Mental health includes human beings’ psychological, emotional, and social wellness. It relates to the way people act, think, and feel and assists in determining stress tolerance, decision-making, and relationship with others. Its definition extends to realizing an individual’s abilities, productivity, and contribution to the community. This topic in general psychology is essential in every stage of life, whether adulthood, adolescence, or childhood. Therefore, this research paper will focus on common mental health issues, their causes, treatment strategies and interventions available, and the importance of mental health in daily life.
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Common Mental Health Issues
There are a variety of mental disorders, each with its unique presentation. They are often characterized by a combination of emotions, abnormal thoughts, behavior, perceptions, and relationships with others. Depression is the most common disorder of them all, and it is estimated that over 264 million people are affected by it globally, with women representing the highest percentage of this number (Lake, 2017). It is characterized by disturbed sleep, poor concentration, feelings of guilt, sadness, and loss of interest. Most people with depression often have several physical complaints, and it can eventually impair a person’s ability to function properly and cope with life. This is why it is among the leading disability causes worldwide.
Apart from depression, there is a bipolar disorder approximated to be present in over 45 million people globally. It consists of depressive and manic episodes amid periods of normal mood. Manic episodes entail rapid speech, lack of sleep, irritable mood, inflated self-esteem, and overactivity (Lindert, Bilsen & Jakubauskiene, 2017). There is also schizophrenia in about 20 million people globally, and it entails distortions in emotions, thoughts, perceptions, behavior, and language. Though it often begins in early adulthood or late adolescence, patients often experience delusions and hallucinations, affecting their study and work-life (Lindert, Bilsen & Jakubauskiene, 2017). This is why it is referred to as psychosis, and there are several other psychoses with similar experiences and characteristics.
Another prevalent mental health issue is dementia, and about 50 million people live with the disorder worldwide. It is often progressive with cognitive function deterioration beyond normal aging expectations (Lindert, Bilsen & Jakubauskiene, 2017). It leads to damage in motivation, emotional control, and social behavior due to its effects on memory, judgment, thinking, learning capacity, calculation, comprehension, and language. There are also developmental disorders covering intellectual disability and pervasive developmental disorders such as autism (Lake, 2017). Such issues often have an onset in childhood and persist through adulthood, leading to delays or impairments in the central nervous system’s maturation. In this regard, these disorders have a steady course that makes them rather unique compared to other mental diseases encompassed by periods of relapses and remissions.
These four are the most common mental health issues globally based on their incidence and prevalence. However, other disorders also affect a good number of people. These include eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, emotional and behavioral disorders, paranoia, anxiety disorders, dissociative and dissociation disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorders (Lindert, Bilsen & Jakubauskiene, 2017). It is approximated that about 450 million individuals suffer from these conditions, with a forecast that at least one in four people will be affected by these illnesses at a given stage in their lives (Lindert, Bilsen & Jakubauskiene, 2017). This is enough evidence of just how severe these issues are to global health.
Causes of Mental Health Issues
There are various contributory factors to mental illnesses which determine the nature and extent of the issue. These factors majorly include individual attributes such as management of one’s behaviors, thoughts, interactions, and emotions. However, they also extend to environmental, social, economic, cultural, and political factors such as community support, social protection, national rules and regulations, living standards, and working conditions (Lake, 2017). Apart from these, genetics, nutrition, stress, environmental hazards exposure, and perinatal infections might also contribute to the emergence of a mental disorder.
Therefore, the causes of mental conditions are divided into family history, biological factors, and life experiences. These three categories form the primary sources of the conditions. However, it is essential to note that no single cause leads to either situation (Lindert, Bilsen & Jakubauskiene, 2017). A combination of either one of these factors accelerates an individual to a state of impaired behavior, thinking, mood, and feeling.
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Treatments for Mental Disorders
The type of treatment according to a mental disorder patient often depends on its severity and severity. This is because appropriate and effective treatment of these illnesses requires a tailored treatment plan for the given individual. These interventions range from medicines to therapies, education, and social support (Thomas et al., 2016). In worse-off cases, individuals may be taken to psychiatric hospitals for more intensive care because of severity or the risk of being a danger to other people and oneself (Lake, 2017). The hospitals often offer counseling, mental health activities involving other patients and health professionals, and group discussions.
This refers to the treatment of mental conditions offered by mental health professionals. It explores the behaviors, thoughts, and feelings of the patient to improve their well-being. Studies show that when paired with medication, it becomes the most effective way to promote recovery (Thomas et al., 2016). Nonetheless, there exist about five broad categories of psychotherapy depending on the area of focus. The primary category is psychodynamic and psychoanalysis therapies that focus on thoughts, behaviors, and feelings by discovering unconscious motivations and meanings (Thomas et al., 2016). They involve a close working partnership between patients and therapists to assist in learning and exploration.
The other category is behavior therapy which focuses on the development of abnormal and expected behaviors. Since its emergence in the 1950s, there have been several other variations, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, which focuses on behaviors and thoughts (Thomas et al., 2016). All in all, behavior therapy utilizes such concepts as desensitizing, operant conditioning, and classical conditioning. The other category is cognitive therapy, which emphasizes thoughts and actions (Thomas et al., 2016). Cognitive therapists’ dysfunctional behaviors and emotions emanate from dysfunctional thinking, and thus alteration of thoughts is key to changing such feelings and actions.
The final two categories are humanistic and integrative therapies. Humanistic therapy emphasizes that people have to develop their maximum potential and make rational choices, including respect and concern for others. The therapy is further subdivided into gestalt, client-centered, and existential therapies, focusing on certain primary humanistic aspects (Thomas et al., 2016). On the other hand, integrative therapy refers to the blended approach taken by therapists wherein they integrate elements from various techniques and tailor them accordingly to meet client needs.
Apart from psychotherapy, there are psychiatric medications available though they do not cure the conditions. However, they are essential in significantly improving the given disease symptoms and making the other treatments more effective. Therefore, the best medication depends on the situation and the body’s response to the given medication (Thomas et al., 2016). Some common ones include mood-stabilizing, antidepressants, antipsychotics, and anti-anxiety medications. Each of these is tailored for given symptoms and conditions.
Importance of Mental Health
Mental health is growingly becoming essential, and its usefulness in everyday life cannot be downplayed. Despite the sensitivity surrounding it, knowledge of the various aspects of the multiple conditions is very important. This is mainly because it is closely associated with physical health and poor mental health, leading to poor physical health (Thomas et al., 2016). This, in turn, affects productivity and an individual’s contribution to their communities. This also inhibits an individual’s attainment of their full potential.
Moreover, good mental health offers one a feeling of inner strength and well-being. This is because mental disorders often lead to distortions that lead to the sadness of feelings of dejections. Therefore, individuals can know how to take care of themselves through exercise and dieting. Furthermore, mental health helps enhance proper immune functioning as it promotes well-being (Thomas et al., 2016). Additionally, it is a topic that creates awareness to ensure that societal stigmas and stereotypes associated with those living with such conditions are curtailed.
General psychology is an extensive study with essential topics involving human growth, emotions, thinking processes, and senses. As established from the preceding discussion, mental health is a central topic to it as it covers most if not all of its areas and concepts. Therefore, people must have adequate and accurate information from it to promote a generally healthy society. Moreover, it ensures that developments are made to curtail some of the daily avoidable physical health conditions that people face.
Lake, J. (2017). Urgent need for improved mental health care and a more collaborative model of care. The Permanente Journal, 21(1), 17-24. Web.
Lindert, J., Bilsen, J., & Jakubauskiene, M. (2017). Public mental health. European Journal of Public Health, 27(suppl_4), 32-35. Web.
Thomas, S., Jenkins, R., Burch, T., Calamos Nasir, L., Fisher, B., & Giotaki, G. (2016). Promoting mental health and preventing mental illness in general practice. London Journal of Primary Care, 8(1), 3-9. Web.