Mental health – alternatively known as emotional health, is the well-being associated with the emotional, psychological, and mental state of an individual.
It’s important to recognize that significant life events and experiences can impact one’s mental well-being. For example, early childhood trauma, prolonged periods of untreated severe depression, and experiencing domestic violence are situations that can disrupt an individual’s mental state, potentially leading to signs of mental health problems.
However, issues related to mental health can alter a person’s approach to dealing with depression, relationships with others, decision-making, and even lead to self-harming tendencies.
Some common psychological issues include stress, bipolar disorder, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and psychosis.
Additionally, there are many mental health disorders that are specific to certain individuals, such as postpartum depression, which affects mothers after childbirth.
Common Triggers of Mental Health Problems
There are various factors that can trigger mental health problems in individuals, including:
- Head injuries.
- Genetic factors or a family history of mental health issues.
- Domestic violence or other forms of abuse.
- Childhood experiences of violence.
- Brain chemical imbalances or neurological issues.
- Experiencing discrimination and stigma.
- Loss or death of a loved one.
- Social setbacks, such as poverty or debt.
- Providing care for a sick family member or friend.
- Unemployment, job loss, or homelessness.
- The impact of toxic substances, alcohol, or certain drugs on the brain.
- Prolonged severe depression.
- Social isolation or feelings of loneliness.
- Living in poor housing conditions.
- Traumatic experiences such as military combat, serious accidents, or other criminal victimization.
Factors Exacerbating Mental Health Problems
In addition, there are many factors that can worsen the negative effects of mental health problems, including:
- Women are at a higher risk of experiencing stress and anxiety, while men are more likely to exhibit substance dependency and antisocial behavior.
- Postpartum women are susceptible to mental health issues; read more about the three types of postpartum psychological problems in the article “Understanding 3 Types of Postpartum Stress.”
- Childhood issues or lifestyle problems.
- High-stress careers, such as doctors and business professionals.
- Family history of mental health problems.
- A history of brain abnormalities at birth.
- Previous mental health disorders.
- Academic or work-related failures.
- Misuse of alcohol or illicit drugs.
Signs of Mental Health Problems
Signs of mental health issues can vary depending on the type of disorder. However, some common signs of these health abnormalities that you should be aware of include:
- Yelling or fighting with family and friends.
- Delusions, paranoia, or fantasies.
- Inability to concentrate.
- Fear, worry, or constant guilt.
- Inability to cope with depression or daily problems.
- Excessive anger and a propensity for violence.
- Past experiences or a bad past that cannot be ignored.
- Thoughts of self-harm or harming someone else.
- Withdrawal from people and daily activities.
- Hearing voices or believing in something untrue.
- Unexplained physical pain.
- Sudden mood swings cause relationship problems.
- Confusion, forgetfulness, irritability, resentment, anxiety, and unusual fear.
- Sadness, meaninglessness, lack of energy, loss of enthusiasm, or hopelessness.
- Smoking, consuming excessive alcohol, or using drugs.
- Significant changes in eating habits, such as overeating or undereating.
- Changes in sexual desire.
- Severe fatigue, decreased energy, or sleep problems.
- Inability to carry out daily activities such as caring for children, going to school, or going to work.
- Difficulty understanding one’s own state and others.
Analysis of Mental Health Problems
Psychiatrists or psychologists initiate the analysis of mental health problems through clinical interviews and psychiatric assessments.
Initially, doctors inquire about the patient’s symptoms and their family’s history of mental health issues.
Subsequently, a physical examination is conducted to rule out the possibility of other medical conditions.
If necessary, doctors may request additional tests, such as thyroid function tests, alcohol and drug screenings, and CT scans to identify any brain abnormalities.
If no other clinical conditions are found, doctors may prescribe medication and appropriate therapy.
Sometimes, simple tests like the depression test found on Halodoc can also help identify mental health conditions.
Treatment of Mental Health Problems
There are various treatment options for mental health problems, depending on the individual’s condition:
- Psychotherapy: This involves talking therapy to express feelings and receive guidance. Psychologists help individuals manage their emotions.
- Medication: Some medications are used to correct chemical imbalances in the brain. Common types include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), and tricyclic antidepressants.
- Inpatient Treatment: In severe cases or when there is a risk of self-harm, doctors may recommend inpatient care for close monitoring.
- Support Groups: These groups typically consist of individuals who share similar mental health issues or those who have successfully managed their emotions. Group sessions allow for shared experiences and guidance toward better and faster recovery.
- Brain Stimulation: Other treatment options include electroconvulsive therapy, transcranial magnetic stimulation, deep brain stimulation, and vagus nerve stimulation.
- Substance Abuse Rehabilitation: Specialized treatment for individuals with mental health problems related to substance abuse.
- Self-Care: In addition to clinical treatment, individuals can take steps to manage their mental health, such as adopting a healthy lifestyle and diet and effectively addressing depression.
- Recovery: Recovery programs aim to help individuals with substance use disorders or addiction-related mental health problems.
Prevention of Mental Health Disorders
Efforts to prevent mental health issues include:
- Regular physical activity and staying physically active.
- Helping others selflessly.
- Practicing positive thinking.
- Developing coping skills.
- Seeking professional help when needed.
- Maintaining positive relationships with others.
- Ensuring adequate sleep.
- Seeking medical attention when mental health issues persist.
When to Seek Medical Attention
If you or a family member consistently exhibits signs of mental health issues and there is no improvement, it is advisable to seek immediate consultation with a specialist in psychiatry or psychology for further evaluation and treatment.
Early diagnosis and intervention can assist individuals in recovering from their conditions, returning to normal daily activities, and avoiding the complex and serious negative effects of mental health problems.