Mental health issues are rising in the United States. According to numerous outlets those who are disabled by mental illness increased, reaching an all time high in 2007. Studies by the National Institute of Mental Health show that just under half of all Americans met criteria for at least one mental illness.
The Rise of Anxiety and Depression
Specifically, anxiety and depression rates are steadily rising across the country. It is especially prevalent in young people, a major change over the last two decades. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Eleven percent of Americans aged 12 years and over takes antidepressant medication.” Use of anti-depressants increased well over 300 percent in the last two decades. It is the most commonly used medication for Americans under fifty years old.
The Dangers of Unsafe Coping Mechanisms
Dangers that arise with mental health issues are the unsafe coping mechanisms. Substance abuse or addiction may form in response to the number of people experiencing anxiety, depression, or other mental health illnesses.
Sadly, many people turn to temporary fixes. These acts of self-soothing are often done impulsively, unconsciously, and without serious thought. These attempts at fixing things often lead to catastrophic results.
7 Most Common Mental Health Issues
Anxiety is one of the most frequently experienced mental health issues today. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, “Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18% of the population.”
There are numerous types of anxiety disorders, like social anxiety, phobias, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), to name a few. Anxiety disorder often gets worse over time. Untreated anxiety is dangerous because the physical manifestations of anxiety, like insomnia, dizziness, sweating, nausea (for generalized anxiety disorder) or chest pain (for social anxiety), can cause physical harm. Anxiety can also lead to substance abuse.
Depression, alongside anxiety, is one of the most common forms of mental illness. The Centers for Disease Control report 1 in 10 adults are depressed at any time. As a mood disorder, depression can affect anyone, during any stage of life.
While sadness is part of human emotions, depression is when overwhelming despair and hopelessness overpowers and impairs daily functioning. Depression can lead to developments, like suicidal ideations or substance addiction. However, mental health professionals can treat depression. Healing is possible.
Bipolar disorder (sometimes known as manic depression) is a mood disorder that causes people to have severe shifts in behavior and mood swings. Moods alternate between extreme and mild states. This affects all aspects of living not only for the individual but also for loved ones or people they live with.
Bipolar disorder can affect relationships, job opportunities, job stability, and can lead to more dangerous outcomes like suicide or addiction. However, with a combination of medication and therapy, living with bipolar disorder is extremely attainable.
Eating disorders are one of the most common mental health issues today. Approximately thirty million women and men will suffer from some form of an eating disorder at some point in their lives. While teenage and adult women are reported as having the highest rates of eating disorders, it still affects as many as ten million men.
Many adult women who have an eating disorder developed it in their youth. Often times, women relapse and redevelop it in adulthood. It may form as a coping mechanism due to a traumatic event or stressful phase in life. An eating disorder is a mental illness and has similar characteristics to substance addiction. If left untreated, results can be fatal.
History of Trauma
A history of trauma and abuse affects approximately over forty percent of children, making it a common mental health issue. Polled adults report that they experienced repeated trauma and other consistent problematic scenarios during their childhood. A history of trauma, where repeated harmful actions took place, has disastrous consequences for children and adults.
Early life programs the brain based on the type of interactions, behaviors, and environment that is experienced. So a peaceful and stable upbringing will create an adult that can handle stress and thrive, regardless of typical life stressors.
On the opposite end, a chaotic or abusive childhood will program a person’s brain to be unable to deal with obstacles or stressors without unsafe coping mechanisms, like substance addiction. Repressed experiences and unmanaged emotions often intensify addiction. Multiple studies show the impenetrable correlation between trauma and addiction.
Alcohol addiction is a chronic mental illness that changes functioning in the brain and body. It is a compulsive need to consume alcohol, even to the point of sickness or death. Over 16 million people have experienced some form of alcohol use disorder (AUD) in their lives, making it a common and dangerous mental health issue.
Physical symptoms of alcoholism are damaging for the person and others around them. Nausea, tremors, seizures, blackouts and physical illnesses, like cirrhosis may result. However, primary treatment and detox centers can treat alcohol addiction. Abusers must undergo treatment under the supervision of medical professionals in order to ensure a safe recovery.
Drug addiction is also a chronic illness that impairs physical and emotional functioning. It has biological, psychological, and social impacts affecting millions of people nationwide. Severe addiction can be fatal or cause serious health risks. However, today, treatment, detox, and sober living facilities are ready and prepared to provide medical intervention, treatment, and therapy to help eradicate drug addiction for good.
Find Hope in Treatment and Recovery
Regardless of your mental health illness, issue, or addiction, there is help. Treatment programs and recovery residences are available across the nation. They are ready to help you regain your life by leaving your addiction behind. Through medical assistance and therapy, you will work on healing physically and emotionally, creating lasting positivity and hope for the future.