Contributed by: Priyaish Srivastava
Mental health is the foundation of the overall well-being of every person, as it is an integral part of health that is comprised of emotional, psychological, and social well-being, and is directly associated with the ability to think, feel, and react. The ‘World Mental Health Day’ is observed on the 10th of October every year to globally raise awareness about the importance of mental health.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the cases of mental health problems in India are 2,443 disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) per 10,000 population, and the suicide rate per 1,00,000 population is 21.1.
Mental health is a serious concern that affects the overall well-being of a person, and yet it is considered a taboo subject by most people. Looking after mental health increases the ability to lead a healthy and productive life. The process requires a balance between daily activities, responsibilities, and psychological perceptions.
Biological factors like genes or brain chemistry, life experiences such as trauma or abuse, family history of mental health issues, stress, anxiety, and depression are some factors that can potentially affect mental health and disrupt the lifestyle of any person.
This article will take you through the causes of mental health disruption, some common mental health disorders & their symptoms, and what preventive measures can help manage the conditions better.
Common mental health disorders
Following are some of the most common and prominent factors of mental health disorders:
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
GAD is a condition leading to severe anxiety that interferes with daily routine. People with GAD can experience a high degree of anxiety attacks even without any triggers from situations that do not have any direct or indirect danger.
Some physical symptoms include:
- Extreme tiredness
- Tense muscles
- Interrupted sleeping patterns
Panic disorders involve sudden episodes of fear or anxiety in which people experience overwhelming terror or a feeling of forthcoming death and disaster.
Phobia is an anxiety disorder defined as continuous and immoderate fear from an object or situation. Phobia is bifurcated into three categories:
- Simple phobias
- Social phobia (social anxiety): A fear of being judged
- Agoraphobia: Fear of places and situations that might not pose any risk but the patient does feel so because of the phobia.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that can occur in people who have encountered any serious trauma or injury such as accident, war, or death of someone close. It can make the person think that any particular situation poses danger to their life or the life of someone else.
Depression is a major mental health disorder characterized by experiences such as a consistently depressed mood or lack of interest in activities. The condition leads to several obstructions in daily life.
Bipolar disorder is characterized by persistent changes in mood, energy levels, levels of activity, and lifestyles. Episodes of high mood are termed manic phases, while episodes of low mood are termed depressive phases.
Schizophrenia is a complex mental disorder that mostly affects people aged between 16 to 30 years. It is a serious condition in which people interpret reality abnormally. Schizophrenia requires lifelong treatment and it can lead to hallucinations and delusions, impairing daily functioning.
Symptoms of mental health disorders
Identifying mental illness through physical or medical tests may not give the exact condition of the brain, which can wreak havoc on the person’s overall well-being. However, some possible signs of mental illness that can be identified in a persons’ daily life include:
- Staying away from friends, family, and colleagues
- Not participating in activities that they normally enjoy
- Sleeping a lot or very less
- Eating a lot or very less
- A feeling of hopelessness
- Consistently low energy
- Displaying negative emotions
- Addiction to alcohol and smoking
- Unable to concentrate
- Unable to complete daily tasks
- Persistent memories that reappear regularly
- May physically harm themselves or others
- Hearing voices
- Experiencing delusions and hallucinations
Preventive measures to manage mental health disorders
There are no proven methods to prevent the occurrence of mental illness, however, if you experience any of the above symptoms or you know someone who does, some preventive measures can help manage and slow the aggravation of the condition, which include:
- Taking measures to manage stress
- Practising relaxation techniques like meditation and yoga
- Eating healthy and exercising regularly to boost brain health
- Talking about the situation with a friend or family member
- Consulting a psychologist for counselling
- Never skipping prescribed medicines
- Reducing the intake of caffeine, tea, cola, and chocolates
- Maintaining a healthy diet
- Try keeping a regular and improved sleep cycle
- Avoiding alcohol, smoking, and recreational drugs like cannabis
- Getting regular health checkups
Mental health disorder is a serious ailment that should not be ignored or left untreated. Although there are no permanent cures available for such disorders, they can be prevented by taking suitable measures.
So if you or someone you know manifests the above-mentioned symptoms persistently, or were exposed to any situation that can lead to a mental health disorder, consult an expert at the earliest and take necessary preventive measures. Also, taking regular health screenings can help you get a comprehensive understanding of your overall health and take preventive measures if something comes amiss.
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