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Emotional and Mental Health

Mental Health and Disease

Written by Dr. Vandana Patidar.  

Mental health

As per the World Health Organization, health is the state of complete mental, physical, social and spiritual well-being, and not merely the absence of illness.

Mental health is the health of our mind. The mind is an organ of our body just like the heart, liver, kidney, etc. We may also say that mental health is a state of emotional, psychological and social well-being.

It defines how we think, feel, and behave, how we handle stress, relate to others, and make decisions in our day to day life.

Mental health is as important as your physical health. It has a direct influence on your physical health. If you are not feeling emotionally and psychologically normal, you would not feel like eating, showering, going to the gym or for a walk, and that would ultimately affect your body.

Similarly, when you have a bodily problem like fever or jaundice, you feel irritated and distressed. Hence, your mind would not be at ease. So, for completehealth, both mental and physical well-being is essential.

What Affects Our Mental Health?

Many factors contribute to mental health problems:

  • The external environment, stress, life events.
  • Biological factors, such as genes or brain chemistry.
  • Some hormonal issues like thyroid.
  • Family history of mental health problems.

What Are the Most Common Mental Illnesses?

  1. Depression.
  2. Anxiety disorders like social anxiety, specific phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorders, panic attacks, post-traumatic stress disorder.
  3. Schizophrenia.
  4. Bipolar disorder.

Why Mental Illness Occurs?

Due to an imbalance of certain chemicals in our brain like serotonin, dopamine, etc.

These chemicals regulate our mood, behavior, and thought process.

When and How to Seek Help?

When you feel there is a change in your mood, behavior, thought process, sleep pattern, appetite, academic performance or work performance, it indicates that there may be some problem with your mental health.

Signs of Mental Illnesses

1. Depression

  • Low mood on most days of the week.
  • Inability to enjoy previously pleasurable activities.
  • Easy fatiguability.
  • Thoughts of worthlessness, hopelessness, helplessness, self-blame, guilt, pessimism.
  • Death wishes, suicidal acts.
  • Disturbed sleep and appetite.

2. Anxiety Disorders

In all types of anxiety disorders, anxiety is the integral feeling along with palpitations, panic, restlessness, difficulty in breathing, chest tightness, and irritability.

Some symptoms are specific to particular disorders:

  • OCD: obsessions and compulsions like doubts of contamination, repeated hand washing, checking things.
  • Panic attack: extreme anxiety with a feeling of impending doom.
  • Social anxiety: difficulty in facing social situations.

3. Schizophrenia

  • Delusions: fixed, firm and unshakable beliefs that people are after me, want to harm me, talk ill about me.
  • Auditory hallucinations: hearing voices
  • Fearfulness, irritability, disturbed sleep and appetite, significant disturbance of day to day functioning.

4. Bipolar Disorder

Episodes of both depression and mania occur.

  • Depression phase shows features just as mentioned above in regular depression.
  • In the mania phase, the person has elated mood or irritability, talks big things, self-confidence increases, and always feels energetic despite taking no rest.

What to Do If Someone Has These Symptoms

Do not ignore the problem. Consult a mental health professional, intervention on time is very essential.

Treatment options include:

  1. Medicines.
  2. Psychotherapy/counseling.
  3. Biofeedback.
  4. Repeated transcranial magnetic stimulation.
Last reviewed at: 29.Dec.2018

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