What is Mental Health?

There are many aspects in life that determine how healthy our minds are. But before we get into that, what is this mental health we are talking about? The term could have varied interpretations by different medical specialists. However, the basic definition refers to it as an individual’s condition concerning the wellbeing of their psychology and emotions.

Throughout the entire human life, mental health serves a great purpose at every stage. It forms a basis on how we handle stressful conditions, respond to choices or interact with the people around us.

What is Mental Health?

At any stage of your life, being infected with a psychiatric disorder may cause an adverse effect on your general well-being. It would have interfered with your public behavior, thinking, way of interpreting situations, and general mood towards others. You can be considered lucky if it does not extend to adverse conditions. Otherwise, you may lose your dignity and every bit of your DNA’s behavioral characteristics.

Unfortunately, some of the piloting factors contributing to the acquisition of these illnesses originate from our surroundings. There exist some biological elements such as the brain or genetic chemistry which adds to these problems. In other cases, traumatizing or abusive life experiences and a history of the family having health problems would inflict the same issues.

However, despite the sad experience of mental health, the great news is that there exists help for persons suffering from such. You can completely recover from such issues but only if you seek proper medical care from qualified specialists.

What is a Mental Illness?

What could be more disturbing and traumatizing than finding out that one of your family members, who was believed to be in excellent health, develops a mental problem? Most of us unaffected by these illnesses in our families assume we are far removed from such problems. But the truth is otherwise.

What is a Mental Illness?

You might have the gene for a psychiatric illness hidden deep inside your DNA. When you later meet a partner, then there might be considerable chances of your offspring bearing the characteristics of the illness. In America, close to 54 million people portray a mental disorder in various forms every year.

According to various health definitions, mental illness refers to a health condition that causes mild to severe instabilities in a person’s general behavior or thinking resulting in incapability to cope with the ordinary routines and demands of life.

It is a common condition widespread across the entire world. Those it affects for the first time often misunderstand facts behind it; thus, they behave awkwardly to those infected. Some families go to a greater extent of disowning some of the infected persons.

Mental Health

According to medical statistics, there exist over 200 forms of classified mental illness. Some common psychological conditions include dementia, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and anxiety illnesses. There are also rare conditions, such as Stendhal Syndrome, Apotemnophilia, Alien Hand Syndrome, Capgras Syndrome and Alice in Wonderland Syndrome.

Psychological problems are real and most of the causatives are things/situations we encounter in our daily lives. For instance, persistent stressful conditions might easily lead to their development. Cancer, heart disease, and diabetic patients suffer both psychologically and emotionally.

Other ways you may develop these conditions are through reactions occurring because of your environmental stresses, biochemical imbalances, genetic factors or merely a combination of all of these. However, the correct mode of caring for such conditions reduces the general impact of mental illness for an individual.

Importance of Mental Health

Being incapacitated mentally can be an alarming and inconveniencing condition in any person’s life and that of the people you live with. A mentally ill person will always have difficulty coping with the standard way of living, and in some severe cases it may call for seclusion – especially if the mentally ill person suffers a critical condition.

Importance of Mental Health

Having a healthy mind alternatively offers you great benefits that assist you in general progress in your life. Some of these direct benefits include:

  • Improves the quality of life – A sweet, enjoyable life only comes to you when you live a full life free from depression, excessive stress or worry, anxiety, addictions or any other psychological disorders.

Peace of mind is a better and sure therapy that works against psychological conditions. Once your mind settles your thinking, the chances of you developing one will diminish significantly.

  • Proper mental health reinforces and supports our capacity to:
  • build healthy relationships
  • make appropriate life choices
  • preserve physical health and well-being
  • confront the dynamics of life – the ups and downs
  • explore our life’s full potential
  • Psychiatric healthcare and treatment cuts down medical costs

According to the medical research carried out on patients who have a mental illness, it is notable that their need for health care reduces with time. The number receives reduction estimates of up to 90%. The discovery is supported by a 50% decrease in laboratory visits by such patients; thus, reflecting a general drop in the overall treatment cost of patients by 35%. Therefore, if your family has financial strain from trying to fix your condition, then it is hopeful that soon there will be a relief.

Importance of Mental Health

In simple terms, the study indicated that persons who have a psychological condition visit medical doctors twice as often as those receiving psychiatric treatment.

The above research was backed up by the Cost Savings and Effectiveness of Mental Health Services. Journal of the Oregon Psychological Association, 38, 8-12.

The healthcare was discovered to reduce excessive anxiety and stress which contributes to physical disorders, such as ulcers, heart disease, and colitis. Stress and anxiety weaken the human immune system thus rendering mental health patients vulnerable to common conditions ranging from cold to cancer.

Importance of Mental Health

Treatment offers ultimate restrictions for smoking, abuse of drugs, excessive drinking of alcohol as well as poor eating habits. The entire list only demonstrates the improper behavior portrayed by patients suffering from mental illnesses.

  • Mental health is proper for businesses

A healthy mind in any business setup will mean better performance, high productivity, consistency in work attendance and, most importantly, fewer accidents in the workplace. Employers will always employ persons of sound mind and a healthy mindset to take care of their businesses.

The importance of mental health is vast and, depending on how you view it, you will always see its benefits.

How to Improve Your Mental Health

Having your mind healthy makes you very productive. Now that we know the benefits that come along with a healthy mind, how do we then improve our mental health?

How to Improve Your Mental Health

There exists a full list of the best recommended ways one can observe to ensure they remain sound and sober in their mental state.

Here are the top ones:

  • Appreciate yourself – Valuing yourself is a very crucial step in improving your well-being. It involves, treating oneself with respect and kindness. It also calls for avoiding self-criticism and instead making time for your hobbies and focusing on broadening your horizons. Engaging in daily crossword puzzles, attending to a flower garden or taking dance/music lessons would also assist you in appreciating yourself.
  • Caring for your body – Caring for your body is another way you can improve. Here you mainly focus on the things you need to do that will enhance your mental health. These would include:
  •  Observing your diet keenly
  • Avoiding cigarettes
  • Drinking plenty of clean water
  • Carrying out exercises designed to decrease anxiety and depression. They will improve your mood.
  • Get enough sleep. Research indicates that lack of enough sleep results in depression.
  • Being in the company of supportive people – A family who has strong bonds and networking is generally healthier compared to those who do not. They will always offer you a chance to share or mingle with one another when clubbing, working out, dancing, taking music lessons or any other support groups.
  • Give yourself – Offering yourself as a volunteer to various forums or groups offers your mind a chance to focus on beneficial/relevant issues. The task may involve meeting and helping needy people in the society.
  • Design your way of dealing with stress: Stress leads to lots of lots of health defects, let alone the psychiatric illnesses. Luckily there are proper ways to eliminate it or reduce its effects on us. It is always recommendable that you engage in physical exercises to work out your body and also participate in Tai Chi to ensure your brain remains free from stress. Another great way to eliminate this would be staying happy. You need to keep smiling. Research recognizes smiling as better and comfortable stress relieving therapy.
  • Meditate: Meditation helps relax your mind. It assists you to have a different outlook on life and enables you to focus on the calmness that enters your spirit.
  • Focus on realistic goals: Away from your personal, professional or academic qualifications, there are life goals that everyone needs to set for themselves. Setting unrealistic goals will lead you nowhere. You will be struggling to achieve that which is undoubtedly beyond you.  Therefore, put your focus on goals you can easily reach. Once you achieve them, then you can set others to keep your life on the move.
  • Change your way of doing some things – Breaking monotony is a highly recommendable method in keeping your mind healthy. However much our daily routine assures our safety, there comes a time when focusing on a new idea, going to new places or jogging a different route is a therapy we need to heal.
  • Avoid abusing drugs and excessive alcohol drinking – Have a limit to our drinking. Alcohol is on the top list of substances that exaggerates psychological conditions and therefore having just the right dosage will be helpful.  The same rule would as well apply to other drugs. Marijuana, heroin, cocaine and many other abusive drugs are generally health hazards.
  • Seek medical attention – Many mentally ill patients tend to shy away from seeking help. Some families even tend to hide them. However, little did they know that seeking medical care for such illnesses shows absolute strength and focus.

Types of Mental illness

  • Mood disorders
  • Psychotic disorders
  • Anxiety disorder
  • Eating disorders
  • Impulse control and addiction disorders
  • Personality disorders
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Factitious disorders: This disorder affects those people who intentionally create complaints of both physical and emotional symptoms to attract assistance or help of some form.

Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders: Anxiety is a common psychiatric disorder which makes its patients respond to certain situations or objects with dread and fear and sometimes physical response like panic; thus, increasing heartbeat rates and causing sweating.

A person is said to have the disorder if their body is diagnosed with an abnormal response to some situations which cause them panic, fear or particular phobia.

Types of Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety is a general disorder term consisting of other major mental conditions. These include:

  • Panic disorder: Anxiety causes excess panic and feelings of terror deep inside the patient. Such fear may result in severe sweating, chest pains and feeling of palpitation. Other, patients feel like it’s a heart attack or some choking situation.
  • Social anxiety disorder: Sometimes referred to as social phobia. It is a condition that makes one feel self-conscious and overwhelmingly worried when it comes to social situations. The disease also influences one to thinks of others as their life judge, and therefore they remain embarrassed and too shy.
  • Specific phobias: This disorder results when one experiences fear of a particular situation or object. For instance, flying or heights. The concern can be to such extreme levels that it makes patients avoid such situations for no good reason.
  • Generalized anxiety disorder: You feel excessive, unrealistic worry and tension with little or no reason.

Mood Disorders      

This disorder manifests itself by completely distorting a person’s moods or emotions. In obvious cases, one experiences abnormal mood swings ranging from being very happy to being extremely sad for no substantial reason.

Examples of mood disorders comprise of:

  • Major depressive disorder: This disorder refers to an extremely prolonged sadness period which in most cases is persistent.
  • Bipolar disorder: It is also called manic depression or bipolar affective disorder. It is a form of depression that alternates with mania conditions.
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD): This disorder is a depression of some sort mainly associated with fewer hours of daylight experienced in the far northern and southern latitudes from late fall to early spring.
  • Cyclothymic disorder: Cyclothymic disorder causes up and down variations in a person’s emotional state which are usually less extreme compared to bipolar disorder.
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder: A few days before women undergo monthly periods, their moods tend to change and often get annoyed or irritable over little issues.
  • Persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia): A chronic form of depression.
  • Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder: This disease causes temper outbursts in children. The situation is ordinarily persistent, constant and in most cases severe.
  • Depression relating to medical illness: A stubborn depressed mood and a weighty loss of pleasure in almost all actions; it is unswervingly associated with the physical effects of another medical disorder.

Medical research indicates that mood disorder patients can successfully get treatment through proper therapy, talk and medication.

It is always advisable to seek medical attention immediately if you experience any of these mood disorders’ signs and symptoms. A medical specialist will advise you on the best ways to manage your mood swings and control your drinking habits.

Signs and Symptoms of Mental Illness

These illnesses exist in many forms, and each comes with their special signs and symptoms. However, there here are some of the most common signs as well as symptoms that cut across the entire spectrum.

These include:

  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Hostility, excessive anger or violence
  • Extraordinary fears or worries
  • Feeling sad or down
  • Extreme mood changes of highs and lows
  • Avoiding some activities you used to do
  • Sex drive variations
  • Suicidal thinking
  • Significant tiredness, low energy or problems sleeping
  • Hallucinations, delusions or paranoia
  • Low concentration and thinking habits
  • Difficulty in coping with daily life challenges
  • Poor understanding and relationships
  • Alteration in eating habits

Note that the above-mentioned signs and symptoms apply to adults, young adults and those in the adolescent stage.

Mental illness affects both men and women alike. However, the difference comes in men as they do not wish to share their problems out. They tend to be silent about their secretly hurting conditions, unlike ladies. Out of this secrecy they, therefore, show the following signs and symptoms:

  • Suicidal thinking
  • Hostility, excessive anger or violence
  • Feeling sad or down
  • Extraordinary fears or worries
  • Extreme mood changes of highs and lows
  • Avoiding some activities you used to do
  • Sex drive variations

Mental Health Treatment

Treatments for psychological conditions are available in several methods, and the excellent news about them is that they are always sufficient enough to clear the illness altogether.

Some of the top treatment methods include:

  • Medications
  • Supportive Housing
  • Detox
  • Support Groups
  • Inpatient or Intensive Outpatient Treatment for Rehab.
  • Psychotherapy

However, when a person’s mental illness is far beyond ordinary taming to the point that they can hurt other people or themselves, then being housed as an inpatient would work better. The patients may decide to go voluntarily, or it’s their families who can take them to seek help in such places.

Types of Mental Health Treatments

There exist various kinds of treatments, which include:

Psychiatric Hospitalization

Psychiatric Hospitalization is one of the critical types of treatment which works very effectively in ridding you of your mental illness. It involves staying in a unique medical facility for sometimes days or months; during which you under close observation by a specialized psychiatrist.

The environment offers peace of mind which releases you from depressive disorders. You can always go as a volunteer, or in some cases, your family may take you if you need such help from the hospital.

Inpatient or residential mental health treatment

If your illness may cause you or people around you harm, then the best mode of treatment you need to seek is that of being inpatient. The treatment method involves a scheduled plan, including therapy and events you need to commit to in order to help ease your depression.

Also, it offers you an opportunity to mingle/discuss with persons who have undergone such disorders before and learn how they recovered from it.

Outpatient mental health treatment

The outpatient treatment program allows the patients to attend medical examination, checkups or procedures during the day and go back home to mingle with their families in the evening.

Dual diagnosis treatment

This treatment method is a newly invented one. It works for those diagnosed with both mental and drug addiction disorders.

Psychotherapy

Some of the mental illness resulting from emotional distress only calls for psychological therapy rather than hospitalization. The treatment helps to ease the patients of their emotional struggles/pains.

Medication

The most common drugs for mentally ill patients include antidepressants such as bupropion and serotonin.

12-step programs and support groups

Also called 12-Step programs, they refer to support groups with a collective idea and intention to provide alcohol and drug addicts the solution to their misery, especially when they are experiencing psychological disorders. They provide them with proper direction to make them regain their serenity.  

As seen in the discussion above, mental illness is a condition that is here with us. We are never far from it. Some of the things we do or take for granted or feel in our daily lives might seem to as to be normal, but you may never understand the driving force behind it until you seek a diagnosis.

However, we are lucky that there exist many different treatment methods which for sure works beyond any reasonable doubts. Though some of these medical procedures maybe unwelcoming, for instance being an inpatient. It will force you to stay under some watch routine or program until you come entirely out of it. Also, you may not be allowed to go home immediately after treatment until your condition proves to be mild.

The bottom line though calls for anybody feeling any abnormal signs and symptoms relating to any mental disorders to see a specialist doctor as soon as possible before the condition worsens.  

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