Mental health is often overlooked but is just as important as our physical well-being. Did you know that 1 in 5 people will be affected by a mental illness at some point their lifetime? Millions of people currently live with some form of mental illness. Despite these astonishing statistics, there is still a negative stigma that surrounds mental illness. This is in large part due to a lack of education and knowledge about mental illness and its devastating effects. May is Mental Health Awareness Month, so let’s take a closer look at mental health and how to help someone you love who may be suffering from a mental disorder.
What is Mental Health?
Mental health is closely tied to your physical health; so much so that poor mental health can actually cause physical health problems such as high blood pressure and obesity.
Mental health is three-fold and encompasses:
- Emotional well-being
- Psychological well-being
- Social well-being
Your mental health plays a very large part in how you respond to and interact with the world around you. Mental illness is any disorder that negatively affects your mental health and interferes with your ability to function and enjoy everyday life.
Factors That Contribute to Mental Illness
Everyone is different, and the cause of mental illness will vary for each person. These are the three main factors from which mental illnesses are thought to stem:
- Biological – Does your brain chemistry inherently put you at a higher risk for developing a mental illness?
- Environmental Factors – This includes family life or sustained trauma that could lead to poor mental health.
- Genetics – Is there a family history of mental illness that leaves you at greater risk?
What are the Warning Signs of Mental Illness?
The way in which mental illness manifests is different in each person. Here are warning signs that you or a loved one may be struggling with mental illness:
- Chronic irritability
- Prolonged sadness
- Withdrawal from family and friends
- Difficulty sleeping
- Severe mood swings
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Thoughts of suicide
- Inability to complete day-to-day tasks
This is by no means a complete list of symptoms, as mental illness can range from mild to very severe.
4 Most Common Mental Illnesses
There are more than 200 known forms of mental illnesses in the world. Here are five of the most common disorders:
- Depression – Experience feelings of sadness, loss of interest in activities, insomnia, etc.
- Anxiety – Often goes hand-in-hand with depression. Symptoms include nervousness, panic attack, and possibly physical symptoms such as a racing heartbeat.
- Schizophrenia – Common symptoms include distorted perceptions of reality, hallucinations, and delusions.
- Dementia – Common symptoms include loss of memory, becoming disoriented and the inability to comprehend.
This is by no means an exhaustive list and disorders may present in different ways depending on the origination and severity of the illness.
What to Do if You or Someone You Know is Suffering From Mental Illness
It can be hard watching someone you love struggle with mental illness. It is important to continue providing positive support while urging them to seek out professional treatment. It is very common to resist help at first, so do not be surprised if your loved one does not jump at the opportunity for treatment. Keep encouraging in a way that does not feel overbearing or overwhelming.
If you think you are suffering from a mental disorder, turn to someone you trust and seek out professional treatment. Mental illnesses, when left untreated, can lead to devastating consequences, including increasing severity of the disorder and even self-harm or harm to others.
When it comes time to seek help, trust Fairwinds Treatment Center, the leaders in mental health recovery in Florida. Our team understands it is not easy to seek help and treats each patient with care and compassion. By partnering with several insurance companies, we also strive to alleviate the financial burden of seeking treatment. Contact us today for more information and to schedule an appointment.