What is a Mental Health Condition?

What is a Mental Health Condition?

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Mental health conditions are common and treatable.

Mental Health 101

A mental health condition is something that causes mild to severe disruptions in thought and/or behavior, making it difficult for a person to cope with life’s ordinary demands and routines.

Mental health conditions are common and treatable! In fact, there are more than 200 classified forms of mental health conditions. Some of the more common mental health conditions include: depression, anxiety, eating disorders, OCD, bipolar disorder, dementia, schizophrenia, stress and PTSD. Symptoms may include: changes in mood, personality, trouble sleeping, eating too much or too little, changes in personal habits, increased irritation, fatigue, and/or social withdrawal.

As with cancer, diabetes and heart disease, mental health conditions are often physical as well as emotional and psychological. They may be caused by a reaction to environmental stresses, genetic factors, biochemical imbalances, or a combination of these. With proper care and treatment many individuals are able to cope and recover!

Recognizing Mental Health Conditions are Common: Most people believe that mental health conditions are rare and “happen to someone else,” but an estimated 54 million Americans deal with a mental health condition in a given year.

Accept Your Feelings: You may find yourself denying the warning signs of a mental health condition, worrying what other people will think because of the stigma, or wondering what caused you or your loved to have to deal with a mental health condition/s. These feelings are normal and common among individuals and families going through similar situations. You can find more information by reading and talking with mental health professionals.

Address Changes in Behavior: The outward signs of mental health conditions are often behavioral. Individuals may be extremely quiet or withdrawn. Conversely, he or she may burst into tears or have outbursts of anger. Even after treatment has started, individuals with a mental health condition can exhibit antisocial behaviors. Discussing these behaviors with your doctor or mental health professional can be a helpful way to develop a strategy for coping.

Seek Counseling/Therapy: A mental health professional can suggest ways to cope and better understand your or a loved one’s mental health condition. When looking for a therapist, be patient and talk to a few professionals so you can choose the person that is right for you or your family. It may take time until you are comfortable, but in the long run you will be glad you sought help.

Taking Time Out if You Are a Caregiver: It is common for the person with a mental health condition to become the focus of family life. When this happens, other members of the family may feel ignored or resentful. You need some time for yourself. It will help you keep things in perspective. Only when you are physically and emotionally healthy can you help others. Many families who have a loved one with a mental health condition share similar experiences. It is important to remember that there is hope for recovery.

Establish a Support Network: Whenever possible, seek support from friends and family members. If you feel you cannot discuss your situation with friends or family members, try a support group. These groups provide an opportunity for you to talk to other people who are experiencing the same type of problems. They can listen and offer valuable advice.