Mental Health

The Importance of Staying Mentally Healthy

People who are emotionally healthy are in control of their behavior. They can build strong relationships, handle life challenges, and recover from setbacks. This requires effort to maintain and build physical and mental health. Improving mental health can be a rewarding experience, benefiting many aspects of daily life, building resilience, boosting mood, and adding to enjoyment and happiness with the self.

It is often difficult to distinguish mental illness from normal mental health because there is no simple blood test to show if something is wrong. Many primary mental health conditions are mimicked by physical illnesses. People with mental health conditions are not diagnosed and treated based on physical symptoms, but rather, the therapy involves the effects of the condition on normal daily life. The signs and symptoms of mental health conditions can affect:

  • Behavior – Such as drinking too much or obsessive hand-washing
  • Feelings – Includes a deep or ongoing sadness, anger, or euphoria
  • Thinking – Such as delusions and hallucinations
Mental Health

Most Common Mental Health Conditions

The most common mental health conditions include:

  • Anxiety disorders – This is a group of conditions that lead to numerous physical signs of anxiety and nervousness, such as sweating and rapid heartbeat. Anxiety disorder is diagnosed when a person response inappropriately for the situation and when a person cannot control the response. Anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorder, and certain phobias.
  • Mood disorders – These conditions are often referred to as affective disorders. They involve persistent feelings of elation or overwhelming sadness, or fluctuations between the two feelings. The most common mood disorders are bipolar disorder, depression, and mania.
  • Psychotic disorders – These conditions involve distorted thinking and awareness. The most common symptoms of psychosis are delusions (false beliefs that the ill person accepts as true) and hallucinations (images or sounds that are not real). The most common psychotic disorder is schizophrenia.
  • Eating disorders – These conditions involve extreme attitudes, emotions, and behaviors regarding weight and food. The most common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.
  • Impulse control and addiction disorders – People with these conditions are unable to resist certain urges or impulses. They also do things that could result in harm to the self or others. Examples of impulse control disorders include kleptomania (stealing), pyromania (starting fires), and compulsive gambling. Alcohol and drugs are often the source of addiction disorders.
  • Personality disorders – These conditions include antisocial personality disorder, paranoid personality disorder, and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder. People with personality disorders have extreme and inflexible personality traits that cause problems at school, work, or in social relationships.

Less Common Mental Health Conditions

Mental health conditions that occur less frequently include:

  • Adjustment disorders – This condition occurs when a person develops behavioral or emotional symptoms in response to a stressful situation or event. The stressors include natural disasters, crises, or events, such as an earthquake, car accident, or death of a loved one.
  • Dissociative disorders – People with these conditions suffer severe disturbances or alterations in consciousness, memory, identity, and general awareness of themselves and their surroundings. Dissociative disorder is associated with overwhelming stress from an event or situation. Dissociative identity disorder is the most common of these conditions.
  • Factitious disorders – These conditions involve physical and emotional symptoms created in order to place the person in the role of "patient."
  • Sexual and gender disorders – These conditions affect sexual behavior, desire, and performance. Examples of sexual and gender disorders include paraphilias, sexual dysfunction, and gender identity disorder.

Symptoms of Mental Health Conditions

Symptoms of mental health conditions include:

  • Appetite changes – This involves either overeating or undereating.
  • Sleep problems – This could be severe insomnia or sleeping too much.
  • Concentration difficulties – This involves difficulty focusing and remembering things.
  • Energy level changes – This could be loss of energy or hyperactivity.
  • Interest problems – Could be loss of interest or hyperfocus on people, places, or things.