- By Dr. Austine Wanga
The burden of mental disorders continues to grow with significant impacts on health and major social, human rights and economic consequences in all countries of the world. - WHO
Photo credit WHO
Key facts- By WHO
There are many different mental disorders, with different presentations. They are generally characterized by a combination of abnormal thoughts, perceptions, emotions, behavior and relationships with others.
Mental disorders include: depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and other psychoses, dementia, and developmental disorders including autism.
There are effective strategies for preventing mental disorders such as depression.
There are effective treatments for mental disorders and ways to alleviate the suffering caused by them.
Access to health care and social services capable of providing treatment and social support is key.
What is mental health?
Mental health is an integral part of our overall wellness. According to WHO (World Health Organization), “a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively, fruitfully, and contribute to her or his community.”
The “mind” is the control center of all body functions. Our mind is a pillar of our behaviors, feelings, and thoughts.
Mental health, therefore, is the overall well-being of our mind and how it affects our thoughts, emotions, and even behavior.
When you have stable mental health, you feel good about life and can perform your daily tasks despite facing challenges. As human beings, to reach a state of stability and balance, we must have good mental health. Part of that is self-awareness. When your mental health is stable, you feel like you can manage the day-to-day life challenges you encounter. You may have anxious moments, but you can work through them. When your mental health is out of balance, you can suffer from mental health issues or mental illness.
A person struggling with mental health may have any of the following:
Isolating from people
Not participating in activities, they used to enjoy
Sleeping too much or not enough
Overeating or undereating
Thoughts of suicide
Substance abuse (drugs and alcohol)
Trouble engaging in day-to-day activities such as going to school or work
Mental health issues
According to WHO (World Health Organization), millions of people have mental health issues and manage to live productive lives. Whether you manage anxiety, depression, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, PTSD, substance abuse, Bipolar Disorder, Borderline Personality Disorder, or any other mental health illness, you can get treatment and find a sense of balance regardless of what you’re managing. The key is to get treatment as soon as you recognize your problems. Some people refer to mental health issues as “mental disorders” or “mental illness.” The stigma surrounding mental illness is prevalent, and people are hesitant to call diagnoses illnesses because they don’t want to admit that it’s an ailment. They might feel like there’s something wrong with them.
A person of any age, race, gender, or religion can have a mental illness in their lifetime. Many disorders are hereditary, and it’s essential to see a mental health professional if you’re having symptoms of a condition that runs in your family.
Half of the mental health conditions start by age 14. 75% of mental health conditions develop by the time a person is 24. Many changes occur during adolescence, making it difficult to make out mental health issues during this period. Early interventions during adolescence are key for recovery.
Mental Illness Isn’t “Bad.”
Although “mental illness” might sound like a negative term, it’s a condition that people manage, and that’s why we will give you accurate information about mental illnesses. It is important to note that mental illness involves thoughts, feelings, perceptions, and behavior. If left untreated, may cause devastating emotional, behavioral, and physical health issues.
There are various treatment options for mental health issues. It’s important to remember that everyone’s mental health journey is different. What works for you might not work for someone else. One of the most commons treatments for mental illness or when someone is struggling with their mental health is psychotherapy.
i) Psychotherapy: People who live with chronic mental health issues can benefit from therapy. Depending on the individual’s needs, there are many types of interventions to choose from, and it is key to stay informed about what works best for your particular mental health issue.
ii) Medication: Some people with mental illness take psychiatric medication. If you live with a chronic condition such as bipolar disorder, psychotropic medication could drastically improve your quality of life. Consider consulting with a psychiatrist if you’re interested in learning about the benefits of psychiatric drugs. Some mental illnesses can do well when the individual takes medication and goes to therapy. Psychiatric drugs can help people maintain stable mental health.
iii) Self-care: Self-care is a crucial element in maintaining excellent mental health. It’s important to eat regularly, get good sleep each night, and learn to set boundaries with people. It is vital to recognize when work harms your health and address it. Such effects include burnout, compassion fatigue, and vicarious/secondary trauma.
You’re allowed to take time for yourself and say no when you can’t commit to a project. It’s essential to have a stable support system of friends and family who love you and care about your wellbeing. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, first published in 1989, is a business and self-help book written by Stephen R. Covey, states in habit #7 that “sharpening the saw” is the most crucial of them all.
Common mental health problems
When it comes to mental health issues, some are common. Here are some mental health problems that many people manage.
Anxiety disorders are a common form of mental illness. Some include Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, Phobias, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Millions of people live with anxiety disorders and receive treatment for them in therapy. People with anxiety disorders can benefit from psychiatric medication and psychotherapy.
a) Panic Attacks: Panic attacks are severe episodes that seem to come out of nowhere. During a panic attack, an individual experiences a feeling of dread where they feel afraid that something terrible may happen.
b) PTSD: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a condition where an individual has experienced one or more traumatic episodes, has flashbacks to their trauma and may suffer from anxiety, panic attacks, and depression.
a) Depression: Depression is a common illness worldwide, with an estimated 3.8% of the population affected. WHO estimates 280 million people worldwide have depression. It is different from usual mood fluctuations and short-lived emotional responses to challenges in everyday life. When recurrent and with moderate or severe intensity, depression may become a serious health condition. It can cause the affected person to suffer greatly and function poorly at work, at school, and in the family. It can lead to suicide.
Clinical Depression: Also called major depression, is a mental health disorder characterized by persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities, causing significant impairment in daily life. Its treatment involves medication, talk therapy, or both.
b) Bipolar Disorder: Bipolar disorder has its highs and lows (depression and mania). People who live with bipolar disorder experience manic episodes or hypomanic episodes followed by depressive ones. It would be quite helpful to find information and help about your illness, and if you love someone with this condition, you can find resources to learn more about what your loved one is experiencing.
c) Persistent Depressive Disorder: Persistent Depressive Disorder is also known as dysthymia. It’s mild but chronic depression. Some people refer to it as “high functioning depression.” Someone with dysthymia has similar symptoms to an individual with depression, but it’s a less severe case.
d) Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): SAD is a type of major depression. A person with SAD gets depressed during the late fall, winter, and into the early spring months. Someone with SAD is triggered when they don’t have a lot of daylight in their environment.
What Influences Your Mental Health?
When you’re working on your mental health, it’s important to consider what influences it from the outside and the inside. There are outside influences, such as your environment. Inside influences include your genetics and temperament. Here are some factors that contribute to mental health that you can read or inquire about:
Behavior: Behavior is an indicator of our mental health. You can learn about mental illnesses that include problematic behaviors as a symptom and how to change them.
Anger: Anger can be a symptom of mental illness. Take note of the warning signs of severe anger issues and how to develop coping strategies. It is vital to get in touch with mental health specialists for help if you have anger issues.
Abuse: When a person is a survivor of abuse, it can severely impact their mental health. Abuse is a widespread issue that many different people experience. Different kinds of abuse include emotional, sexual, medical, neglect, child abuse, and more (in most cases revolves around Gender-Based Violence, including Intimate Partner Violence and Violence Against Children).
Attachment: Healthy attachments can positively impact a person’s mental health. Attachment starts at a young age. We learn to form bonds with other human beings as babies, and that skill develops over our lives. We will be glad to enlighten you about the different attachment styles, and what problems arise when people develop unhealthy attachment issues.
Bullying: Bullying, can have a severe effect on a person’s mental health. It can cause depression and sometimes cause a person to end their life. Bullying is a serious offense where a person torments a person or group of people. Our mental health specialists will help you learn how to decipher if you or your child is being bullied. You’ll get in-depth information about how adults can get bullied, and how people of any age can be victims of these crimes.
Love: Part of maintaining excellent mental health is feeling loved. One might want to find love or maintain a relationship that you have at the moment. It is one of the best feelings human beings can experience. As mentioned in the third level of Maslow's hierarchy of needs is love and belonging needs. Maslow states that humans are social creatures that crave interaction with others. This level of the hierarchy outlines the need for friendship, intimacy, family, and love. Further explains that humans need to give and receive love; to feel like they belong in a group.
Learn more about how it affects us and what we can do to preserve it.
How Can K9 Alligators Security Company Support Your Mental Health?
Well, K9 Alligators Security Company, having recognized the psychological effects of crises, has a medical emergency section that offers first-line and emergency medical care during crisis response, with an extension of providing a client-centered first-line psychological support and appropriate referral for further support incredible medical and counseling institutions.
Also, watch out for more articles on emerging medical conditions, well-being, and health-related topics.