information when and where we want it. And it provides a variety of different viewpoints, which can allow us to have a fuller, more meaningful understanding of a topic. When it comes to mental illness, this is vitally important.
From personal experience, I understand that the diagnosis of mental illness is hard to handle, even for someone who knows inside, that something just isn’t right. There is such a stigma associated with mental illness and there are stereotypical portrayals that may not match our own reality. However, at one’s fingertips is the ability to understand what you are dealing with just a little bit more.

Trusted sources of information
If you have been diagnosed with some sort of mental illness, or suspect that you may have one, it is understandable that you want to know more about it. There are a number of trusted medical education-related websites on the internet that are great resources in providing basic information. There are trusted resources that many of us have heard from such as WebMD and the National Institute of Mental Health. These sources can provide you with a basic overview of the symptoms of different afflictions, and are solid resources. Many of these sites also provide links to gather additional information, provide warning symptoms, and more resources.

Personal accounts and online support groups
There are many sites that are maintained by those who suffer from a given disorder. Bipolar groups, support groups for those with obsessive-compulsive disorder, and more. These are easy to find with targeted, keyword based searches on most search engines – such as “online OCD support group.” Here you will find personal accounts and individual tips and tricks that people who deal with the same thing you do have decided to share.
I found these sites to be very helpful, as it is so comforting to know that I am not alone, and hear success stories of people who have suffered from similar symptoms and experiences – this gives me hope. However, it is advised to understand that these are personal accounts and to not take any medical advice from these sites without consulting a professional.
Where we used to have to go to the library and hope there was material available to find out more about a given disorder, access to information that you can trust is now in the palm of your hand, or a few clicks of your mouse. It is empowering to educate yourself about mental illness, and connect with others who deal, or have dealt with the same things. You can find factual information, and also personal accounts and tips that have worked for others. When dealing with mental illness, these resources are priceless.
By Staff Writer, Jennifer Wilbanks

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