Mental illness is a health condition that affects your behavior, thinking, and mood. Some of the most widespread types of mental illnesses are depression, mood disorders, addictive behavior, eating disorders, schizophrenia, and anxiety disorder.
Almost everyone has occasional mental concerns. But when it persists with frequent stress and ongoing symptoms as well as the ability to function normally, it turns into mental illness. If left untreated, mental illness can wreak havoc in anyone’s life such as at work, school, or personal relationships.
The symptoms and signs of mental illnesses can fluctuate, depending on circumstances, environment, type of disorder, and so on. Many of the symptoms can have a substantial effect on behaviors, thoughts, and emotions. Some of the most common symptoms and signs are:
- Feeling down or sad
- Sudden mood changes
- Can’t concentrate
- Can’t think straight
- Detached from friends and relatives
- Hallucinations or paranoia
- Completely unable to deal with stress and daily problems
- Excessive anger and hostility
- Suicidal thinking
- Drug and alcohol abuse
In some cases, some of the symptoms can even manifest as physical problems such as headache, back pain, stomach pain, aches, or other unexplained pains.
Causes of Mental Illnesses
Mental Illnesses, generally speaking, can be caused by both environment and genetic factors:
- If you have had relatives that suffer or have had a mental illness you are more prone to being affected by it as well. The thing is that they share specific genes which put them at risk of developing a mental condition.
- Exposure to environmental stressors before birth. That’s when you are still in the womb, and the mother takes drugs, alcohol, or other harmful substances. All that is linked to mental illnesses.
- Brain chemistry is a complicated matter that can lead to depression and other mental conditions. The neurotransmitters use brain chemicals to carry signals to other parts of the body and the brain. A mental issue can occur when the neurotransmitters are impaired or don’t function properly.
Certain factors present a high risk of developing a mental illness. Some of the biggest ones include:
- Having a family member with a mental illness
- Being neglected in young age
- Suffer from a chronic medical condition like diabetes
- Brain damage
- Traumatic experience
- Continuous use of drugs and alcohol
- Loneliness – lack of friends and socializing in general
Mental illness is quite common as almost one in five adults has had to deal with a mental issue at least once in a lifetime. Mental illness can start from almost any age and can manifest itself in many forms. One person can have more than one mental illness, and it can last for both short and longer periods.
Prevention and Treatment
There is no manual, no sure way how to prevent mental illness. However, if you are dealing with one, there are things you can do to boost your resilience and increase your self-esteem. If nothing else, that can help keep your symptoms at bay. Here’s what you can do:
- Pay close attention to the things that can trigger your symptoms. Work with your doctor to identify your triggers and make a plan on what to do if the symptoms do occur.
- Routine medical check-ups can help you with your mental issues as well. The thing is that sometimes, the symptoms of the mental illness can be caused by another medical condition or the drugs you take to remedy that condition. By talking to your physician, you can get to the bottom of those things.
- Ask for help the moment you notice some of the symptoms appear. Do not let the mental illness start to take its toll on your life. Get help as soon as possible.
- Don’t neglect yourself. Regular exercising, healthy eating, sufficient sleeping, and socializing are very important. Keep a regular schedule and talk to your physician if you have troubles in some of those areas.