Mental health awareness is essential in today’s society, with the rampant news and media coverage of bullying, suicide, mood disorders and personality disorders. Understanding mental health statistics and how to go about raising awareness is imperative to help prevent ostracization of individuals who are suffering daily with any type of mental health issue or potential disorder. The more understanding you become of various mental and emotional health problems and disorders that are common today, the easier it is to provide the help and support necessary to friends, co-workers, and loved ones in your life each day.
Why is Understanding Mental Health Important Today?
Knowing more about mental and emotional health is a way to help with identifying signs and symptoms of another individual who may be depressed, anxious, or even suicidal in severe and extreme cases. Having an awareness of various illnesses and other emotion-based troubles can help to identify when you have a friend, co-worker, or even a family member struggling and suffering on their own.
SMI, or “Serious Mental Illness”, has affected more than 9.6 million US citizens in 2012 alone, ranging from mental illnesses to severe substance abuse cases. Serious mental illnesses range from anxiety and severe depression to schizophrenia, eating disorders, attention deficit disorders, autism diagnoses, along with mood and additional personality disorders, such as DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder).
Common Mental and Emotional Health Problems and Disorders
There are many different mental and emotional health problems and disorders dealt with each day, by both children and adults of any age alike.
Studies show that within a 12-month research trial, approximately 18.1% of U.S. adults suffered from some form of anxiety, ranging from mild to severe. Anxiety is caused by over-thinking, worrying and stressing over matters that are often out of one’s own control. Anxiety has the ability to manifest in mental and physical forms. Anxiety presents itself as GAD, or Generalized Anxiety Disorder along with SAD, or Social Anxiety Disorder. Additionally, struggling with panic attacks are also a form of anxiety but are often much more intense and severe to overcome.
Some of the common signs of anxiety include: sweating, nervousness, rapid breathing, feeling trapped, feeling overwhelmed and unable to cope/make decisions, stuttering, avoiding social outings, avoiding completing tasks/making phone calls/getting to meetings on time. Working together with a therapist and overcoming fears of rejection and failure through CBT, or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is highly advisable when suffering from an anxiety disorder on your own.
Panic attacks may cause you to feel entirely out of control, unable to think clearly, and in many cases, unable to breathe without doing so rapidly and out of control. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder along with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder are also classified as anxiety-based mental and emotional health disorders. Take note of any symptoms you may have in terms of anxiety prior to meeting with a therapist or doctor to discuss your current state.
Bipolar, Dysthymic Depression and Severe Depression are all mood orders that are commonly found among adults and also teenagers in some cases. Understanding mood disorders can help with coping with a friend or family member who has intense mood swings, outbursts, and unbalanced emotions at times.
Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder that affects an individual by triggering manic depressive and mania episodes. When an individual is having a manic episode where they are feeling positive, happy, upbeat and without worry, this is common in those with bipolar. However, the individual suffering with the disorder may suddenly and seemingly out of nowhere begin to feel sad, depressed, lonely, and even suicidal.
Dysthymic Depression is a low-grade depression that affects approximately 1.8% of all adults throughout the United States. Although Dysthymic depression is not as severe as traditional depression, it is classified when an individual has a few depressive symptoms for two years or more but are capable of managing it themselves and without the use of medications or therapy.
In 2012 alone it was estimated that more than 16 million adults over the age of 18 were diagnosed with severe depression. Severe depression can cause everything from social withdrawal, sadness, and suicidal thoughts to physical manifestations of aches, pain, nausea, dizziness, and the inability to focus or stay motivated. Lethargy and losing desire in previous interests and hobbies are also common signs and symptoms of severe depression. Working with a therapist and potentially trying various medications is a way for you to find the right path to overcome any form of severe depression.
Eating disorders are not extraordinarily common, but they are extremely powerful and can oftentimes lead to death in many cases. Understanding the different types of eating disorders is a way to distinguish between the types of cases or individuals you have in your own life who may be suffering themselves.
Bulimia affects 0.6% of the US adult population, with an age onset of approximately 20 years old. Bulimia involves an individual who eats following by vomiting immediately afterwards. Individuals who suffer from extreme Bulimia often also have BDD, or Body Dysmorphic Disorder.
Anorexia Nervosa is the disorder of purposely avoiding food and calories regularly. Starving oneself with Anorexia Nervosa is often not the individual’s overall goal when attempting to avoid eating altogether. Individuals who are suffering from Anorexia Nervosa often simply feel “not good enough”, or “not fit enough”, even if they are underweight. BDD, or Body Dysmorphic Disorder, is often found in individuals who are long-time sufferers of Anorexia Nervosa.
Binge Eating Disorder
Binge Eating Disorder is common among approximately 1.2% of all adults in the US. Binge eating involves an individual who eats as much food as possible in one sitting, often only to “purge” or vomit the food afterwards, giving the person the feeling of satisfaction from eating without taking in all of the calories. Binge eating is extremely dangerous to the esophagus as well as the teeth, trigger erosion over time.
Personality disorders affect individuals differently with each case, as no person is alike in terms of genetics and the way they experience the world around them. Having an understanding of personality disorders can help you to avoid shunning or shutting out others in your life who may be suffering from a disorder themselves.
Antisocial Personality Disorder
Antisocial Personality Disorder is a disorder that can often lead to violent and upset outbursts, as individuals suffering with the disorder on their own have a tendency to disregard authority, the law, and any laws or rules that may have been put into place around them. Approximately 1.0% of all adults in the United States are living with signs and symptoms of Antisocial Personality Disorder.
Borderline Personality Disorder
Borderline Personality Disorder is classified as a disorder which causes individuals to feel unstable with their emotions at many times. Feelings of happiness, sadness, anger, loneliness, and excitement can all be found in a day when an individual is dealing with Borderline Personality Disorder.
In the US it is estimated that approximately 1.6% of all US adults suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder or have been diagnosed with most of the prevalent signs and symptoms of the disorder itself. Controlling one’s behavior, self-image, conversations, moods, emotions, and outburts can be extremely challenging and at times, feel impossible for anyone who is suffering from Borderline Personality Disorder, or BPD.
Avoidant Personality Disorder
Avoidant Personality Disorder affects approximately 5.2% of US adults in the country today. Avoidant Personality Disorder, or APD, causes individuals to fear social rejection, therefore triggering a life of social withdrawal in severe instances. Many individuals who suffer from Avoidant Personality Disorder do not want to feel isolated from others, but also feel as if they do not have another alternative available to them. Feeling sensitive, inadequate, and not “good enough” in social circles or situations is a cause of APD in those who are already suffering from anxiety or another personality disorder.
Cost of Mental and Emotional Health Today
As of 2002 it was estimated that the cost of covering mental health care and services within the country equaled $300 billion. With the rise in need for mental and emotional healthcare, the costs are estimated to have doubled in areas of care, including substance abuse. When more individuals are aware of the need for mental and emotional health and programs near them, it is much easier to provide the necessary services for those around you to get well mentally, emotionally, and physically simultaneously. The importance of maintaining emotional health is imperative to understand in order to live a complete and fulfilling life, ridding negative feelings of self-harm, depression, anxiety, and in some cases, suicidal thoughts.
The more familiar we become with various mental and emotional health problems surrounding us, the easier it is to seek the help and care for the loved ones in our lives or even ourselves before it’s too late. Taking control of a mental illness or disorder is a way to overcome the signs and symptoms that are all too common today.