Current situation of mental issues in US and how should we handle them
Dishuang Cheng | June 30, 2017
What is your first thought when you look at the above picture? Most people will say this girl is really upset, covering her face so people won't tell she's crying. Then, some people may say they saw themselves in this picture, and understand the girl's feeling. Everyone can get upset, and most people tend to ignoring this feeling until it affects their life seriously.
Most people are familiar with the word "mental issue", it refers "distress and problems functioning in social, work or family activities". But only a small portion of them fully understand what "mental issue" really is and what influences it could bring to people. According to The National Institute of Mental Health, it estimated that in U.S, 16 million adults had at least one major depressive episode in 2012. That's the 6.9 percentage of the population. Moreover, rates of youth depression in U.S has increased from 8.5% (2011) to 11.1% (2016), and 80% of them are left with no or insufficient treatment. These statistics indicate that the current situation of mental issues in U.S is not optimistic, people should pay more attention to it.
Unlike physical illnesses, mental health problems can be difficult to clearly diagnosed. Although mental illness cover a broad range of disorders, the common characteristic is that they all have bad influence on the affected person's personality, thought processes or social interactions. There are several types of mental disorders, such as anxiety disorders, mood disorders, psychotic disorders, and eating disorders. The most common types which often appear on adults are anxiety disorders and mood disorders. Anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and specific phobias. A person is very likely to be diagnosed anxiety disorders if his/her "response is not appropriate for the situation, if the person cannot control the response, or if the anxiety interferes with normal functioning", like he/she respond to a certain object or situations with fear, as well as physical signs like rapid heartbeat and sweating. People who have these symptoms can be primary diagnosed anxiety disorder. Another common mental disorder is mood disorder, it includes depression, bipolar disorder, and cyclothymic disorder, these disorders involve "persistent feelings of sadness or periods of feeling overly happy, or fluctuations from extreme happiness to extreme sadness". Most mental issues in our daily life are very likely to be caused by bad mood, some people may find it's hard to get rid of it and lead to serious mood disorder eventually.
After introduce the types of mental disorders, many people may have the question that what are the causations of these mental disorders and how to avoid them? After many psychological experts conducted several experiments, they found the possible causations can be divided into 6 different types. First, mental disorders can be caused by genetics, in other words, it is because of heredity: people who have a family member with a mental illness may be somewhat more likely to develop one themselves. The second one is infections, such like brain damage which is similar as the third one brain defects or injury, which are very likely to cause mental disorders. Also, some evidence suggests that "a disruption of early fetal brain development or trauma that occurs at the time of birth, such as loss of oxygen to the brain" can also be a potential cause of mental disorders. Another causation can be substance abuse, this causation comes from outside influence, and can lead to anxiety, depression, and paranoia. The last one can be poor nutrition and exposure to toxins, although this can be rare, it also plays a role in the development of mental illnesses.
There are many harms of mental illness, such as negative emotions, potential drug abuse and eating disorders. Negative emotions are very common when people suffer from mental illness, they may feel that there's nothing in this world to cheer them up and don't want to do anything, even for some basic physiological need like eating and sleeping. This can cause both mental and physical harm for affected people. Another common harm is eating disorders, it can be led by negative emotions, and a reflection of a worsen situation. Eating disorders are "real, complex medical and psychiatric illnesses that can have serious consequences for health, productivity and relationships." Eating disorders' common co-occurring conditions include anxiety disorders, depression and other mood disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder and substance use disorders, could potentially have life-threatening consequences to patients. For sociocultural, patients always pay too much attention on how people will judge their bodies, when they heard a lot of negative judgements and these judgements accumulated to a certain level, patients may immerse themselves into a gloomy atmosphere, and finally lead to some serious mental issues and they refuse to eat, causing physical harms as well. Eating disorders can impact relationships with family members, friends and coworkers, as well as functioning in academic settings and the workplace. The health consequences of eating disorders-- including heart disease, osteoporosis, can have long-lasting negative effects.
So, is there any solutions for mental issues? Yes, there is. The first step is to take a self-test if you ever feel yourself in a low mood for a long time, and it has already affected your regular life. Also, people should pay attention to their mental health when they have some signs like erratic thinking, Chronic anxiety, Exaggerated sense of self-worth, and Impulsive actions. There's nothing to be ashamed for affected people to seek for help, everyone could potentially have mental disorders, but the most important is to face up the issues, and get treatment in time. People who has mental issues should talk to psychologists regularly and express their thoughts; If it's possible, join a support program, these supports may include information, accommodation, training and education, psychosocial rehabilitation and outdoor activities. Overall, mental health is important for people's development, but people should never be fear if they have mental issues, instead, they should face up these challenges, because mental issues can eventually be cured.