Mental Health

Mental health problems encompass a wide range of conditions, but a common thread among them is that they all impact a patient’s personality, thoughts, or social interactions. Unlike physical disease, they can be challenging to diagnose effectively.

In the United States, roughly 18% of adults experience a mental illness during any given year. And more than 4% of adults have suffered a severe mental illness that has hindered their ability to go to school, work, or participate in daily activities.

Mental Health

mental healthMental health problems encompass a wide range of conditions, but a common thread among them is that they all impact a patient’s personality, thoughts, or social interactions. Unlike physical disease, they can be challenging to diagnose effectively.

In the United States, roughly 18% of adults experience a mental illness during any given year. And more than 4% of adults have suffered a severe mental illness that has hindered their ability to go to school, work, or participate in daily activities.

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More About Mental Health

Mental health conditions can bring about feelings of loneliness and alienation as patients may be alienated from their peers due to perceived unattractive personality traits or behaviors. Not knowing or understanding what is happening can cause anger, fear, sadness, and feelings of helplessness among mental health patients. In the absence of treatment, over the long-term, mental health disorders can lead to suicide. More than 90% of suicides have depression or other mental conditions as contributing factors.

Types of Mental Health Disease

mental healthMental health disorders manifest in specific ways with overlapping symptoms making accurate diagnoses difficult. However, the main classes of mental illness are as follows:

Neurodevelopmental disorders: an array of problems typically beginning in infancy or childhood including attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and other learning disorders.

Anxiety/panic disorder: involves intermittent and persistent attacks of extreme fear of adverse events or impending doom.

Bipolar disorder: cyclical swings between manic and depressive emotional states. The manic phase involves a period of intense activity and heightened emotions, and the depressive phase is characterized by lethargy and sadness.

Depression: usually defined by a chronic bad mood, feeling “down,” and a lack of interest or zest for daily life, as well as periods of lethargy and fatigue.

Schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders: psychotic disorders cause detachment from reality — such as delusions, hallucinations, and disorganized thinking and speech.

Obsessive-compulsive disorders: preoccupations, obsessions, or repetitive thoughts and actions. Examples include obsessive-compulsive disorder, hoarding disorder and hair-pulling disorder (trichotillomania).

Trauma and stress-related disorders: adjustment conditions where individuals have difficulty coping during or after a stressful event. Examples include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and acute stress disorder.

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The Causes of Mental Health Problems

Mental health conditions can be brought about by a combination of biological, psychological, and environmental factors including:

  • Having a family history of mental health issues
  • Substance abuse
  • Changes in diet
  • Upbringing
  • Social exposure

Symptoms of Mental Health Problems

Mental health conditions can cause emotional symptoms including:

  • Mood swings
  • Erratic thinking
  • Persistent anxiety
  • An exaggerated sense of self-worth
  • Impulsive actions

Mental health problems generally do not directly cause physical symptoms. However, depression can result in weight loss, fatigue, and loss of libido. Eating disorders can cause malnutrition, weight loss, or electrolyte imbalances.

Mental Health Treatment

Bank's ApothecaryTreatment typically depends on the type of mental illness, its severity, and the personal preference of the patient. Often a team approach is employed to ensure comprehensive and optimal care. A treatment team may include one’s:

  • Family or primary care doctor
  • Psychiatrist
  • Psychologist or licensed counselor
  • Pharmacist
  • Social worker
  • Family members

Prescription drugs such as antidepressants, mood stabilizers, and antipsychotics may be used to treat mental health illness combined with psychotherapy, brain-stimulation treatments, or hospital and residential treatment programs.

Treatment Side Effects

Chemotherapy are powerful medicines that can cause side effects as well radiation therapy can cause side effects by damaging normal, healthy cells near the cancer. It is important that the treatment is never stopped without first speaking to a doctor or pharmacist since some side effects can be managed. Patients can have both physical side effects and emotional side effects.

The most common types of physical side effects are: pain, nausea and vomiting, fatigue, anemia, lymph edema, infection, fertility and sexual side effects in men and women, incontinence, ostomies or stomas, hair loss, confusion or memory problems, and constipation and diarrhea.

The most common types of emotional side effects are: distress, anxiety, fear, depression, confusion or memory problems, and anger.

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