Mental Health: Types, Diagnosis, Treatment and More
Mental Health refers to your emotional, behavioral, and cognitive well-being.
It is all about how you feel, think and act. However, sometimes people use the term ‘mental health’ as the absence of mental disorder.
It is important to note that your mental health can affect your everyday life, your relations, and your physical health.
Read more about the common mental health problems, diagnosis, treatment, how to maintain good mental health, and much more in this guide.
Types of Mental Health Disorders
Different factors influence your mental health like certain events of your life and your genetics.
According to WHO, the World Health Organization, mental health is more than just the absence of mental disorders or disabilities.
Moreover, according to NIMH, the National Institute of Mental Health, 11.2 million adults in the United States suffer from severe psychological conditions.
Interestingly, women are more likely to suffer from mental illness than men.
Although mental illnesses are common, they vary in severity from one person to another.
About 1 in 25 adults suffer from a serious mental illness, SMI and it can significantly reduce your ability to carry out daily life chores.
Types of Mental Health Disorders
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Editions, DSM-5, mental health professionals diagnose mental disorders on the basis of this manual.
There are different types of mental health disorders, while DSM-5, list about 300 mental health disorders.
Mental Health includes:
- Bipolar Disorder
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Persistent Depressive Disorder
- Major Depressive Disorder
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
- Post-traumatic-Stress Disorder
- Social Anxiety Disorder
Let’s discuss these as follows:
Bipolar disorder or Manic depression is a mental health condition that causes extreme mood swings, including emotional highs or mania or lows or depression.
As you become depressed, and feel sad and hopeless, lose interest in most activities.
Moreover, the mood shifts to mania or hypomania and you may feel full of energy to usually irritable.
These mood swings affect your sleep, energy, judgment, behavior, and ability to think clearly.
According to studies, certain aspects of bipolar disorder can make you feel good.
Thus, in a good mood, you may find yourself more sociable, talkative, and creative.
However, it is unlikely to persist for a long period of time.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder
Individuals suffering from Generalized Anxiety Disorder, GAD, worry uncontrollably about the common situations.
Often mental health professionals’ term is Chronic Anxiety Neurosis.
It is, however, different from feeling nervous or anxious. It is normal to be nervous about certain situations, however, an individual with GAD, worries about every situation.
In certain situations, individuals say that they worry about something, however, they are not able to explain what they are worried about.
This feeling can be frightening and thus, can interfere with relationships and daily life routines.
Persistent Depressive Disorder
Persistent depressive disorder is a chronic type of depression and is also termed Dysthymia.
While dysthymic is not intense or server. it can, however, interfere with your daily life routines.
Like other types of depression, PDD can cause continuous and persistent feelings of sadness and hopelessness.
Thus, it can affect your mood and behavior along with physical functions. As a result, you might also lose interest in the activities you once enjoyed most.
The symptoms of this condition can last for 2 years. Moreover, the chronic nature of PDD can often make it difficult to cope with symptoms.
Major Depressive Disorder
Major Depressive Disorder, MDD, or clinical depression is a major medical condition that can affect several aspects of your life.
It not only affects your mood, and behavior, but also your physical functions like sleep and appetite.
Often individuals with MDD become so upset that they even try to commit suicide.
In some cases, individuals with MDD do not seek medical treatment.
However, most individuals learn to cope and function with the treatment. Different medications, psychotherapy, and other methods are effective for treating MDD and manage its symptoms.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, OCD, causes constant and repetitive thoughts or obsession.
Although you might observe that certain thoughts and behaviors as illogical, however, they are not able to stop them.
You might notice certain repetitive behavior like double-checking the doors you locked, or wearing your lucky socks to a favorite game.
Thus, simple rituals or daily life routines make you feel more secure.
However, OCD goes beyond simply double-checking locked doors or wearing your lucky socks to a favorite game.
If you have OCD, you may feel a compulsion to repeat certain actions over and over, even if you do not want to.
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, PTSD, is a mental illness that is often triggered after undergoing or experiencing a traumatic situation.
The event may involve a real or something you perceive as the threat of injury or even death.
This can include a natural disaster, military combat, physical or sexual assault, or an accident.
Moreover, during this, you feel a heightened sense of danger. Your natural fight-or-flight response alters, thus causing you to feel more stressed or fearful, even when you are safe.
However, it is important to note that PTSD can happen to anyone of any age. It happens as a response to chemical and neuronal changes in the brain after exposure to life-threatening experiences.
Social Anxiety Disorder
Social Anxiety Disorder or Social Phobias is a type of anxiety disorder that causes extreme fear in social gatherings.
It often makes it hard for you to talk to people, meet new people, and even attending social gatherings.
Moreover, you often fear being judged or scrutinized by other individuals.
However, it is important to note that it is different from shyness. Shyness is short-term and does not affect your life, while social anxiety is consistent and debilitating.
It can affect your ability to work, attend school and even develop relationships with new people.
Schizophrenia is a serious mental health disorder that affects your emotions, your ability to think rationally, and even your ability to interact with others.
Episodes of this condition may come and go, while in the active period, you may experience hallucinations, delusions, have trouble thinking logically, and a flat affect.
According to NIMH, the signs of this disorder develop between the age of 16 and 30 and you might have fragmented thoughts and trouble processing information.
Learn more about Autism here.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
The symptoms and diagnosis of each and every mental health disorder are different, although there are certain common characteristics of all these. Moreover, diagnosing them is a multi-step procedure and you need to visit your doctor to get a proper diagnosis.
Let’s learn more about them.
Mental Health Symptoms
Common signs and symptoms of mental health disorders are not eating enough, insomnia, or sleeping too much and feeling sad or hopeless.
Moreover, distancing yourself from people and favorite activities, fatigue, lacking empathy, smoking, drinking, or using different types of drugs.
Feeling confusion, irritability, anger, anxiety, constantly fighting with friends and family, extreme mood swings, constant flashbacks, hallucinations, even thoughts of suicide are common signs and symptoms of mental health conditions.
Often, stress and periods of emotional distress can lead to episodes of symptoms.
Thus, it makes it difficult to maintain normal behavior and activities. This period is characterized as a nervous or mental breakdown.
Diagnosis of a Mental Health Disorder
For the diagnosis of any mental disorder, your doctor will perform a physical exam to look for the signs and symptoms of the physical issues.
This is because physical issues contribute to the signs and symptoms you are experiencing.
Some doctors may also order a series of lab tests to screen for underlying medical conditions or less obvious possible causes.
Doctors often ask you to fill a questionnaire and you will also undergo a psychological evaluation.
However, it is important to note, that you might not have a diagnosis in the first appointment.
In severe conditions, they might also refer you to a mental health expert as they can diagnose complex conditions and because symptoms may also vary from one person to another.
Thus, it will take a few appointments for a proper diagnosis of your mental disorder.
Treatment of mental health disorders vary from one person to another, however, it is important to note that they do not provide a cure.
These treatment options aim to reduce symptoms, treat underlying medical causes and make them manageable.
You and your doctor or mental health specialist can work together to devise a treatment plan that works best for you.
You may need a combination of treatments as for some it produces the best results.
The following are the treatment options:
The four main categories of medications for mental health disorders are anti-anxiety medications, antidepressants, antipsychotics, and mood-stabilizing medications.
The best type of medication depends on the signs and symptoms you experience and your medical history.
It also depends on other health issues you may be facing.
You may need to try a few medications at different doses before finding something that is right for you.
Psychotherapy and Residential Treatment
Talk therapy or psychotherapy is an opportunity to talk to your mental health provider.
It helps to let out your feelings, experiences, thoughts, and ideas. Your therapist act as a sounding board and a neutral mediator thus, helping you to learn coping techniques and strategies.
However, some people need short and brief time of intensive treatment at hospitals or residential treatment facilities.
Such programs allow an overnight stay for an in-depth treatment. Moreover, you can also join a daytime program to participate in shorter periods of treatment.
Lifestyle and Home Remedies
You can use alternative treatments as well as other treatment options as a supplement.
These remedies will not help to eliminate or reduce the signs and symptoms of mental disorder, however, they can be very helpful.
But you will have to stick to your treatment plan as closely as possible, thus, you should avoid alcohol and drugs.
Moreover, adapting to a healthy lifestyle, that includes a balanced and healthy diet that helps your brain.
This includes taking omega 3 fatty acids, that is fish oil containing a high amount of fish fat.
Mental Health Therapy
Mental health therapy refers to different styles of talk therapy. This can help treat a number of disorders including panic disorders, anxiety, anger issues, depression, bipolar disorder, and PTSD.
This therapy can help you to identify mental health issues and unhealthy behaviors or thought patterns.
During each session, you and your therapist will work to change such disruptive thoughts and behaviors.
However, in most cases, they focus on the current issue and the certain things affecting your daily life routine.
They will help you find solutions to what you go through, however, every therapist’s approach is different.
Mental Health Exercises
Physical exercises are a great way to boost your energy and beneficial for your body.
Dancing, swimming, walking, and jogging can help boost cardio health and strength and great for your mind.
Moreover, research suggests that it can help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety.
However, there are certain exercises you can do to boost your brain and good mood.
Listening to Calming Music
According to a study in 2013, people who listen to relaxing music recover faster after stress than those who do not.
Another study of 2017 suggests that 2 minutes of performing yoga poses can help boost self-esteem and help increase your energy.
Practicing progressive muscle relaxation helps to tighten and slow relax muscles.
Other techniques like listening to calming music or breathing exercise can also help.
Striking a Power Pose
Using a power pose or hands-on-hips may help to feel relaxed and drop feelings of social anxiety.
Risk Factors for Mental Health Conditions
Everyone has a risk of developing a mental health disorder, no matter the age, sex, or other factors.
Social and financial circumstances, biological factors, and certain lifestyle choices can shape an individual’s mental health.
The following factors can contribute to mental health disruptions:
- Social and Economic Pressure
- Biological Factors
Different Mental disorders can cause changes in behavior, emotion, and thinking patterns of a person, however, some of these are more severe and can cause disruption in daily life routine.
It is important to take care of your mental health and consult your doctor if you observe any signs and symptoms. Getting treatment for severe mental health conditions is important to have a normal life.