There has been an increase in the number of people reporting mental health issues worldwide. There are an estimated one billion people globally who have been diagnosed as having a mental, neurodevelopmental, or substance abuse issue. There have been increases in reports of negative coping strategies for mental health as well, with instances of self-harm and suicide also on the rise. However, the fact remains that the majority of mental health issues often go undiagnosed, and the true statistics may never be fully recognised. Of the eight most common mental health issues that people face in the modern age, there are ways that you can alleviate your symptoms and start on the road to recovery.
1: Anxiety Disorders
As one of the most common mental disorders that are reported, anxiety is often dismissed by sufferers as nothing more than stress. Anxiety and stress are very different, and learning to recognise when you have symptoms of anxiety is essential. If you feel fear or dread when faced with certain objects or situations, then the chances are that your problems are more anxiety than stress. Physical symptoms may also be present, with a rapid heartbeat and excessive sweating being common symptoms. There are different types of anxiety disorder, including:
- Generalised Anxiety Disorder
- Social Anxiety Disorder
- General and Specific Phobias.
Drug treatments for anxiety disorders are wide-ranging, and with a combination of medications and therapy, this is a treatable disorder.
2: Affective Disorders
This type of mental illness can be difficult to diagnose. Also referred to as mood disorders, they are usually recognisable by persistent feelings of extreme emotion. Being overly happy then feeling extreme sadness is one of the most recognisable symptoms. Switching between those moods is common, and with subsets of affective disorder including depression, bipolar disorder, and cyclothymic disorder, they can be challenging to treat. It’s essential that you talk to your doctor. There are treatments available, and these will be dependant on your physical health and the specific issue that you are going through.
This mental illness is most commonly recognisable by distorted awareness and thought. Sufferers with extreme versions of this illness may also suffer from hallucinations or delusions. One of the most common forms of diagnosed psychotic disorder is schizophrenia, for which there remains a certain social stigma that can make it harder for sufferers to seek treatment. There are, however, effective treatments now available that can help those suffering from psychosis lead a more normal life.
4: Eating Disorders
There are many misconceptions surrounding eating disorders, and it can be difficult persuading sufferers to get help. This is a particularly insidious mental disorder that tends to come with other mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. The most common forms of eating disorder are anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating. It's vital that if you or someone you know is suffering from any form of eating disorder that medical help is sought as quickly as possible.
5: Impulse Control and Addiction
These are two closely related illnesses, but they are separated by the effects. Those with impulse control issues are prone to taking risky behaviour which may be harmful to themselves or to others. Pyromania, kleptomania, and compulsive gambling are all examples of impulse control issues. However, drug addiction can have long-lasting effects on the lives of sufferers and those around them as well. Treatment for addiction or poor impulse control is possible. Health insurance policies are usually able to pay for rehab centres, so check your policy if you are struggling with addiction. One of the most common questions that rehab centres get on first approach is does Blue Cross Blue Shield cover drug rehab, and the quick answer is that the majority will, although you will have to check depending on your location.
6: Personality Disorders
People with very extreme and rigid personality traits that are distressing to both themselves and others are most likely suffering from some form of personality disorder. This can cause problems with finding employment, building healthy relationships, or studying. People with some forms of personality disorder find that functioning in a socially acceptable way is difficult. People with antisocial personality disorder or obsessive-compulsive personality disorder may distance themselves from even attempting activities that involve other people. Treatment for personality disorders can take time. Antipsychotic or anti-anxiety drugs are commonly used with a combination of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and family-focused therapy.
7: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
This has become an affliction that is now widely known about, and doctors are far more likely to diagnose a patient with OCD than they would have been even a decade ago. Partly this is due to a variety of representations of OCD in popular culture, but also due to advances in treatment options. OCD sufferers commonly experience constant thoughts and concerns that force them into rituals and obsessive behaviour. Drug treatments for OCD sufferers are usually only offered as an option when therapy has proven to be ineffective. The drugs used are often serotonin boosters, although the most effective treatment has consistently been CBT that includes Exposure and Response Prevention (ERP).
8: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
People who have suffered through some form of traumatising or horrible event may develop PTSD. Sexual assault, a natural disaster, being in a war zone, or even the death of a loved one can all be the initial factors that cause the disorder. The event becomes a fixation that is never far from the mind, and as a result, people living with PTSD usually become emotionally distant. The main treatment option for people living with PTSD is therapy. That’s because there are currently no medications that have been shown to specifically work for alleviating PTSD, although medication used for other mental health issues can be used to complement the therapy.
Mental health issues can hit anyone at any time. They can often become connected, meaning that the sufferer has to deal with combinations such as depression and OCD, or Anxiety and impulse control. If you or someone you know is feeling mentally unhealthy, it’s essential that you talk to someone. Start wherever you feel comfortable, and whether that’s your partner, your family, or your doctor, the important thing is that you have taken a positive step. The pathway to recovery can take time, but that first step is often all you need to start the process.