Mental Health Basics

If you or your loved one is showing potential symptoms of mental health problems, then you should seek professional assistance.

Start by talking to your doctor so a diagnosis can be given. Once the problem has been identified, you will be able to treat it appropriately. Sometimes this can be through talking to a psychotherapist. Other times, medication is more suitable. Mental health problems can range from mild to being very severe and even fatal. By getting the right course of treatment, you or your loved one will be able to live a healthier and happier life.

There are many misconceptions about mental health. The following information will help you to learn the truth about mental health disorders, so any misconceived ideas can be put to rest. You will also learn about some of the different types of mental health disorders and how you can keep your mind healthy to avoid developing mental health issues in the future.

What is mental health?

Mental health is about your behavioral, cognitive and emotional wellbeing. It affects how you feel, how you think and how you behave. Mental health problems can mildly or severely affect daily life activities, such as relationships with other people. Mental health issues can even affect physical health. It is therefore very important that you look after your mind and see a doctor if you suspect you may have a mental health problem.

Anyone can be a victim of mental health conditions and illnesses. It does not matter how old you are, what sex you are or which ethnic group you belong to. Mental health problems are very common. In fact, nearly one in five people in the United States are diagnosed as having a serious mental disorder. Common mental disorders include:

  • Anxiety disorders. People with anxiety disorders, like obsessive-compulsive disorder and panic disorder, have severe anxiety and fears linked to particular situations or objects.
  • Mood disorders. Sufferers of mood disorders, like bipolar disorder and major depression, have significant swings in their mood.
  • Schizophrenic disorders. People with these disorders have thoughts that are fragmented. They also find it difficult to process information. Symptoms can include delusions, hallucinations and a lack of motivation.

There are treatments available for different kinds of mental health disorders. Although the specific treatments given depend on the individual’s disorder and are tailored to that individual, available treatments fall into three main categories including medication, psychotherapy and self-help.

Why Mental Health Maintenance Is Important

Do you know why mental health maintenance is important? Everyone knows the value of physical fitness and most people look after their bodies. A healthy mind is just as vital as a healthy body and yet looking after the mind often does not get the same attention as physical care. Mental fitness should not be neglected. It keeps your mind healthy, which can prevent the onset of mental health disorders later on in life.

What is mental fitness? It is not about putting your brain on a treadmill. Rather, mental fitness is about keeping your mind and emotional health in prime condition. By performing daily dexterity exercises, you can keep a sharp mind for years to come. There are many ways you can keep your mind healthy.

Not only does physical exercise help your body stay in shape, it also helps your mind. When you perform physical activities, there is an increase of oxygen to your brain. This increases your brain’s endorphins, which are chemicals that make you feel good. Physical fitness can be a great way to stop depression and stress in their tracks.

It is thought that memory training exercises can help your mind stay sharp and healthy. Mental exercises that involve reasoning and problem solving can help you maintain a healthy mind. Likewise, calming the mind is just as important as keeping it active. A calm mind allows you to solve problems in a more relaxed manner. Meditation can help individuals focus on problems at hand and reduce stress.

Common Misconceptions About Mental Health and Mental Illness

Although awareness of emotional health and disorders has increased in public awareness in recent years, there are still many common misconceptions about mental health and mental illness. The more time you take to learn about mental health, the more you will realize things like depression and anxiety can be illnesses, just like getting the flu. Only, these illnesses affect the mind. Below are some of the most common misconceptions about mental health

“People with mental health problems are lazy.” People do not choose to have a mental illness. It can be caused by a wide variety of things like genetics, trauma or changes to brain chemistry. Persevering against mental health problems on a daily basis is far from laziness.

“People with mental health problems cannot keep a job.” Considering one in five adults in the U.S. experiences a form of mental illness, if it was true that sufferers could not keep a steady job, then you would find a fifth of your workforce would be telephoning in sick every day or putting in their notice. Most people with mental health problems seek help and try to keep on top of their problems with treatment. In fact, having employees who receive mental health care often results in less absenteeism and an increase in productivity.

“Binge-eating is not a mental health disorder.” A popular misconception is people who binge-eat do not have an eating disorder. Some people think binge-eaters simply need to stop eating as much. With support and treatment, people with a binge-eating disorder can overcome their problems.

Common Signs and Symptoms of Mental Health Issues

Each type of mental disorder will have its own symptoms, but there are some general actions, behaviors and feelings that can indicate you or your loved one should see your doctor for a diagnosis. It is particularly important to keep an eye on sudden changes in behaviors and thoughts. The following are some of the common signs and symptoms of mental health issues:

  • Prolonged and extreme sadness
  • Extreme swings between feeling high and low
  • Withdrawing from social activities
  • Confused thoughts
  • Excessively worrying
  • Delusive thoughts
  • Extreme changes to eating habits
  • Extreme changes to sleeping habits
  • Extreme feelings of anger
  • Seeing and hearing things that do not exist

Types of Mental Health Professionals

If you think you or a loved one has symptoms that could indicate a mental health problem, then you should see a mental health professional right away. Your first call should be to your primary doctor. Once he or she has run tests and diagnosed you or your loved one as needing mental health care, you can be directed to one of the types of mental health professionals who can help you the most. Among others, mental health professionals include psychologists, psychiatrists and psychoanalysts.

Psychologists are professionals in the field of thoughts, behaviors and emotions. Psychologists work in hospitals, private offices and schools. They treat a variety of problems through counseling. Psychiatrists are mental health professionals who help to prevent mental, behavioral and emotional disorders. Psychoanalysts are therapists who help people explore their unconscious or repressed anxieties, impulses and internal conflicts.

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