According to research by WHO, mental health illnesses are becoming a widespread epidemic. Thousands of people are diagnosed yearly, and it’s not surprising that 2.9% of the US population is affected.
There have been concerns, and organizations are coming together to find a solution to curb this menace. Technology and science are at the forefront and are helping a great.
This article will provide detailed information about the various mental illnesses, their causes, and their effects on individuals and their loved ones.
What’s a Mental Illness?
Your mental health is vast and goes a long way more than the usual stress streaks and the change of your moods.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, mental illnesses are diseases that affect your brain or thoughts, emotions, and behavior.
Causes of Mental Health
Let’s face it – you must have been sick mentally once, if not severally. Whenever you are stressed or anxious, that’s a dent of mental illness.
However, they become full-blown mental illnesses when they lead to acute symptoms like suicidal thoughts and inactivity.
Most diseases have no apparent cause but are linked to the surroundings and brain functions. However, some illnesses like bipolar disorder are related to your genes. It may have affected a member of your family in the recent past.
Are Mental Illnesses Serious?
In some instances, they are fatal. The irony is that any severe mental illness will make you think death is the only cure.
Did you know that at least three people commit suicide every day? Of these deaths, 95% are caused by stress and depression, the most prevalent mental sickness symptoms.
Mental health is not a joke, and it needs to be addressed. For this to happen, we need to leverage our strategies for approaching it.
Are they Preventable?
There are no mental illnesses that can’t be treated. Surprisingly, treating mental conditions requires drug administration and more, bringing our minds to a state of calmness.
It’s known as mental wellness. This goes a long way in preventing you from contracting opportunistic diseases.
Symptoms of Mental Health Illnesses
The symptoms cut across various types of illnesses. It may be hard to differentiate the signs since they look similar from one disease to another.
Now, detecting if you’re suffering mentally is a hard nut to crack. You may not be able to know until it has reached a critical stage.
Some of the signs of mental health include;
- Changes in Sleep Pattern: This is one of the early stages of mental illness. You may have dramatic sleep patterns, such as oversleeping for a few days and only being attacked with insomnia the following week.
- Thinking Problems: You will find it hard to concentrate or enjoy things you previously could long for.
- Memory lapse: Your memory begins to become obsolete, which eventually leads to slurred speech. The patient may forget things faster. This affects students so much and encourages them to withdraw from classes.
- Low Self-Esteem: You will begin having the feeling that you are neglected. You will only find “peace” when you stay alone and avoid the masses as much as possible.
- Nervousness: This is a dangerous stage to reach as you have a strong sense of insecurity. At this point, there is a strong feeling of fear.
- Changes in Eating Habits: The patient does not eat well or doesn’t eat at all. It will take long hours of persuasion for them to eat something.
- Mood Changes: The patient has rapid and dramatic changes in their emotions. They may be happy now and only angry at a small thing that pissed them off.
The advancement of this stage is encompassed with extreme anger and rage.
- Loss in Interest: The patient suddenly drops interest in their school work, job, or sports they initially loved. They feel that whatever they do is less important and does not add value to their lives.
- Suicidal Thoughts: This is the ultimatum of any mental illness. The patients always have this thought, “It’s better if I die.” They see more value in dying since they’ll not have to cope with depression and everything else.
- Indulging in Drug abuse: includes taking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, or consuming hard drugs. The patients may think they’ve got help for all their problems, but in the real sense, they are doing themselves more harm than good.
Learn More: Difference between mental and emotional health
Common Types of Mental Health Conditions
We have compiled at least seven mental conditions known to have ugly endings if not attended to on time.
The disease tops the list since it’s a common and fatal mental disorder. The danger is that the victims abnormally interpret reality, thereby affecting their behavior, thinking, and decision-making.
Some of the unique symptoms include delusions, hallucinations, and disorganization. The disease mainly attacks teenagers making them withdraw from family and friends and become truants.
Assisting someone with Schizophrenia needs early detection to begin life-long treatments.
2. Bipolar Disorder
A patient with the disease has extreme shifts in their moods. It can last from a week to months, with a short period of being “sober” in between.
Bipolar is classified into two:
- Bipolar I is characterized by: severe mood swings and manic depression that last for about two weeks. They might be severe enough to require immediate hospital care for the affected patient.
- Bipolar II: It is similar to Bipolar I and pronounced as “bipolar two” however the symptoms for Bipolar two are not severe as those described above. They include cycling of moods high and low. A condition referred to as hypomanic or hypomania.
It’s a severe mental illness that destroys relationships and affects the individual’s academic performance.
It’s not surprising that 2.9% of Americans have this disease. Out of these cases, over three-quarters are severe.
Genetic factors cause the disease. It can be in a family from generation to generation. The other cause may be biological traits, which involve changes in the brain’s sensory organs.
3. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Also known as PTSD, the disease mainly attacks people that have gone through a scary and shocking ordeal.
Naturally, when you go through a dangerous event like a fatal accident or terror strike, where people die, it’s okay to be afraid. The thoughts and fear may haunt you for some time. However, some people don’t seem to recover from this in the long run, leading to Post Traumatic Disorder.
The disease affects your daily routine and sometimes may lead to a season of “inactiveness.”During this time, they can’t do anything but only think of what they’d gone through.
The perfect medicine that mental health therapists or physiotherapists use is “talk therapy.” At least anyone can administer this dosage as long as they are understanding and welcoming.
4. Clinical Depression
Depression is one of the main symptoms of the disease is a feeling of hopelessness and sadness. The patient feels as if there is nothing important they’re doing.
The disease is why many people resign from their jobs without good reason. They think that they are not adding any value to the company.
Clinical depression can affect anyone of any age, including children. The best way to attack it is with psychological counseling by a mental health counselor.
The disease begins in early childhood and gives room to other health complications.
It’s characterized by having sensory issues that include under-sensitivities to lights, tastes, smells, pains, and sounds.
The patients have difficulties in verbal communication, recognizing and expressing emotions, and are resistant to routine.
The disease does affect not only the patients but also the immediate family, who may not seem to accept the situation of their loved ones.
It can be treated, but it should begin early, at least when the patient is three years old.
6. Anxiety Disorder
Anxiety is a normal thing. You must have felt anxious when you went for a job interview or were about to receive your examination result.
Anxiety disorder is a disease that takes anxiety to a new level. When it strikes, it can keep you inactive for a long time, destroying your healthy life.
Anxiety disorder is divided into conditions such as; panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and specific phobias. Across these, common symptoms are panic, fear, heart palpitations, tense muscles, nausea, and shortness of breath.
Read More: How to Deal with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Psychosis is familiar to Schizophrenia. It affects how your brain performs its functions. It brings the world upside down; hence, you can’t concur with reality.
Similar to Schizophrenia, it affects teenagers in their last years before adulthood.
Some causes include trauma, traumatic experiences or injuries, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, drugs, and genetics.
Mental Health Treatment
All these diseases are treatable regardless of the time they are diagnosed. Their treatment is vast and cuts across early detection, health checkups, prevention measures, and relationship.
However, staying with your loved ones during these hard times is the best treatment.
It goes far from the numerous dosages, injections, and hospital admissions.
Thanks to the numerous mental health awareness given, multiple campaigns have alerted people to the dangers of mental illnesses. At least, the battle is catching on, and people are being educated on the ways to detect and react.
How to prevent Mental illness
Prevention is always the best medicine when it comes to mental illness. Once you notice symptoms of mental disorders, it’s better you try to prevent the situation before it gets out of hand.
Research has proven that exercising not only helps one lose weight and stays fit but also helps fight depression and anxiety and promotes a feeling of calmness and well-being.
Patients with mental health symptoms can try exercising by going to the gym or doing outdoor exercises such as jogging or cycling.
Mental illnesses remain an enemy of society. Hundreds of families are left without a loved one, homeless, or jobless, which are some of the effects of the disease.
However, the good news is that all these can be prevented. There are also mental health campaigns put in place by different organizations to prevent stigmatization and bring awareness.