Mental illness is not typically a topic most people rush to discuss. In fact, the majority of people make it a point of order to cover up their mental conditions. The reason being mental health disorders can make you feel estranged or abnormal, but this is not the case. Everyone deals with a form of mental condition in some capacity. Whether it be anxiety, stress, depression, or a more severe illness, you’re not alone. Moreover, it’s beneficial to open up about your mental struggles because open, honest communication at the right time and setting can offer the best solutions.
What is Mental Health?
Your mental health refers to your emotional and psychological well-being. Possessing resilient mental health helps you lead a relatively happy and healthy life. It also helps you demonstrate strength and the ability to cope in the face of life’s tribulations.
Many factors can influence your mental health; however, there are a variety of strategies at your disposal to help you establish and maintain good mental health. These can include:
- keeping a positive attitude
- staying physically active
- helping other people
- getting enough sleep
- eating a healthy diet
- asking for professional help if you need it
- socializing with people whom you enjoy spending time with
- forming and using effective coping skills to deal with your issues
What is Mental Illness?
A mental illness is a broad term that encompasses a wide variety of conditions, which affect the way you feel and think. Mental illnesses can also be attributed to several different factors, including:
- daily habits
Mental Health Statistics
When talking about mental wellness, it helps to take a glance at the numbers to formulate a broader picture. Mental health issues are common in the United States. In fact, one in five (20%) American adults experience at least one mental illness every year. On top of that, one in five (20%) young people (ages 13-18) experience some sort of mental illness througout their lifetime.
Although mental conditions are common, they vary in severity. Approximately 1 in 25 adults experience a serious mental illness each year. A serious mental illness has a significant impact on those it plagues because it can significantly reduce an individual’s ability to carry out daily life.
Furthermore, different groups of people are at a hgher risk for serious mental illnesses. For example, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, women are more likely to experience SMI than men. In addition, those ages 18 to 25 are most likely to experience a SMI. Likewise, people with a mixed-race background are more likely to experience a SMI than people of other ethnicities.
Mental Health Disorders
There are many types of mental health disorders. The following cover the most common affecting people in the United States:
Bipolar disorder is a chronic mental illness that affects about 2.6 percent of Americans each year. It is characterized by episodes of manic highs and sometimes depressive lows. As a result, a person’s energy level and ability to think are heavily impacted. Additionally, mood swings brought on by bipolar disorder are much more severe compared to the small ups and downs most people experience on a daily basis.
2.) Persistent Depressive Disorder
Persistent depressive disorder, also known as dysthymia, is a chronic type of depression. While dysthymic depression isn’t intense, it can interfere with daily life. Around 1.5% of people deal with dysthymic depression every year.
3.) Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Generalized anxiety disorder goes beyond regular everyday anxiety. It causes a person to become extremely worried about many things, even when there’s little or no reason to worry. Those suffering from general anxiety disorder may feel very nervous about getting through the day. Oftentimes, because they believe things won’t ever work in their favor. The disorder to so severe that it sometimes keeps people from accomplishing everyday tasks and chores. 3 percent of Americans live with general anxiety disorder every year.
4.) Major Depressive Disorder
Major depressive disorder, also known as clinical depression, causes feelings of extreme sadness or hopelessness that lasts for at least two weeks. About 7 percent of Americans experience at least one major depressive episode each year, and frequently become so upset about their lives that they think about or try to commit suicide.
5.) Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Obsessive-compulsive disorder causes constant and repetitive thoughts, or obsessions. These thoughts happen unnecessarily and come equipped with unreasonable desires to carry out certain behaviors, attitudes, or compulsions. More than 2 percent of Americans are diagnosed with OCD at some point in their lifetime. Many people with OCD realize that their thoughts and actions are unreasonable, but are unable to stop them.
6.) Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental illness that’s triggered after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event. It’s estimated that 3.5 percent of American adults experience PTSD. Experiences that can cause PTSD range from extreme events, like war and national disasters, to verbal or physical abuse.
Schizophrenia impairs a person’s perception of reality along with the world around them. Additonally, it regularly interferes with their connection to other people. Episodes include hallucinations, delusions, and voices. The results can potentially put a person and those around them in a dangerous situation if left untreated. It’s thought that 1 percent of the American population experiences schizophrenia.
8.) Social Anxiety Disorder
Social anxiety disorder, also known as social phobia, causes an extreme fear of social situations. People with social anxiety may become very nervous about being around other people. They also may feel like they’re constantly being judged. This disorder makes it difficult for them to meet new people and attend social gatherings. Approximately 15 million adults in the United States experience social anxiety each year.
Mental Health Disorder Symptoms
Each type of mental illness causes its own symptoms, but many share some common characteristics. Here are the most common symptoms to watch out for:
- not eating enough or overeating
- having insomnia or sleeping too much
- distancing yourself from other people and favorite activities
- feeling fatigue even with enough sleep
- feeling numbness or lacking empathy
- experiencing unexplainable body pains or aches
- feeling hopeless, helpless, or lost
- smoking, drinking, or using illicit drugs more than ever before
- feeling confusion, forgetfulness, irritability, anger, anxiety, sadness, or fright
- constantly fighting or arguing with friends and family
- having extreme mood swings that cause relationship problems
- having constant flashbacks or thoughts that you can’t get out of your head
- hearing voices in your head that you can’t stop
- having thoughts of hurting yourself or other people
- being unable to carry out day-to-day activities and chores