“Mental health” is defined as “a state of mental well-being that enables people to cope with the pressures of everyday life, realize their potential, learn and work effectively, and make positive contributions to their communities.” According to the World Health Organization (WHO), having a healthy mental state entails “more than just the absence of mental disorders or disabilities.” Reaching your full mental potential requires not only keeping any active conditions under control but also prioritizing your ongoing wellness and contentment.
Additionally, it emphasizes the significance of maintaining and restoring one’s mental health not only on an individual level but also at the community and societal levels. According to estimates provided by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), in the United States, nearly one in five adults will experience issues related to their mental health every year.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, in the year 2020, an estimated 14.2 million adults in the United States, which is equivalent to about 5.6% of the adult population, will have a serious psychological condition (NIMH).
Factors That Increase the Likelihood of Mental Health Conditions
No one, regardless of age, sex, income, or ethnicity, is immune to the possibility of developing a mental health disorder at some point in their lives. One of the primary reasons people are unable to work in developed countries like the United States and much of the rest of the world is mental illness. A person’s mental health can be influenced by a variety of factors, including their social and financial situation, difficult childhood experiences, biological factors, and underlying medical conditions.
Many individuals who are diagnosed with a mental health disorder also struggle with another condition at the same time. It is essential to keep in mind that maintaining good mental health depends on striking a delicate balance between several factors and that several factors may play a role in the development of these disorders. The following are some of the factors that may contribute to disturbances in mental health.
Pressure From Society and the Economy That Never Lets Up
There is a correlation between having limited financial means and an increased risk of developing mental health disorders. Additionally, belonging to an ethnic group that is marginalized or persecuted also increases this risk.
A 2015 Iranian Study
According to Reliable Source, several socioeconomic factors can contribute to mental health conditions. Two of these factors are living on the outskirts of a large city and being poor. The researchers also described factors that are flexible (modifiable) and inflexible factors (nonmodifiable) that affect the availability and quality of mental health treatment for particular groups of people. The following are examples of modifiable risk factors for mental health disorders:
- Socioeconomic circumstances, such as whether or not there is work available in the immediate area
- A person’s level of social involvement
- The occupation they hold
- The standard of education and housing
According to the findings of the study, the likelihood of having a poor mental health status was nearly multiplied by four for women. According to this research, participants with a “weak economic status” had the highest prevalence of mental health conditions.
Adversity Encountered in Childhood
A growing child’s mental and physical health is significantly impacted when they go through traumatic events in their childhood, such as being abused as a child, the death or separation of a parent, or the illness of a parent. This theory is supported by credible sources.
There are also connections between traumatic experiences in childhood, such as physical or sexual abuse, and a variety of psychotic disorders. People who go through these kinds of things are also more likely to develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the presence of a genetic family history may
A Reliable Source of Mental Health Conditions
Certain genes and gene variants can increase a person’s likelihood of developing certain mental health conditions. Nevertheless, the development of these disorders is also influenced by a great number of other factors. The presence of a gene that is linked to a mental health condition is not sufficient evidence that the disorder will manifest itself. People who do not have a genetic predisposition or a family history of mental illness are still at risk for developing mental health problems.
Chronic stress and mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety, may develop as a result of underlying physical health problems, such as cancer, diabetes, or chronic pain.
Disorders of Various Kinds Related to Mental Health
Certain forms of mental illness are classified collectively due to the characteristics they share in common. The following are some examples of different types of mental illnesses:
- Anxiety disorders
- Mood disorders
- Schizophrenia disorders
Anxiety disorders are said to be the most prevalent form of mental illness, at least according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. People who suffer from these conditions often experience extreme anxiety or fear in response to particular situations or triggers. The majority of people who suffer from anxiety disorders make an effort to steer clear of whatever it is that sets off their symptoms. Here are a few examples of different types of anxiety disorders.
Generalized anxiety Disorder
The symptoms of a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), also known as GAD, include excessive worry or fear that interferes with daily life. Additionally, people might experience physical symptoms such as the following:
- Restlessness fatigue poor concentration
- Tense muscles interrupted sleep
- People who suffer from GAD do not necessarily require a specific trigger to experience an episode of anxiety symptoms.
They may experience excessive anxiety even when confronted with mundane circumstances that do not pose an immediate threat, such as going to an appointment or doing their chores. A person who suffers from GAD may at times experience feelings of anxiety for no apparent reason.
People who suffer from panic disorder are prone to having panic attacks regularly. These attacks can involve sudden, overwhelming fear or a sense of impending doom and death.
There are numerous kinds of phobias, including the following:
- Phobias of a simple nature are characterized by an irrational and excessive dread of particular things, situations, or animals. One common example of this is a phobia of spiders.
- The fear of being judged or evaluated by other people is at the root of social phobia, which is also referred to as social anxiety. People who suffer from social phobia typically limit the amount of time they spend in social settings.
- Agoraphobia is a term that describes a fear of situations where it may be difficult to escape, such as when one is trapped in an elevator or on a train that is moving. The fear of being exposed to natural elements is a common misunderstanding of this phobia.
- Phobias are extremely private conditions, and medical professionals are unable to diagnose every variety. It’s possible that there are thousands of different phobias, and what one person finds peculiar could be a debilitating issue that rules their life daily for someone else.
Obsessions and compulsions are symptoms that characterize individuals who suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). In other words, they are plagued by continuous stressful thoughts and have a powerful compulsion to engage in ritualistic behaviors, such as washing their hands repeatedly.
After experiencing or witnessing an event that is extremely stressful or traumatic, a person may develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). During this kind of event, the person believes that their own life or the lives of other people are in danger. They might experience feelings of panic or helplessness as a result of the situation they are in. These traumatic experiences and feelings of fear may then contribute to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
A person’s state of mind can also be affected by conditions known as affective disorders and depressive disorders. People who have these conditions experience significant shifts in their mood, which typically involve either mania, which is characterized by periods of increased energy and joy, or depression. The following are some examples of mood disorders:
Major depression: an individual who suffers from major depression experiences a persistently depressed mood and loses interest in the activities and experiences that they once took pleasure in (anhedonia). They are prone to experiencing extended bouts of sadness as well as intense feelings of melancholy.
A person who suffers from a mental health condition known as bipolar disorder is characterized by unusual shifts in their mood, levels of energy, levels of activity, and ability to carry on with their normal daily activities. Manic phases are characterized by extremely elevated moods, whereas depressive phases are characterized by significantly lower moods. Click here to read more about the various types of bipolar disorder.
The seasonal affective disorder also referred to as SAD: This type of major depression is brought on by the shorter amount of daylight that occurs during the fall, winter, and early spring months (referenced source). It is most prevalent in nations that are latitudes away from the equator.
Many times, when people talk about schizophrenia, they mean a spectrum of disorders that are characterized by psychotic features as well as other severe symptoms. These are extremely difficult-to-diagnose conditions.
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) reports that the typical age range for the onset of schizophrenia symptoms is between the ages of 16 and 30 (Reliable Source). The individual will have thoughts that are disjointed and may also have difficulty processing the information that is presented to them.
Both positive and negative symptoms are associated with schizophrenia. Positive symptoms can include delusions, thought disorders, and hallucinations, while negative symptoms can include withdrawal, a lack of motivation, and a flat or inappropriate mood. Positive symptoms can also include hearing voices.
There is no medical examination or scan that can definitively determine whether or not a person has a mental illness. On the other hand, people should be on the lookout for the following, as they could be indications of a mental health disorder:
- Avoiding activities that they would normally enjoy, as well as isolating themselves from friends, family, and coworkers.
- Sleeping too much or not enough eating too much or not enough feeling like there is no hope for the future
- Having low energy consistently, using substances that alter mood, including alcohol and nicotine, and showing negative emotions more frequently as a result of this behavior
- Being lost in thought
- Being incapable of completing routine tasks throughout the day, such as going to work or preparing a meal
- Having thoughts or memories that come back to them repeatedly, having recurring thoughts of hurting themselves or others physically, and hearing voices in their head.
- Experiencing delusions
A multi-step process is required to diagnose a condition related to mental health. It is common practice for a physician to start by reviewing the patient’s medical history and carrying out a complete physical examination to rule out the possibility that the symptoms are being caused by an underlying physical condition or issue. No medical tests can diagnose mental disorders. However, to determine whether or not there are any additional potential underlying causes, a doctor may decide to order a battery of laboratory tests including imaging exams and bloodwork.
In addition to that, a psychological evaluation will be carried out. This entails inquiring about a person’s symptoms as well as their experiences and the effect that these have had on their lives. For the physician to get a better understanding of the patient’s thoughts, feelings, and behavior patterns, the patient may occasionally be asked to fill out mental health questionnaires.
When making a diagnosis, the vast majority of mental health professionals refer to the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA). This manual provides descriptions as well as specific criteria that must be met to receive a diagnosis.
There are a variety of approaches to treating issues related to mental health. Treatment is highly individualized, and what is effective for one individual might not be effective for another. When combined with other approaches or treatments, certain strategies or procedures yield better results. At various points in their lives, a person who struggles with a persistent mental illness may decide to go in a variety of directions.
The individual requires close collaboration with a physician who can assist them in determining their needs and providing treatment that is appropriate for those needs.