Mental Health: What to Look For

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Under the best circumstances, caring for and learning more about mental health is a good idea. Add in extra stressors, whether local, global, or both, and paying attention to fluctuations and changes in your mental health is imperative to staying healthy. Knowing some of the signs and concerns about different mental health issues and changes can assist in heading things off or getting the help you need to stay healthy.

Anxiety- Like so many other health issues, the symptoms and triggers for anxiety can manifest itself in a number of ways. Panic, fears, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and other conditions fall under anxiety. Usually there are specific objects, scenarios, or situations that contribute to this type of behavior. A rapid heartbeat, sweating, feelings of dread or lack of control, and heightened reactions can be an indicator of some sort of anxiety taking place.

Behavioral- These may be the most well known disorders although some may forget they fall in the mental health category. ADD and ADHD are commonly spoken about, but behavioral disorders also include Conduct Disorder and Oppositional-Defiant Disorder. There must be a pattern of observable behavior, usually 6 months or more, and will include issues in social, school, and home settings. Inattention, hyperactivity, impulsivity, and other behaviors help medical professionals look further into behavioral disorders.

Eating- Eating disorders involve an unhealthy and extreme attitude about foods and/or eating. By participating in behaviors outside of common eating practices, and having extreme emotions in response to eating practices, a disorder can arise and worsen. Some of the more common eating disorders are anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating.

Mood- If you or someone you care for is experiencing long periods of sadness, are overly happy, or possibly swinging back and forth from one extreme to the other, they may have a mood disorder that needs attention. Depression, bipolar disorder, self-harm behaviors, and other concerns are types of mood disorders and all look very different depending on what it is and who is exhibiting signs of it.

Personality- These disorders can greatly impact and stress relationships and functionality at work, school, and personal settings. They are marked not by normal fluctuations, but extreme changes and sometimes rigidity. Antisocial and borderline personality disorder are just two classifications one may see.

Psychotic- A psychotic disorder is marked by losing grasp on and being unable to differentiate between what is real and what is not. Those undergoing a psychotic episode may hear or see things that are not real, called hallucinations, or may believe, firmly, in what is not true, called delusions. Psychotic behavior can be experienced by people with other health problems, like brain tumors, but can also be part of a specific disorder like, Schizophrenia.

Suicidal Behavior– While not necessarily a specific disorder, in fact it can be a component of other disorders listed here, suicidal behavior is important to discuss. According to the United States Government’s Mental Health site, 112 Americans die of suicide every day, and it is the leading cause of death for 15-24 year olds. If you or someone you love talks about wanting to die or what a burden they are, are looking for ways to kill themselves or participate in reckless behavior, are withdrawing or sleeping more or less than usual, or any of these other signs, get help immediately from a healthcare provider or through the resources listed.

Trauma and Stress Related– When an individual experiences something dangerous or vastly out of their normal experience, they can develop Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. While commonly associated with soldiers returning from active duty, PTSD can affect people in natural disasters, victims of sexual or physical abuse, and those caught in an accident of some sort. The trauma and fear carry over past the initial events causing stress, guilt, sleeplessness, and, often, flashbacks.

There are a number of ways to seek help if you need additional information or have concerns about these disorders. Medical professionals at our clinics are here to help, in addition to there being a number of resources available from the government and other outreach programs. To set an appointment please contact us today or come see us at one of our several locations, open every day from 8am to 8pm.

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