In the United States, 52.9 million adults aged 18 and older were diagnosed with serious mental illness (SMI) in the past year. The prevalence of SMI was highest in females and decreased among men. In addition to its physical and mental health implications, SMI can result in a person’s impulsivity, self-harm, and other negative outcomes. In addition to affecting the person’s ability to function and enjoy life, SMI can also result in impaired sleep and appetite.
While mental illnesses can mimic medical conditions, such as thyroid problems or autoimmune disorders, proper diagnosis requires a combination of tests and physical exams. Many mental health conditions may be rooted in genetics or a combination of physical, psychological, and environmental factors. In some cases, abnormal nerve cell circuits are the underlying cause of mental disorders. Thankfully, neurotransmitters in the brain communicate between cells, and tweaking them can result in a more effective brain circuit.
In addition to diagnosing the underlying causes of a mental illness, a psychiatrist can prescribe treatment. Treatment will depend on the severity of symptoms, how much distress the person is experiencing, and the risks and benefits of the medication. Mental health treatment is based on a unique plan developed in collaboration with the patient and their clinician. It may include psychotherapy and/or medication. You may need both psychotherapy and medication. If you’re interested in gaining a better understanding of these disorders, contact your primary care provider.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has created the World Mental Health Survey to examine the extent to which mental health services are accessible and affordable for individuals living in different countries. In spite of its importance, mental health is one of the most neglected areas of health care. While the disease burden may be lower in wealthy countries, the World Health Organization has stated that the need for mental health care is highest in poorer countries. In addition to the lack of proper aid in low-income countries, their budgets are often insufficient to meet the demands of their citizens.
The term’mental health’ is often used as a placeholder for the different mental illnesses, including depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia. While the latter two terms are often confused, NAMI recognizes the difference between these two terms. Unlike physical ailments, mental illnesses often have multiple causes. Some are triggered by genetics, environment, and lifestyle. Life events may also contribute to susceptibility, as can stressful jobs and environments. Basic brain structure may also play a role.
A person’s resilience may be reflected in their ability to bounce back from adversity. Resilient individuals often seek social support when they are confronted with difficulty. Lack of social support is associated with poor mental health. Loneliness, for example, is a known risk factor for drug abuse and memory loss. Loneliness can also negatively affect physical health. There are several ways to combat the impact of loneliness and social isolation.