There is a stigma surrounding mental health issues. But, it’s time to defend the impact it creates on individuals with mental illness!
Written by Marialma Team
The date was set by the World Federation for Mental Health and its main goal was to raise public awareness. We need to start looking at this issue as a common cause that goes beyond geography or political, cultural and socio-economic borders. The stigma remains and the truth is that disorders of mental nature are growing fast and are one of the main disabling diseases of the 21st century.
Depression is known to be the second cause of incapacity in the EU and on a more global scale, it is estimated to affect 300 million people, the equivalent to 4,4% of the world population. (Depression and Other Common Mental Disorders. Global Health Estimates. WHO, 2017)
Today is World Mental Health Day, and as we believe in the power of raising awareness and improving the provision of services for sufferers and caretakers, we share with you some of the most common mental issues in different stages of life. Keep scrolling to find out why it’s so important to change the way we think about mental health.
Talking about mental health is still a taboo. In this day and age, the diseases that attack the mind still cause awkwardness, fear, and oppression. Early diagnosis is important and crucial to treat and reverse certain clinical scenarios on time, but it is not always easy to point out the problem.
In a general sense, the most prevailing diseases are depression, anxiety, chemical dependency, and bipolar disorder. Besides genetic and biological factors, the stage of life – childhood, adolescence, adulthood or old age – may influence on specific diseases. Even the routines, the demands of daily living, and stress can play a role in whether the diseases set in.
Mental pathologies are responsible for serious functional prejudices and generate high social, economic, and educational impact. The majority of mental diseases may compromise the attentiveness and memory levels and may also be associated with diseases such as obesity, hypertension, and diabetes.
When not treated, psychiatric ills tend to worsen. The consequences to the life of an undiagnosed individual, who hasn’t received the proper monitoring, are seriously dangerous and may even involve the appearance of other mental health disorders.
The Risks Associated to each stage of life
Mental health illness can happen during the first years of a child’s life and is often linked to disorders of the neurodevelopment itself. Its research is especially challenging in such early years. Children are not subjected to lab testing, only to a thorough clinical exam. Even so, it is not possible to confirm any diagnosis, with a high amount of certainty, before the 18 years of age. The most common diseases of this stage are intellectual deficiencies, autistic spectrum disorders, the deficit of attention disorder with hyperactivity and learning ability disorders.
A large part of mental health disorders diagnosed in children may disappear in adult life. When the diagnosis is carefully made and in an early stage, proper treatment can help to make the symptoms disappear.
Most common disorders
Intellectual disability: According to the American Association on Intellectual and Development Disabilities (AAIDD) patients with such diagnoses generally have a mental health performance below average. It is also common that they present limitations in at least two ability areas: communication, self-care, home life, social integration, health and safety, use of community resources, tenancy, academic functions, leisure, and work. Usually, patients behave as if they were younger than they are.
Autistic Spectrum Disorders: The main characteristic of autism is the social and interaction disadvantage with others and the outside world. Usually, the signs appear within the first months of life. It is also characterized by marked difficulties in behavior, social interaction, communication, and sensory sensitivities. However, there are many ASD subgroups with specific symptoms and characteristics.
Deficit of Attention Disorder with Hyperactivity: The main symptoms are lack of attention, restlessness, and impulsiveness. The children are unfairly called “problem children”, because they can’t stay still, can’t retain information and, more often than not, are clumsy. This is a neurological disorder with genetic causes. It is a mental health disorder that mostly affects children (around 3 to 5% of children suffer from it).
Learning ability disorders: As the name suggests, this disorder can interfere with learning basic skills such as reading, writing and/or math. These difficulties are often diagnosed during school years.
Adolescence and Adulthood
During adolescence and the early days of adulthood, diagnosis such as depression, bipolar disorder and anxiety may start to show. The use of alcohol and drugs often happen during these years.
Most common disorders
Bipolar disorder: The diagnosed patient lives in a roller-coaster of emotions since their mood is constantly changing. The person’s mood swings from moments of euphoria and depressive periods. Science has yet defined what causes this disorder, but it is believed that external factors, the environment, hormones, heredity, and biological characteristics may be among the main causes of this mental health disorder. Easy distraction, hyperactivity, rising energy, excessive talking, high self-esteem, food or alcohol compulsion, and poor temper are among the main symptoms.
Depression: The disease is characterized by a deep state of sadness. Usually, the individual feels anguish, anxiety, and have low energy. Besides that, the depressive mood, irritability, focus deficiency, oblivion, and a tendency to isolation are all characteristic symptoms of the disorder. Depression may be three times more common in the ages between 18 and 29 than in elderly people. In depressive sadness, people prefer isolation, while in other cases they try to keep their mind occupied so they don’t have to think about negative feelings.
Generalized anxiety disorder: It is much more than just a feeling of anguish or distress. A generalized anxiety disorder may be a true torment in the patient’s life. The mental health disorder is characterized by a persistent excessive concern or an uneasy expectation difficult to control. One of the criteria for the diagnosis is that the situation lasts for, at least, six months presenting three or more symptoms: fatigue, irritability, restlessness, muscular tension, difficulty to focus and sleep disorder.
Besides generalized anxiety, several other mental health disorders can be included in this group like panic attacks, phobia, including social phobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Dementia is the most common mental health disorder in old age people. The risk of dementia increases from 1 – 2% at the age of 65, to 30% at 85.
Most common disorders
Dementia: With the passing of the years, the deterioration of cerebral cellules may originate dementia. It is common to experience disorientation regarding time and space and difficulty in performing complex tasks. The cognitive damages of a dementia clinical scenario can be changes to memory, judgment, and language, visual and spatial abilities, reasoning, focusing and learning. More often than not, these symptoms are associated with neuropsychiatric symptoms, like behavioral swings and personality variations. Several diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, may also cause dementia scenarios.
Sleep disorders are a classical physical symptom that mental health may be deteriorating. If your sleep is not regular for some time now, do not ignore this potential alarm sign. Without a good night’s sleep, your physical, emotional, and mental health suffer. So, let’s make sleep your number one priority! Your health can depend on it.
Aware of the importance of mental health to live a balanced life, Marialma donates 1% of all sales to projects related to Mental Health promotion. We want to help associations like ENCONTRAR+SE to break the stigma attached to mental health and raise awareness regarding this matter.
We hope you enjoyed our article on the world mental health day. Feel free to pin all the images to your favorite Pinterest board and subscribe to our newsletter, so you can be the first to know about our latest articles. And don’t forget: sleep well, live well!