It is estimated that one in every five adults in America experience a mental illness. On top of this, about one in six youth (between the ages of six and 17) also experience a mental health disorder each year. Mental health problems are all around us, yet too many people struggle in silence, afraid to ask for help.
National statistics show that only half of people with mental health disorders receive treatment. This means that millions of people go without receiving proper care and support. If you suspect a mental health problem, either personally or in a loved one, it is incredibly important to seek help. Without professional support, mental health issues can lead to devastating effects within a person’s life.
Of course, like many people out there, you may not know where to begin in getting help. You may not be confident that the symptoms even warrant professional attention. You may be seeking more information to diagnose the issue yourself, before taking action medically.
If you have questions about mental health and suspect a mental health problem, you are in the right place. This guide explains common types of mental health problems, warning signs of mental health disorders, and the importance of seeking help.
What are Common Types of Mental Health Problems?
According to the Center of Disease Control (CDC), there are more than 200 types of mental illnesses. People can experience one or more types of mental health problems in their lives, and at the same time. Mental health problems can come and go, or be chronic and long-lasting. Reportedly, the three most common and overarching mental health problems are anxiety, depression, and personality disorders.
- Anxiety Disorders:
There are many types of anxiety disorders, but all are categorized by excessive feelings of worry and/or fear. About 19 percent of Americans – almost one in five adults – experienced any anxiety disorder in the last year. However, nearly one-third of Americans will experience an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives. Anxiety disorders often display as phobias, panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive disorder, trauma-induced anxieties, and general, uncontrollable worry or fear. Anxiety disorders are known to disrupt job performance, academics, and relationships.
- Major Depression:
Major depression is characterized by feelings of sadness and hopelessness. An estimated 21 million Americans, or eight percent of U.S. adults, had at least one major depressive episode in 2020. This rate was highest among young adults. Major depression is typically diagnosed when a person experiences a depressed mood, loss of interest in activities, loss of pleasure, and/or issues with sleep, energy, eating, and self-worth over a period of two weeks.
- Personality Disorders:
Personality disorders are a category of mental illnesses that lead to distress and impairment in a person’s life. At a high level, personality disorders are characterized by unhealthy patterns of thinking, behaving, and functioning. A person facing a personality disorder typically has extreme or unwavering personality traits that cause distress within their lives. For example, a person may have trouble relating to people or perceiving situations. An affected person may also experience an instability in their moods, behaviors, and self-image. There are many types of disorders that fall within this bucket, which may involve issues with paranoia, risk-taking, and antisocial behaviors.
Of course, many other types of mental health problems exist. In addition to the above, many people also are diagnosed with:
- Bipolar disorder, which is characterized by extreme shifts in mood.
- Eating disorders, in which a person has a bad relationship with food and/or poor body image.
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), which is common in youth.
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), which is a type of anxiety disorder caused by trauma.
- Schizophrenia, which is a type of psychotic disorder that’s listed as one of the top leading disabilities worldwide.
- Dissociative disorder, which cause a disconnection between reality and a person’s thoughts, identity, consciousness, and memory.
What are the Signs of a Mental Health Problem?
Because there are so many types of mental health problems out there, there comes an array of different symptoms or signs that can signal a problem. Each disorder, and each person experiencing it, is unique. Sometimes, however, symptoms can overlap.
If you are concerned about a potential mental illness, it is important to educate yourself on the common signs. Below are some general symptoms that can signal a mental health problem:
- Excessive feelings of sadness or hopelessness
- Excessive worries or fears
- Extreme mood swings (highs and lows)
- Extreme feelings of guilt and shame
- Excessive anger, irritability, or tendency towards violence
- Confused thinking
- Inability to concentrate
- Increasing tiredness and low energy
- Insomnia or problems sleeping
- Significant changes in eating habits
- Withdrawal from family, friends, and once-loved activities
- Detachment from reality (delusional thinking)
- Paranoia or hallucinations
- Trouble understanding people or situations
- Problems with alcohol or drug use
- Inability to cope with negative situations and stress
- Inability to cope with the above symptoms
- Suicidal thoughts
It’s also important to note that not all mental health symptoms are mental. They can also cause physical effects on the body. For example, anxiety can lead to physical pains and feelings of sickness. Post-traumatic stress disorder is also associated with unexplained pains. If you are feeling physically unwell, mental health problems could be the cause.
Of course, mental health disorders are also known to have disrupting consequences in a person’s life. You may notice outward signs of your disorder in the form of relationship troubles, dropping grades, failing to concentrate at work, lack of participation in activities, and more. You may also find that, in effort to cope with mental health symptoms, you turn to substance abuse.
Many people struggling with mental illness, or watching a loved one face a mental health problem, ask themselves “Why?” Why is it me who is dealing with this? Where did I go wrong?
The truth is, anyone can develop a mental illness. While most people start showing signs of a mental health problem between adolescence and adulthood, all ages and all people are susceptible.
It is important to know that there is no single cause of mental illness, or nothing you’ve done “wrong” to cause this. Even the most successful people and celebrities face issues with their mental health. However, there are some common causes or “risk factors” of mental illness. These include:
- Negative experiences early in life, such as trauma or a history of abuse at a young age
- Experiences related to chronic medical conditions, such as cancer or diabetes
- Biological factors or chemical imbalances in the brain
- The abuse of alcohol or drugs, especially during adolescence and young adulthood
- Having constant feelings of loneliness or isolation
Why Should I Seek Help for a Mental Health Problem?
Seeking help for a mental health issue is important, because it can otherwise get out of control. Mental health disorders are debilitating diseases of the brain and can eventually take a toll on your physical health, social well-being, and everyday life. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI):
“Without treatment, the consequences of mental illness for the individual and society are staggering. Untreated mental health conditions can result in unnecessary disability, unemployment, substance abuse, homelessness, inappropriate incarceration, and suicide, and poor quality of life.”
However, mental health treatment can be highly effective in helping people go on to live healthy, happier lives. The NAMI reports that between 70 and 90 percent of individuals have a significant reduction of symptoms and improved quality of life with a combination of pharmacological and psychosocial treatments.
Take a hold of your life and your mental health. If you are looking for treatment near you, or for a loved one, please do not hesitate to reach out to Turnbridge for guidance. Turnbridge is a recognized mental health treatment center for adolescents and young adults. Learn more online or call 877-581-1793.