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Staying Healthy

AUDREY HAGUE Jon Jee Staff Published: January 20, 2017 9:00 AM

When the word health is presented to someone, they usually think of physical health before anything else. Our dietary preferences and how much we work out. But, this is not the only form of health there is. Another, more important type of health is out mental health.

The definition of mental health is a person’s condition with regard to their psychological and emotional well-being. Basically, it is how we feel on the inside. If we’re moody all the time or if we get sad for no apparent reasons. As of today, there are more than 200 classified forms of mental illness. The most common being depression, bipolar disorder, dementia, schizophrenia and anxiety disorders. Mental problems happen to one in every four people - affecting around 450 million people worldwide. That’s a lot!

Many things can cause a mental illness, though no exact thing is a known to cause it. Through research, we have discovered a combination of factors that are apparent in most cases. The elixir consists of genetic, biological, psychological, and environmental factors. It is not, however, in any way caused by a character defect or personal weakness. One person with severe anxiety commented, “I blow everything out of proportion. Even little things will become astronomical in my mind.”

Anxiety is the most common type of mental illness in the United States. Approximately 10 percent of teenagers and 40 percent of adults suffer from an anxiety disorder of some kind. Despite it being common, not many people get help. Two-thirds of adults do not get help of any kind and only 1 in 5 teens receive treatment. Some symptoms include, feelings of panic, fear, uneasiness, problems sleeping, cold or sweaty hands or feet, heart palpitations, not being able to be still or calm, dry mouth, numbness in the hands or feet, nausea, muscle tension, dizziness. Statistically, anxiety disorders are more common in women than men.

Depression is another common type of mental disorder. There are many different triggers that can cause depression. With depression, genes provide some, but not all of the answers. Depression symptoms include headache, stomach problems, shortness of breath, and general physical tension can all be symptoms of depression. Depression might not be obvious and most people often hide their depression because they are ashamed or are embarrassed of what others may think. There are many treatments for depression, including old wives tales such as journaling and exercise. The most common treatments, however, are different forms of medication and therapy. A source who beat depression says, “The way I described my feelings were with color. When I was depressed, everything was black and white - nothing seemed interesting to me. Now, my life is an array of colors. Neon, glitter, you name it.”

Another type of mental illness if bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is a mental disorder marked by alternating periods of elation and depression. Basically, a person suffering from this specific disorder will have severe mood swings. They may experience times where everything is fine, then episodes where they are depressed. Bipolar disorder is not curable, and has to be controlled by medication made to stabilize someone’s mood. Despite the fact that this particular disorder is lifelong, it is manageable. Left untreated, bipolar disorder may lead to suicidal thoughts and high risk behaviors.

The list of mental disorders goes on and on. But, most are treatable and the person suffering can be helped, we just need to better communicate. And remember, it’s a disorder - not a decision.

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