Mental Health Basics

Mental health:

You people know that we all have different kinds of feelings each day. Feelings that come and go like we feel excited, hungry, sometimes we feel alone, we feel happy, sad, nervous, confident and many more. But do you know who handles these feelings? Have you ever heard about the word mental health? Mental health is our ability to handle our feelings and tackle negative activities so that we can enjoy our daily life. It refers to our cognition, behavior, and attitude.  Mental health not only relates to our feelings but it also includes how we think, how we act and behave according to the situation.

It is based on mental processes like how a person receives a sense and then how he/she gives the sense meaning and how he/she process it according to his/her mental abilities.

It affects our daily life, our relationships and our physical health can also be affected.

  • According to WHO (World Health Organization), mental health is

“A state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitful, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”

When we talk about mental health we often listen to the word brain. The brain plays a very important part of mental health. Because there are certain areas of the brain that affects mental health. In our brain, there is an area known as the fear area of the brain also known as the amygdala

Now the question comes that how the amygdala affects mental health? We all have some kind of fear and danger inside us. We do not know how to overcome that danger and we cannot even decide the harmful things in our life. So what basically amygdala does is that it tells us how to overcome that fear and danger. This is how the amygdala affects our mental health. Because if the amygdala does not help us to avoid danger and harmful things in our life can lead to bad mental health.

Another question is that how amygdala works? There is a certain cortex inside our brain. One of them is the prefrontal cortex. Amygdala’s job is to work with a prefrontal cortex that helps to control your response to some events in our daily life.

That event includes fearful events and stressful events. If we do not know how to respond to fearful events or stressful events we might lose our mental health. The function of the prefrontal cortex does not end here.

It gives one more favor that if our mental health is good then we can make great decisions in our life so what prefrontal the prefrontal cortex does is that it helps us to make decisions of our daily life and solves our daily life problems and also helps us to recall memories.

 

  • Mental health and emotions:

Mental health also handles our emotions. Again there is a cortex in our brain known as anterior cingulate cortex that helps to control our emotions and it also helps us to focus on our daily life activities. Emotions play a very important role in mental processes like every person shows hundreds of emotions in his daily routine which are happiness, angry, irritated and sadness.

Every emotion affects differently on mental functioning that how it boosts mental health and also how it creates negative thoughts in a person’s mind.

  • Making and restoring new memories:

If our mental health is good we can make great memories of life. Because if we don’t have good mental health we cannot enjoy every moment of life. So if we cannot enjoy every moment of life we cannot make memories and restores our old memories. So there is an area in our brain known as the hippocampus which helps us to make memories and restore old memories.

Remembering old memories which are also good can make our mental health better and it also enhances our memory function. The more mentally satisfied a person is, there are more chances of effective functioning.

  • Mental health and physical health:

Both mental health and physical health have deeps relationship. We see the distinction between them. Mental health problems start when you are suffering from pour physical health and when your mental health is not good or you have poor mental health than your physical health can not be good. If you want to enjoy a healthy life so make yourself both mentally and physically fit. There are common factors that are not only good for mental health but also good for physical health.

Factors:

Exercise:

By doing exercise daily it releases good chemicals knew as endorphins in the brain which are good for mental health. Your mood can be even better by doing physical activities daily. By doing exercise daily it will not only keep your body in shape but also helps to maintain good mental health. By doing exercise on a daily basis, helps you to cope up with your anxiety and stress. Exercise helps you to get better sleep and boost your mood which effects good on your mental health.

Diet:

A healthy diet is good for both mental health and physical health. A healthy diet includes vitamins, minerals, proteins, and essential fats. The meal and food which includes all these prevent us from numerous mental health conditions.

Diet is very much essential for better mental health, as we can see poorer communities cannot get proper nutrition based diets so they are suffering from poor mental health than those who are getting proper diet like fruits, vegetables, nuts, etc.

 

Now let’s talk about mental illness also known as a brain disorder and treatment for that mental illness.

  • How mental illness takes place and affects mental health:

Brain cells are also known as neurons. Neurons are the working units of the brain. Now what neurons exactly do? There are electrical impulses inside our brains. Neuronpasses the message through each electrical impulse. The alone part of the neuron is known as the axon.

At the end of the axon message transfers from one neuron to another. The impulse causes the neuron to release chemical messengers known as neurotransmitters. There is a synaptic gap in which these chemical messages move.

This forces the neuron to produce its own impulse. And this is how impulse spreads across the brain. And when there comes a problem in this process or function this might result in brain disorder. Brain disorders have huge negative effects on mental health.

There are some factors that can affect mental health. Let’s have a look;

Factors:

  • Genetic problem:

Mental illness can be passed from parent to child through genes. Parents do have stressful events or had a head or a brain injury due to which mental illness passed from parent to child.

  • Health problems:

Some people do have health problems such as heart disease which may not allow the brain to work properly and caused bad mental health.

Hormonal imbalance:

It has seen that most women suffer from hormone disturbance than as compared to men. Women have their period cycle each month and when the cycle breaks it causes things like mood swings, anger, sleep disorder, severe pain in back, fatigue, food craving and reduces the ability to think. This all has an impact on mental health. So we can say that mental health can be affected by hormonal balance.

  • Drugs addiction and alcohol addiction:

54 percent of drug abusers and 38 percent of alcohol abusers do have one mental illness. When people face anxiety and depression they tend to move towards the things which give them relief. And most of them find relief in drinking alcohol or by injecting drugs into their nerves.

After drinking, alcohol one can feel that he/she does not feel any kind of anxiety and feel no more stressed or depressed but what exactly happened is that by consuming alcohol which is sedative in nature that affects the central nervous system which is also a sign of being caught in bad mental health. But this relief is for the time being.

When a drug is injected into nerve it blocks the blood running into it and stops the nerves to work properly. When blood does not reach properly through each nerve slowly and gradually a person lost his/her senses and make a person senseless. Both drugs and alcohol consumption has negative effects on mental health.

  • Imbalance of chemical messengers in the brain:

Imbalance of chemical messengers makes it difficult to pass messages between each neuron. Glutamate is a chemical messenger that increases the chances to form an impulse in another neuron and this leads to a serious brain disorder like depression and anxiety and causes mental health problems.

  • Most of the times people experience loneliness and/or isolation in their lives. It can have a negative impact on mental health if it lasts for a long time.
  • Bullying is something that can happen to anyone, anywhere. It can be in institutions either educational or workplace, in-home, in online social websites or via messages. It can affect many parts of the lives including mental health. People feel hopeless, powerless, and alone and maybe fearful. Mental health issues can be increased if the person becomes isolated or do not talk about what is happening.
  • Anger, frustration, shock sadness, not socializing as much you used to be, anxious, loss of direction, the difficulty of periods of sleep, feeling of guilt or embarrassment are some other major factors affecting mental health.

 

  • Mental disorders that affect mental health:

Mental disorders are increasing day by day in developing countries like in the United States. Estimated48.7 million adults in the United States have mental health problems. Let’s discuss them one by one.

  • An anxiety disorder that causes mental health problems:

In our daily life routine, we face a lot of problems. You may feel anxious sometimes. Sometimes you may feel nervous about how to handle or solve that problem. What kind of problem you people face? You face problems while doing your work at the office or before doing any task or maybe making the important decisions in your life.

When you feel anxious you can’t go up with your normal life. Anxiety disorder is not always of the same type. They are different. Anxiety disorders involve the feeling of fear that gradually reaches a peak within seconds or minutes. Anxiety disorders found both in children and adults. It can worsen day by day if not treated on time.

 

 

Types of anxiety disorders:

There are different types of anxiety disorders as follow:

  • Panic disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Phobias
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

Panic Disorders

What is a panic disorder or panic attack and how it affects mental health:

Women are more likely to have panic attacks than men. You can have a panic attack suddenly in any situation. When you are not in danger but still you feel fear regarding certain situations in life you got panic attacks. When you have the same type of routine but suddenly the situation came in your life which does not match with daily life routine you don’t know how to manage that situation and you started sweating which is the symptoms of a panic attack.

Let’s have an example when you drive daily and suddenly your car stuck in traffic for a long time you can get a panic attack. You start shaking, feel pain in the chest, sometimes you feel dizzy or faint. And this increases the risk of having mental health problems.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

What is Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and how it affects mental health:

When you experienced a fearful event or when you witnessed a terrifying event it has a huge effect on your mental health condition which is also known as a post-traumatic stress disorder. Post-traumatic stress disorder can develop after experiencing a serious road accident or when you saw bloodshed. It can also be developed by hearing the news of the physical or sexual assault of a kid or by witnessing it in front of you.

Especially when you see a victim of sexual assault the post-traumatic stress disorder occurs. It leads to a serious mental health problem and sometimes because of this disorder people feel a threat to death.

Phobia

How phobia can affect mental health:

Phobia can be genetic. When you have a consistent fear related to one object or situation you get caught by the term phobia. There are different kinds of phobia includes; height phobia, water phobia, blood phobia, and many others. When one of us has any kind of phobia this disturbs our mental health and leads to severe mental health problems.

Obsessive-compulsion disorder (OCD):

It is a long-lasting disorder because when you obsessed with only one thing you would like to see or have that thing again and again. For example people more likely to obsessed with one color as if a person is obsessed with green color he/she tries to take all his/her necessities of green color. He/she use to color his/her hair with green color and use to buy bags of green color. Green color becomes part of his/her life. This has a great impact on mental health because this vanishes away from the ability to vanish away the beauty of other colors and when the person doesn’t see his/her favorite color with that he obsessed he/she got panic.

  • A Mood Disorder that causes mental illness

In this, patients have significant changes in mood like Bipolar, Depression, etc. The examples include:

 

 

 

  • Major Depression

It is also called unipolar or major depressive disorder (MDD). It refers to the persistent feelings of sadness or lack of interest in the surroundings. In depression, the patient tries to avoid gatherings and other enjoyable activities that they previously liked. This can also lead them to prolonged or extreme sadness.

If left untreated, it can cause serious issues for both genders and can have fatal results. According to statistics 20-26 % of women and 8-12 % of men are suffering from major depression. Point to be noted that women are disproportionally affected by this in comparison to men… It is due to genetic predisposition, fluctuating hormones, also around the times of childbirth or menopause.

Even 25% of cancer patients and one-third of HIV patients and also 1/3rd survivors of heart attack suffer from major depression. Overeating, under-eating, changing in appetite, disturbing sleep schedule, agitation, restlessness,  inability to focus, weight loss or gain, suicidal thoughts, irritability, etc are the basic symptoms of mental health and adjusting these patterns won’t treat your depression but can be a great step to the treatment. Its treatment include antidepressant medicines, psychotherapy, electroconvulsive treatment (ECT), and other somatic therapies

 

  • Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder is hard to diagnose. It refers to the mixed signs of mania and depression. The patient tries to avoid talking in public. This is also called manic-depression. The patient might switches from Mania to depression. It causes unusual shifts in mood or mood swings, changes in sleep patterns and on the extreme level patient might think of death or suicide. The moods range from “up” energized behavior to “down” to very sad all of sudden. Hypomanic episodes are less severe manic periods.

Its symptoms are lasting for at least 2 years. People can live a proper and healthy life with the help of proper diagnosis and treatment. There is no single cause but there are possible causes of bipolar disorder that refer to the many causes contributing to increase risk. These include genetics, family history, etc. A Patient may need several different medications that can help control symptoms of bipolar disorder.

  • Persistent Depressive Disorder

Long term depression leads to the dysthymia, also known as Persistent Depressive disorder. It is a major depression but to a lesser extent. The patient may lose interest in daily life activities, have low self-esteem, lack of productivity and feel hopeless. All these feelings can last for years in one’s life and can have a major effect on relationships and on other social activities. There are some biological differences that can cause persistent depressive disorder like physical changes in the brain.

The misbalancing in brain chemicals that play a role in depression. The people with blood relations who have the same condition are more likely to inherit the trait.  High levels of stress, loss of loved ones or some major traumatic events can cause persistent depressive disorder in some people. Get treatment at the earliest stage can be helpful for getting rid of this.

  • SAD(seasonal affective disorder)

It is related to changes in seasons. Its symptoms generally start in the fall and continue till the winter begins, and also in the spring or early summers. In this, the patient feels depressed most in the day, problems with sleeping, agitation, low energy and other symptoms related to depression.

In fall and winter, SAD patients might suffer from oversleeping, would crave for food rich in high carbohydrates and tiredness. The symptoms of spring and summer SAD include trouble in sleeping, anxiety or agitation and poor appetite. A family history of having major depression or bipolar can cause seasonal affective disorder.

Psychological evaluation, physical exam or lab test can be helpful in diagnosing the symptoms but it can be difficult for the doctor because other mental disorders can have similar symptoms. Light therapy can be given to the patient along with the medications and psychotherapies. Relaxation techniques like yoga can also be helpful in such conditions.

  • Disturbances can also be related to eating and feeding and can also have an impact on your nutrition and health.
  • Insomnia and too much sleep are also a severe disorder that requires clinical attention
  • Unhealthy behavior and emotional instability can cause personality disorders and have severe effects on relationships or daily life.

Now let’s talk about some chemical messengers of the brain

  • Chemical messengers in the brain and mental health:
  • Serotonin:

The function of serotonin chemical messenger is that it helps to control our daily life mood, our hunger, and our sleeping routines and patterns. What happened when our brain doesn’t have enough serotonin chemical messengers? The problem like depression starts when our brain doesn’t get enough serotonin chemical messengers.

When people are the depressed first thing they lost in their sleep. They don’t feel like eating. And when a person is deprived of sleep and hunger this leaves a great impact on mental health. And form mental problems.

  • Dopamine:

All of the movements that we made are controlled by dopamine like the feeling of pleasures and addictions. When dopamine level decreases it unable brain to work properly and this also creates a disorder of schizophrenia. When the brain stops doing its job it made mental health problems.

  • Society and mental health

Today every two persons from six in the world are suffering from mental illness. In this society is playing a vital role, as every other person has some personal conflicts as well as moving within a society. Society is somehow a mixture of cultures having their own settled priorities and May some people are not comfortable with them and become isolated or sometimes try to avoid the outer world that can finally lead them to some mental illness.

Other people within a society must be helpful with that particular person especially family must be supportive and try to avoid all the things that cause an unsupportive situation for the patient. Bullying and teasing people over their personal appearance is something that can lead them to serious depression so we should try to avoid all these things because this can cause serious illness.

 

  • Risk factors of Mental Illness

Mental illness is going to be one of the leading causes of disability in the United States and many of the developed countries. One in five Americans suffers from mental health problems each year that are 18.5 of the total population in the US. In 2015, an estimated 9.8 million adults had a serious mental illness in the United States that is equal to 4.8% of them all
Americans.

  • What causes mental illness in Children or Teens?

According to a survey, there are nearly 5 million children in the US suffering from serious mental illness.  In children, it can have a lifelong impact on the child as well on his/her family. It is due to poor performance in school, the negative behavior of teachers or parents, lack of attention from family, aggressive behavior if facing for a long time, persistent boredom, any kind of inferiority or complex or not getting enough appreciation from their parents.

It can cause changes in their behavior they start acting weird or become introvert, become clingy. Especially if in some cases a child may get through any kind of abuse either physical or mental so they are at high risk of mental illness.

In teens, the stress of body changes is highly associated with mental illness. The changing in relationships with parents and others, poor academic performance, being socially isolated, exposure to violence and parental conflicts can also cause some major issues

It is necessary to handle mental illness in children or teens at an early stage through several effective medications or therapies. At this stage, parents should be more concerned about their children and can do better therapy according to their mental health.

  • How students and Youth are affecting by mental illness?

Nowadays Youth and especially students are suffering a lot because of the difficulties of their studies and other pressure on them. These causes lead them to major mental illnesses like stress, depression, anxiety or sleep disorder. A student suffering from mental health problems have long-lasting consequences throughout his/her life. Students with bad mental health can affect his/her future employment, academic achievement, physical health and earning potential.

Depression is most common among students who go to school, college or even in universities. When the student doesn’t know how to handle day to day work takes or how to manage their home tasks this leads to cause the depression.

Depression is a severe illness that leaves you with helpless feelings. When students do not go to school or bunk classes and do not know what they have studied throughout the year and how to pass the exam this excessive thinking can cause depression and make mental health problems. They start smoking cigarettes to get out of this trouble or they make themselves addicted to drugs which give them relief from this trouble. But these things only help them to relief from this situation for the time being and left a long-lasting impact on mental health.

 

  • Mental illness and violence in society

Sometimes mental illness also causes violence within a particular society but we should first examine that either it is just a coincidental phenomenon or are violence and mental illness really connected? We can see the increased risk of violence among people with unstable mental health. In this, family history and genes can produce aggressive behavior.

Violence in society can cause some major personality disorders among the children and this combination may increase the violent behavior within them when reaching a certain age. The violent and aggressive behavior of a person can have serious effects on the family and also on his/her relationships. Most of the people become criminals.

This is also one of the leading causes of higher rates of crimes in society. The patient tries to tease everyone with their behavior because he/she is going through some trauma. They want everyone to suffer along with them and try to find happiness in this. Sometimes at a certain level, he might take someone’s life just for his/her own self peace.

The violence may also cause the factor of jealousy and can lead to some major discomfort. It can be treated by the efforts of family members or other peoples with the patient. Try to avoid the things which can cause violence and try to fulfill their desires so that they can relax and live a normal life.

  • Public attitude towards Mentally ill people

First, people did not believe that mental illness is something to take care of. They thought this is as same as any physical time but with the passage of time people convinced that somehow it is different and should be treated differently.

The public agreed with the statement: “Virtually anyone can become mentally ill”. That means it does not matter that witch cast or color you belong you are rich or poor. It can happen to anyone and should be treated differently from person to person because the causes and symptoms vary from person to person and every one has its own requirement. It may need patience but with the time you may get positive results.

To change people’s mindset media also playing a vital role. There are some programs regarding the issue from which people can get proper information. Media have the power to rebuild or shape the public’s opinion so by working properly it can create a friendly atmosphere between public and mentally ill people.

  • Mental health and suicide rate

When the mental illness reaches a certain level then the person out of anger tries to harm his/her self or attempt suicide. It is the 10th leading cause of death in the US. Somehow, the people age of 14-15 is the second leading cause of death. This is an extreme level of depression or mental illness.

No matter if the person is rich or poor, what race or age, but it is a fact that most of the people die by suicide is due to an emotional disorder or poor mental health. 30 to 70% of the suicide victims suffer from depression that is the most common. If you think someone is considering suicide in your surroundings do not leave that person alone, don’t be judgmental or try to seek professional help as soon as possible.

 

 

 

Treatment of mental health problems:

Treatment of every disorder is possible. There is definitely a cure for every disease in the world. Treatment that is common for mental health problems through which you can recover your mental health is psychotherapy also known as talk therapy. Treatment for mental health problems can also be possible through medication.

Medication affects the brain cells knows as neurons. When you take medicines to cure bad mental health it increases the chances of the brain to transfer messages in proper ways. Through medication, we overcome the symptoms of mental health problems. It is also possible to treat schizophrenia through medication. Schizophrenia also affects mental health. Antipsychotics medicines are given to patients who are suffering from schizophrenia.

Manic depressive illness is known as bipolar disorder can also be curable. Bipolar disorder causes your mood shifts, your energy level and your day to day tasks. If you are suffering from bipolar disorder and you go to the doctor then he probably gives you mood stabilizers to overcome this disorder. Antipsychotics can also be given for the treatment of a bipolar disorder.

These are some other measurements you can take to treat mental illness:

 

  • Try to look after your mental health on a daily basis
  • Try to manage the stress and try not to worry related to anything and try to comfort yourself.
  • Make friends and become socialized to get rid of negative thoughts causing instability
  • Try to avoid alcohol and drug use because they can make it difficult to treat mental illness. Try to quit if you are an addict and if you cannot do it on your own consult a doctor or specialist.
  • Stay active as much as you can talk to different people to make new and healthy relationships. Also involve yourself in kind of some physical activity like gardening, swimming or any kind of physical activity that gives you comfort.
  • Adopt a positive attitude towards everything. Focus on positive things will improve your health and make you stay calm.
  • Things may change with time but try to accept that changes and also change your perspective with this as every change needs a new perspective through life.
  • Determine your priorities. Make a list of your daily tasks that would be more helpful and more determine in your life. Try to manage your time and energy and set reasonable goals.
  • Stay organized and use your time wisely.
  • Give at least one hour of your day to yourself. Talk to yourself about the things that are bothering you and let things go with the flow.
  • Don’t make an unnecessary drama out of everything. Try to make a comfortable environment for the people in your surroundings so that everyone with you feels better and at the end of the day you feel comfortable.
  • If you are facing any kind of stress and anxiety then you can portray your emotions and feelings in painting and in artwork, it helps you to get rid of the negative thoughts and helps you to stable your mental health day by day.

 

When people have good mental health it means that you are secure from the things that affect mental health. When you do something wrong you have guilt inside you what you should do is try to share things with your loved ones so that you do not have to suffer the depression thing. Share all your feelings with your family and friends whom you feel comfortable with.

Try to handle your day to day tasks and do not panic yourself by seeing too much task to do.

Do physical activities on a daily basis. If you feel stress or depressed try to make yourself busy in other things like if you like reading then you can read your favorite book or you can even play with your fitness or if you like baking do try new recipes. Mental illness is not something to shame. It is a disease that should be treated if left untreated can cause some major discomfort throughout life.