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2 Case Studies In Mental Health | How These People Overcame Their Challenges And Are Now Living Their Purpose

Case Studies in Mental Health | Living with mental health challenges can be daunting and overwhelming. In the face of adversity, it may seem like there is no hope or way out.

But that isn?t true. For many people living with mental illness, there are stories to tell about how they overcame their struggles and found purpose in life once again.

This article will explore the inspiring stories of individuals who have faced down their demons and embraced a new outlook on life.


Case Studies in Mental Health


The power of personal narrative has long been recognized as an invaluable tool for understanding one?s own experiences and gaining insight into those of others. It allows us to share our triumphs, losses, successes, and failures without fear of judgment or retribution from society. Through these stories we learn that mental health issues need not define us; instead, they should be seen as part of our individual journeys toward healing, growth, and acceptance.

This article will take you on a journey through some amazing examples of resilience and courage possessed by those dealing with mental health issues every day. We?ll hear firsthand accounts of what it was like before finding peace within themselves, how this newfound sense of inner strength helped them move forward in life despite their struggles, and ultimately how each person found joy and purpose in making meaningful connections with the world around them. Read on to find out more!


Introduction to Case Studies in Mental Health


Mental health is a complex and often misunderstood topic. It can be hard to understand our experiences when we are struggling with depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues. That?s why it?s so inspiring to hear the stories of people who have gone through their own personal challenges and found ways to overcome them.

These individuals have managed to take control of their lives and find meaning in their day-to-day existence by living according to their purpose. In this article, we explore some examples of people who have achieved great things despite facing immense obstacles in life.

We?ll look at how they overcame these struggles and what has helped them move forward toward a brighter future. Examining such stories, may help us gain insight into our own mental health journey and provide us with courage as we continue on our path.


Case Study in Mental Health #1: ?BRAIN ON FIRE? BY SUSANNAH CAHALAN


In “BRAIN ON FIRE,” Susannah Cahalan offers an intimate chronicle of her battle with an esoteric autoimmune malady known as anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis. This affliction can manifest in acute neurological and somatic disturbances, such as convulsions and delusions. Cahalan’s narrative underscores the cruciality of prompt detection and intervention to avert protracted complications.

The time commences with a portrayal of Cahalan’s contented existence as a 24-year-old journalist for the New York Post, residing autonomously in Manhattan. Nevertheless, this altered abruptly when she began suffering peculiar manifestations, including phantasmagoria and amnesia. With the passage of time, these indications exacerbated, culminating in her hospitalization in an insensate state.

Subsequent to her admission, Cahalan underwent a plethora of diagnostic procedures and imaging before physicians ultimately ascertained her condition as anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis. The narrative then chronicles Cahalan’s arduous traversal through remediation and convalescence, as she grapples to reclaim dominion over her well-being and existence. In divulging her personal odyssey, Cahalan illuminates the tribulations associated with enduring an imperceptible malady that remains enigmatic and disregarded by many.


Synopsis of Susannah Cahalan’s Journey


Susannah Cahalan, an American scribe and progenitor of the memoir “Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness,” recounts her harrowing experience in 2009, spanning a month of precipitous deterioration in her mental and physical faculties. Ultimately, she was identified as suffering from a rare autoimmune affliction termed anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis.

Cahalan grappled with a myriad of symptoms, encompassing convulsions, delusions, amnesia, phantasmagoria, and frenzy. In pursuit of medical intervention, she consulted various practitioners, only to be misdiagnosed repeatedly before the elusive malady was accurately pinpointed. Post-treatment for the autoimmune disorder, Cahalan recuperated fully, reacquiring her cognitive acuity.


Symptoms Of Susannah?s Condition


Susannah Cahalan?s illness was initially misdiagnosed due to the fact that it presented with symptoms similar to schizophrenia. However, upon further investigation of her medical history, it became apparent that these symptoms were caused by a rare autoimmune disorder known as anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis.

The primary symptom of anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis is psychosis. This can present itself in many different forms such as paranoia, delusions, and hallucinations. Other symptoms include seizures, confusion, disorientation and memory loss. Susannah also experienced mood swings, insomnia and hyperactivity. She had difficulty speaking and communicating effectively with others. In addition, she exhibited violent outbursts and extreme behavior changes which alarmed her family and friends. Physical symptoms included fever, headaches, neck pain, and stiffness.




Impact On Family and Friends


The effects of Susannah Cahalan?s brain on fire on her loved ones are profound. As the disease progressed, it took a mental, physical and emotional toll not only on her, but also on those closest to her. This section will explore the ways in which the illness impacted family and friends.


Family & Friends Mental Impact Physical Impact
Susannah?s Parents Anxiety & Stress Financial burden of medical bills
Her Boyfriend Depression & Fear Constant worry of Susannah?s condition
Her Siblings Sadness and Disbelief Ongoing trips to medical facilities for treatment


The emotional distress experienced by family and friends was so strong that at times it seemed impossible to cope with the reality of Susannah?s condition. Her parents were particularly affected as they watched their daughter go through what seemed like an endless series of tests and treatments with no definite prognosis or recovery in sight.

Her boyfriend also suffered greatly as he witnessed first-hand the effects of Susannah?s decline. His own depression and fear compounded his sense of helplessness over her situation. Finally, Susannah?s siblings struggled to comprehend what was happening to their beloved sister; a sadness and disbelief that hung heavy over them all.

On top of these mental impacts, the financial burden placed upon Susannah?s family due to medical bills was immense. Beyond this, the constant strain associated with travelling to various medical facilities for testing and treatment added further stressors on both Susannah and her loved ones alike. Ultimately, it is clear that there were many deep-seated repercussions resulting from this debilitating illness that rippled out far beyond its main victim, touching all those around her too in unexpected ways.


How She Overcome the Challenges?


Susannah Cahalan?s journey to overcome her mysterious and debilitating illness was a long one. After enduring months of tests, treatments, and doctors? visits that provided no answers, Susannah eventually found the diagnosis she needed in order to start on the road to recovery: anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis. During this time, she also had to face personal struggles such as having difficulty walking without assistance and being unable to recognize close friends or family members due to memory loss.

After receiving her diagnosis, Susannah began treatment with intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG), which decreased inflammation in her brain by suppressing the immune system. This allowed for greater mental clarity and improved performance on cognitive tests compared to before the treatment began. In addition, physical therapy helped improve her coordination, balance, strength and stamina while occupational therapy assisted with basic daily tasks like bathing or dressing herself. With help from supportive family and friends, Susannah slowly regained control over her life again.

Despite still facing occasional setbacks during the recovery process, Susannah remained hopeful and determined throughout it all. Over time, her progress continued until she could once again live independently and go back to work full-time at The New York Post newspaper where she resumed working as a journalist as if nothing had ever happened.


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How Is She Living Their Purposes?


Susannah Cahalan, who was diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disorder called anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis in 2009, has since been living out her purpose. Despite the harrowing experience that she endured due to this disease, Susannah is now an award-winning journalist and author of two books: Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness and The Great Pretender: The Undercover Mission That Changed Our Understanding of Madness.

Her inspiring story includes several elements that have enabled her to fulfill her goals and live out her purposes:


Having Courage?and?Resilience:


  • After being misdiagnosed for months and enduring extreme symptoms such as seizures and hallucinations, Susannah eventually received proper medical attention which provided an accurate diagnosis. She then had access to the necessary treatment which allowed her to make a full recovery. Her courage throughout this process served as a foundation for resilience during times when things seemed bleakest.


Developing Awareness:


  • Through writing about her experiences, Susannah not only increased public knowledge about autoimmunity but also raised awareness about mental health issues among readers around the world. By bringing visibility to these topics, people are able to become better informed so they can advocate for themselves or others if needed.


Connecting With Others:


  • As part of her journey towards understanding what happened to her during those fateful months of 2009, Susannah connected with other individuals who experienced similar illnesses through interviews, conversations, and research. This connection helped inform how she wrote both books; providing valuable insight into how one?s identity can be shaped by their illness while still managing to remain true to oneself despite any challenges faced along the way.

Through having courage and resilience, developing awareness, and connecting with others ? all while advocating for herself ? Susannah has achieved remarkable success in furthering the mission behind Brain on Fire and The Great Pretender: To heighten public knowledge on autoimmune diseases as well as provide support for those suffering from mental health conditions worldwide.


mental illness


Case Study in Mental Health? # 2: ?The Center Cannot Hold? By Elyn Saks


Mental health issues are an increasingly visible and important part of the global conversation. One powerful voice in this arena is Elyn Saks, a Professor of Law, Psychology, and Psychiatry at the University of Southern California. Her memoir The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness recounts her experience living with schizophrenia and the valuable insight she has gained from it. This book provides readers with a unique window into what life is like for those who must cope with severe mental illness on a daily basis.

The Center Cannot Hold presents a personal story and an analysis of larger cultural attitudes toward people with mental illnesses. It addresses how society sees them, often through fear or misunderstanding, and how these perceptions can be damaging to individuals? sense of self-worth. Saks also offers some suggestions for improving access to care and reducing discrimination against those suffering from serious psychological conditions.

This article will explore The Center Cannot Hold more closely, looking at its impact on public perception of mental illness and examining Saks? proposed solutions for bettering lives affected by such conditions. With its combination of raw personal narrative and thoughtful analysis, this book serves as an invaluable resource for anyone interested in learning about life with schizophrenia and how we can work together to create a more compassionate world for all individuals struggling with mental health concerns.


Overview Of the Book


The Center Cannot Hold, by Elyn Saks is an extraordinary memoir of a woman?s battle with schizophrenia. The book reveals her journey from being diagnosed as a young law student at Yale to becoming professor and lawyer on the faculty of University of Southern California Gould School of Law.

Saks? story captivates readers, making them feel like they are personally walking alongside her during each step in her life-altering experience. Through vivid descriptions and passionate storytelling, she shares her struggles with psychosis, hallucinations, paranoia and depression. Her courage in facing these issues head-on is both inspirational and heartbreaking.

In this riveting tale, Saks paints a powerful portrait of how mental illness can affect someone?s life while also providing insight into the resilience and strength that can be found within individuals who face such challenges. By conveying her experiences honestly and openly she demonstrates how one can triumph over seemingly insurmountable obstacles to lead successful lives despite their diagnosis.


Elyn Saks? Personal Journey


Elyn Saks is an American academic, lawyer, and author who has lived with schizophrenia for much of her life. In ?The Center Cannot Hold? she recounts her personal journey with mental illness, detailing the struggles that accompany it as well as her eventual triumph over them.

Saks was first diagnosed in college when she experienced a psychotic break during finals week. She soon found out that medication had no effect on her symptoms and instead decided to go off all medications and take control of her own treatment plan. During this time, Saks managed to complete law school and became one of only two people at Yale Law School with a diagnosis of schizophrenia. Despite numerous setbacks such as hospitalization due to psychosis episodes and attempts at suicide, Saks went on to become a highly accomplished professor of psychiatry at USC Gould School of Law.

Throughout the book, Saks emphasizes the importance of resilience and finding strength within oneself despite difficult circumstances. Throughout her story, she demonstrates how self-determination can be used as a tool against adversity even in the most challenging situations ? something which many individuals living with mental illness often can relate to. By providing insight into her own experiences while highlighting both successes and failures along the way, Saks offers readers an authentic glimpse into what it means to live with mental illness from someone who has actually been there before them.




Schizophrenia Symptoms and Diagnosis


Schizophrenia is among the most complex and chaotic of all mental illnesses. Its symptoms are often so strange that it can seem like a person is living in an alternate reality, making diagnosis and treatment particularly challenging. To put it simply, schizophrenia presents as a terrifying breakdown of thought, perception, emotion, behavior, and even identity itself?which could make anyone feel overwhelmed.

For starters, those suffering from this condition may experience auditory hallucinations (i.e., hearing voices), delusions (irrational beliefs not based on reality), or disorganized speech which makes communication difficult to follow. Additionally, people with schizophrenia often show signs of social withdrawal; erratic movements and behaviors; difficulty functioning at work or school; lack of motivation; impaired cognitive ability; blunted affect (lack of emotional expressions); and negative symptoms such as apathy and reduced self-care.

When diagnosing this disorder, clinicians must rule out other possible causes for these types of psychotic symptoms, such as drug use/abuse or another medical illness. They also take into account family history since there appears to be some genetic component involved in schizophrenia?s development. In order to confirm their suspicions about the patient?s condition, they usually conduct a comprehensive physical examination along with psychological testing that includes interviews with both the individual and his/her family members or caregivers. All these steps help doctors arrive at an accurate diagnosis so that proper treatments can begin immediately if needed.


The Effects of Trauma on Mental Health


The effects of trauma on mental health can be significant and long-lasting. Traumatic experiences have the potential to cause a variety of symptoms, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and sleep disturbances?all of which can interfere with an individual?s ability to function in day-to-day life.

Trauma can also alter the structure and functioning of the brain itself. In some cases of PTSD, for example, researchers have observed changes in areas involved in memory formation and emotion processing that correspond to certain behavioral symptoms associated with PTSD such as flashbacks or hyperarousal. Additionally, traumatic experiences may lead to disruptions in neurotransmitter production, resulting in further negative impacts on cognitive functions such as learning and executive control.

Treatment options for those suffering from the effects of trauma vary depending on the severity and duration of symptoms experienced by the individual. Psychotherapy is often recommended as a first-line intervention due to its effectiveness in addressing underlying issues related to trauma while providing support for individuals struggling with their mental health. Medication may also be prescribed when necessary to help manage any coexisting conditions such as depression or anxiety disorders. With appropriate care, many individuals are able to reduce their distress and improve functioning over time despite having endured traumatic events earlier in life.


How She Overcome the Challenges?


Elyn Saks is a successful professor, attorney, and author who has experienced both the highs and lows of living with schizophrenia. Despite her condition, she was determined to overcome the challenges it presented. She sought out treatment from leading psychiatrists while also learning how to recognize her symptoms and manage them on her own.

Saks credits many of the coping techniques she uses today to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Through CBT sessions, Saks learned how to better understand her feelings and reactions as well as differentiate between reality and delusion. This allowed her to challenge thoughts that were irrational or unfounded and replace them with more positive ones. With this newfound knowledge, she could take charge of her mental health instead of feeling helpless in its grip.

In addition to therapy, Saks made lifestyle changes that helped reduce stress and anxiety which can trigger psychotic episodes for those diagnosed with schizophrenia. These included getting plenty of sleep each night and engaging in regular physical activity such as jogging or yoga. By taking control of her life through these methods, she was able to achieve a greater level of stability than ever before ? something we all strive for regardless of our mental state.


mental health


How Is She Living Their Purposes?


Elyn Saks is living her purpose to advocate for the rights of those with mental illness and to encourage them to reach their potential. Having been personally affected by severe mental illness, she has become a leader in the field, speaking out publicly and advocating for better treatment options. She has published several books on schizophrenia and other mental illnesses, including The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness. In this book, she shares her story of overcoming her struggles with schizophrenia.

Saks?s advocacy work extends beyond writing books; she frequently speaks at conferences, teaches classes at universities, and lobbies state legislatures for more funding toward improved care facilities. She also serves as an advisor on various committees related to mental health issues in both the U.S. and abroad. Her goal is to empower people who suffer from mental illness so that they can achieve their fullest potential despite society?s stigma against them.

In addition to public outreach efforts, Saks works closely with medical professionals and organizations dedicated to improving access to quality healthcare for those suffering from psychological ailments. She provides guidance about best practices for treating patients dealing with symptoms like hallucinations or delusions due to serious psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. By leveraging her experience living with these conditions first-hand, Saks is striving to make sure every person gets adequate treatment regardless of socioeconomic status or insurance coverage availability.




In conclusion, The Center Cannot Hold by Elyn Saks provides a powerful and inspiring story of one woman?s struggles with schizophrenia. Her personal journey details the debilitating symptoms she experienced as well as her own resilience in overcoming them. Though the trauma of childhood abuse may have contributed to the onset of her condition, Saks was ultimately able to find solace through medication, therapy, and support systems that enabled her to live out her purpose.

The book serves as an example for anyone struggling with mental illness – it is possible to manage its effects with courage and determination. It also highlights the importance of seeking help when needed; without professional assistance, Saks? recovery would not have been possible. Lastly, it reminds readers to never give up hope – no matter how bleak things appear, there is always light at the end of the tunnel. As Saks herself puts it: ?I refuse to be shoved into some dark corner where I can?t see light or feel joy? No matter how hard life gets, I will still keep my eyes open for possibility?.


Sunny Days have an anxiety / depression Facebook support group.? Please join here.




Cahalan, Susannah. Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness. New York, NY: Free Press, 2012.

Susannah Cahalan.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 2022. Web. [Accessed on April 7, 2023].

Saks, Elyn R. The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness. New York: Hyperion, 2007. PDF document. Retrieved from on April 7, 2023.

“Saks, Elyn.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 2022. Web. [Accessed on April 7, 2023].


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