The 3 Most Common Mental Illnesses and How to Overcome Them

Our mental health determines the state of our psychological and emotional well being. Unfortunately, mental health problems are quite common. They can occur due to biological factors, such as a person’s brain chemistry or genetics that stem from a family history of mental illness. Traumatic experiences such as abuse can greatly impact the condition of one’s mental health, too. Globally, one in four people is affected by mental illness at some point in their lives. Luckily, the subject matter is growing increasingly publicized, which is giving many people the courage to speak up and seek help. With proper diagnosis and treatment, a person who suffers from mental health problems will be able to live a happy and healthy life. This is why it is important to not shy away from monitoring your mental health. 

So, let’s take a look at the three most common forms of mental illness out there, and how we can overcome them. 

Anxiety 

Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health issue, affecting one in five people. The World Health Organization (WHO) has found that almost 300 million people have an anxiety disorder. This mental health problem is caused by genetics and environmental factors, and it comes in many different forms; some anxieties are caused by excessive worry and stress, while other forms are due to fear of surrounding circumstances. These feelings can cause trembling, rapid breathing, and an increased heart rate.

It can be difficult for a person to realize they have an anxiety disorder as there are several, ranging from generalized anxiety disorders to specific phobias. The most common forms are social anxiety disorder, separation anxiety, panic disorder, selective mutism, and agoraphobia. Each individual can have varied symptoms and might even have more than one anxiety disorder. Without treatment, the disorder will typically remain throughout a person’s life. Counseling, especially through methods of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), medications, and lifestyle changes, is essential to overcoming this type of mental illness. Anxiety disorder is highly treatable, you would just need to understand and determine the cause of your anxiety disorder. Then, you will successfully manage to reduce, and possibly eliminate, the symptoms and regain control of your life. 

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorders, formerly known as manic depression, cause extreme mood swings ranging from emotional highs (mania) to lows (depression). This mental health problem affects almost 1% of the American population. Diagnosis can be determined at an early age or even as late as the ages of 40 and 50. A person with bipolar disorder will experience manic episodes where drastic changes in the mood and behavior can occur. Their energy levels would not be stable, and they will most likely have irregular sleeping patterns. They may also go from one extreme to another, between engaging in hyperactivity and adopting a sedentary position for hours or even days on end. 

It might be hard for a person to identify what they are going through because a diagnosis typically requires a physical exam and psychiatric evaluation. Their mood and behavior might need to be monitored before treatment, especially if the patient is likely to cause themselves harm during an episode. A person who is reluctant to believe they suffer from bipolar disorder may need to be admitted to a hospital for medical treatment; however, this does not always have to be the case. Michael Falcone from Jackson House explains that inpatient mental health hospitals are not necessary for people who voluntarily seek help. If a person is willing to comply with regulations, they would be trusted to stay in touch with their doctor for frequent health evaluations without hospital admission.

The most common treatment for bipolar disorder entails mood-stabilizing medications, atypical antipsychotic medications, or psychotherapy. While bipolar disorder is not entirely curable, treatment will provide the patients with the ability to manage the symptoms, which will ensure the disorder does not affect their quality of life. 

Depression 

Major depressive disorder or clinical depression is a mental health problem that causes a person’s mood to show persistent sadness or indifference. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) estimates that 6.7% of adult Americans have had approximately one depressive episode. Depression is typically common between the ages of 15 to 25. Studies have found that it is more prevalent in women than in men. The symptoms can range from a depressed state, loss of interest, pleasure, or excitement to fluctuations of weight, appetite, and sleep patterns. A person who suffers from depression will most likely seem constantly fatigued with a lack of energy and might have low-self-esteem or feelings of unworthiness. 

Diagnosis requires a consultation from a medical professional, and treatment options will vary depending on the severity of the individual’s disorder. Counseling in the form of CBT can help if the patient is suffering from mild or moderate depression. Those with severe depression will need a specialized therapist who is highly skilled and equipped to counsel extreme cases. Medications are the most common form of treatment for depression. Recently, ketamine infusion therapy has shown great results in many patients. Your medical provider will most likely include lifestyle changes in your treatment plan, ensuring you engage in activities to boost your confidence, self-image, and overall mood. They will introduce and encourage healthy approaches to adjust the psychological effects of your way of thinking.

Depression disorders are completely treatable; it just takes a few sessions of trial and error to establish what methods will work for each individual. It is important to not rely on medications alone to combat depression and to understand that to rid yourself of depression in its entirety, you need to adapt to healthy lifestyle changes that release endorphins. 

Mental illness can affect a person’s mood, behavior, and way of thinking. Without treatment, these disorders can negatively impact the individual’s psychological and emotional wellbeing, and make life unbearable. In severe cases, a person who suffers from a mental health condition might struggle to find a way out, believe that treatment is hopeless, and might feel put off the idea of seeking help. This is why it is very important to monitor those around you in case they are suffering in silence or are unable to express themselves.

Luckily, the most common forms of mental illness -anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder- are all treatable. While bipolar disorders are not considered curable through treatment the way anxiety and depression are, treatment is still a surefire way of helping the patient live a happy and healthy life by managing their symptoms, and controlling their mood, behavior, and way of thinking.

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