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Mental health disorders affect 26% of U.S. adults each year.
There is much talk about health and diet, the focus being mostly on our physical state of wellness. More attention, though, needs to be paid to our state of emotional health. The two go hand in hand. Because the mind and body are connected, it is very clear that when one aspect of our health is out of balance the other will suffer, too.
Nearly 44 million of us, about 1 in 5 adults, struggle with a mental health issue in a given year. For too long those who suffer from a mental health disorder choose to ignore their symptoms, often due to stigma. Even in modern times, people still attach a social stigma to people that battle with depression or anxiety. All this does is make people less willing to get the treatment they need and deserve.
To improve overall health and wellbeing it is crucial that emotional disorders be addressed and treated. Mental health should be treated with the same care given to our other health needs. Getting the needed support to help manage symptoms and process emotional events will lead to a better quality of life.
The Most Common Emotional Disorders in Adults
- Anxiety. Anxiety is the number one mental health challenge in the nation. While anxiety was very common prior to COVID-19, now people are more anxious than ever before. Feelings of fear, worry, and distress have really ramped up anxiety over the last year. Anxiety disorders include social anxiety, GAD, phobias, OCD, panic disorder, and PTSD.
- Depression. Depression can be truly disrupt daily life. When depressed, we don’t feel inspired to do anything at all. We feel fatigued and sluggish, and simply lose interest in the things we used to enjoy. Life has been turned upside down for over a year, and that has caused a spike in depression. Rates of depression have climbed across all age groups, and suicides are on the rise.
- Substance Abuse. When struggling with a mental health issue, people often turn to alcohol or drugs to help them cope with symptoms. This disordered coping technique only compounds the problem. The effects of the substance abuse only make the mental health issue worse, and also risks addiction taking hold.
- Bipolar Disorder. This is a mood disorder that features both manic and depressive phases. The extreme mood shifts are often sudden and not predictable. Bipolar is a complex mood disorder that is hard to treat.
- Personality Disorders. These mental health challenges feature a rigid and unhealthy pattern of thinking and behaving. When you have a personality disorder you have trouble relating to others. This can impair the person’s ability to function in society.
Signs of Emotional Disorders in Adults
Early treatment of a mental health disorder will lead to a better outcome. The sooner it is addressed, the sooner your loved one can get the help they need. When you reside with a loved one you may begin to notice some changes in them. Some such changes may include:
- Persistent low mood, feelings of hopelessness.
- Sleep problems.
- Avoids friends and family.
- Extreme mood swings.
- Changes in eating habits.
- Difficulty paying attention or memory problems.
- Stop caring about hygiene or personal care.
- Angry outbursts.
- Scattered thinking.
- Loss of interest.
- Excessive worries, fear, and dread.
- Signs of psychosis.
- Talks about death or suicide.
If your loved one displays some of these signs or symptoms it is time to begin the process of having them assessed by a mental health expert.
How to Support Your Loved One
It may feel awkward bringing up mental health questions with your loved one, but it is the right thing to do. Asking how they are doing in a non-judgmental and caring way can allow them to express their concerns. They may themselves be quite worried about the changes they are seeing, too.
With treatment, your friend or family member can learn to manage symptoms and improve their quality of life. Treatment is available in outpatient or inpatient settings in many levels of care that will be based on the diagnosis. Also, lifestyle changes can also help them begin to feel better. These include getting exercise, avoiding substances, and eating a healthy diet.
Here are some steps to take that are helpful to your loved one:
- Start the conversation. Find a quiet time to simply ask them if they are okay, and whether they would like to chat. This is a good way to begin the chat without seeming to be judging them in any way.
- Check in with them. If they aren’t wanting to talk about their mental health, you can still keep tabs on their wellbeing. Check on your loved one every so many days to let them know you care and you are there for them.
- Look into their health plan. Many people avoid getting help for a mental health disorder because they believe it isn’t covered on their insurance. Often this is an error and their plan does indeed pay for mental health services, at least to some extent.
- Offer to go with them. Someone who has never gone to therapy may be frightened at the prospect. Offer to attend their first session with them. Even just sitting in the waiting room will be a show of support for your loved one.
- Learn about the disorder. Once there is a formal diagnosis, learn as much as you can about it. This can help you to help them, as you will become well informed about treatment options.
These are simple steps you can take to support your family member or friend in their quest for wellness.
The Treatment Specialist Online Resource for Mental Health
The Treatment Specialist is an online resource for informative articles on mental health conditions and treatment options for adults, teens, and families. If you know someone who is struggling with a mental health issue, call The Treatment Specialist today at (866) 644-7911.