Articles & Advice About Mental Health
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The advice section of BetterHelp is here to provide you with accurate essential information about mental health. Articles are written by passionate mental health advocates and are reviewed by licensed therapists for accuracy.
What Is Mental Health?
Mental health is an integral part of our overall wellness. According to WHO (World Health Organization), mental health is defined as “a state of well-being in which an individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”
When you have stable mental health, you tend to feel positive about life. You’re equipped to manage the day-to-day life challenges you encounter and are aware of your limits and needs. When you get thrown off track, you know how to pick yourself up and move forward. Alternatively, those who have poor mental health may live with a mental disorder and have difficulty functioning from day to day in areas like school, work, or home. Keep reading to learn more about the importance of mental health and how BetterHelp can be a useful resource for individuals seeking support.
How Common Are Mental Health Conditions?
According to NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), one in five adults in the United States lives with a mental illness. Millions of people have mental health issues, but still manage to live productive lives. Whether you have anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, PTSD, substance use disorder, a personality disorder, or any other mental health concern, you can get treatment and regain your sense of balance. The key can be knowing what signs to look for and seeking early intervention.
Mental Illness And Its Effect On Emotional Health
According to The National Institute of Mental Health in the United States, in 2015, it was estimated that 9.8 million adults over the age of 18 had a severe mental disorder. That breaks down to 4.8% of American adults. Mental illness doesn’t discriminate. A person of any age, race, gender, or religion can have a mental illness during their lifetime. Many disorders are hereditary, and it can be crucial to visit a mental health professional if you’re having symptoms of a condition that runs in your family.
According to research, half of all mental health conditions start by age 14, and 75% of them develop by the time a person is 24. It can be difficult to tell if an individual has a mental health condition during adolescence because this is a time with lots of changes, including mood shifts. Those who develop a mental health condition during their teen years increase their chances of recovery when they get treatment during this time.
Breaking The Stigma Behind Mental Illness
Although “mental illness” might sound like a negative term, it’s a real condition that many people manage. In the advice section, we want to provide you with accurate information about what mental illnesses are and the various mental health conditions people manage. Here, you can learn about the different behavioral or emotional issues you might need support with. Many of the categories you see in the advice section will give you expert insight into the different conditions that can affect mental health. If you’re coping with any of these concerns, support is available. Talking about mental health can be an important step toward getting help and recovering.
Signs Of An Emerging Mental Illness
Everyone’s experience with mental illness can look different. However, there are some common signs that might indicate that an individual is coping with a mental health condition, including:
- Isolating from people, including loved ones
- Not participating in activities they used to enjoy
- Sleeping too much or not enough
- Overeating or undereating
- Feeling hopeless
- Thoughts of suicide
- Substance misuse
- Trouble engaging in day-to-day activities such as going to school or work
- Difficulty keeping up with hygiene
- Hearing voices
If you or a loved one are experiencing suicidal thoughts, reach out for help immediately. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255, and is available 24/7.
If any of the symptoms listed above are disrupting your ability to function, it can be important to consult a mental health professional. Further, if someone you love is experiencing these symptoms, you can make a difference by encouraging them to reach out for help. Mental illness is often treatable with therapy and (if necessary) medication. Be sure to consult a doctor before deciding to start a new medication or stop an existing one.
Mental Health Treatment Options
There are various treatment options available for managing and overcoming mental health issues. Remember, however, that everyone’s mental health journey looks different. What works for you might not work for someone else. Some of the most common treatments for mental health concerns include the following:
- Therapy: People who live with chronic mental health issues may benefit from therapy. There are many types of therapy to choose from, and it can be important to stay informed about what works most effectively for your particular mental health concern. If you’re not sure what type of therapy might be right for you, consider speaking with a therapist in your local area or seeing a provider online.
- Medication: Some individuals who have a mental illness take psychiatric medication to manage their symptoms. If you live with a chronic condition such as bipolar disorder, psychotropic medication could drastically improve your quality of life. Consider consulting with a psychiatrist if you’re interested in learning about the benefits of medicine for your mental health. You can read more about psychiatry in the advice section or consult the medication section to learn more about how medication can support mental well-being.
- Self-Care: Self-care can be a crucial element in maintaining stable mental health. It can be important to eat regularly, get quality rest each night, and learn to set boundaries with other people. You’re allowed to take time for yourself and say no when you can’t commit to something. Having a stable support system of friends and family who love you and care about your well-being can also help you stay mentally healthy.
Common Mental Health Challenges
Some people who have mental illness take psychiatric medication. If you live with a chronic condition such as bipolar disorder, psychotropic medication could drastically improve your quality of life. Consider consulting with a psychiatrist if you’re interested in learning about the benefits of medicine for your mental health. You can read more about psychiatry in the advice section. In the medication section of advice, you’ll learn about how medication can support you in your mental health if you need it. Some mental illnesses can do well when the individual takes medication and goes to therapy. Psychiatric medication can help people maintain stable mental health.
Self-care is a crucial element in maintaining excellent mental health. It’s important to eat regularly, get good sleep each night, and learn to set boundaries with people. You’re allowed to take time for yourself and say no when you can’t commit to a project. It’s essential to have a stable support system of friends and family who love you and care about your wellbeing.
Common Mental Health Challenges
Below are some of the most common mental health challenges that people face. If you resonate with any of these, know that you are not alone, and that support is available.
Anxiety disorders are a common form of mental illness. Some include generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Millions of people live with anxiety disorders and receive treatment for them in therapy. Sometimes people with anxiety disorders can benefit from using psychiatric medication. You can read more about anxiety disorders in the anxiety section of advice. Here, you can learn things like how to regulate your nervous system while in a state of fight or flight and find ways to cope with panic attacks. You can also support a loved one who lives with anxiety by reading these articles.
In the panic attacks section, you can read about anxiety and how severe it can get. Panic attacks are sudden and debilitating episodes of fear and panic that seem to come out of nowhere. During a panic attack, the individual experiences a feeling of dread where they’re afraid that something terrible is going to happen. Read about the signs and symptoms of panic attacks and what you can do when you have them.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
PTSD or post-traumatic stress disorder is a condition where an individual has experienced one or more traumatic episodes. They might have flashbacks to these events and may have anxiety, panic attacks, or depression. In the PTSD section, you can read about the symptoms of PTSD and what you can do to get help for this condition. You can also learn how to support someone who has this disorder.
In the depression section, you’ll learn about the common misconceptions surrounding depression, one of the most prominent mental health disorders in the world. If you’re struggling with depression or know someone with the disorder, this section can provide helpful resources and tips for getting treatment.
In the bipolar disorder section, you’ll find resources about bipolar disorder and information about the highs and lows of this condition. People who live with bipolar disorder experience manic episodes or hypomanic episodes followed by depressive ones. If you’re living with bipolar disorder, you can get more information about your illness, and if you love someone with this condition, you can find resources to help you understand what your loved one is experiencing.
Persistent Depressive Disorder
Persistent Depressive Disorder is also known as dysthymia, which refers to mild but chronic depression. Some people call it “high-functioning depression.” Someone with dysthymia has similar symptoms to an individual with depression, but their symptoms tend to be less severe.
SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder)
SAD is a type of major depression that may be caused by a lack of sunlight. A person with SAD may develop depression during the late fall, winter, and early spring months and then feel better again when spring arrives. However, SAD can affect people in any season and resolve in any season.
What Influences Mental Health?
When you’re working on your mental health, it can be important to consider the factors that might affect it. There are outside influences, such as your environment, and inside influences, such as your genetics and temperament. Here are some common factors impacting mental health that you can read more about in the advice section:
Behavior: Behavior can be a strong indicator of our mental health. In the behavior section, you can learn more about productive behaviors and ones that are dysfunctional. You can also find out how you might be able to change your behaviors through techniques like cognitive behavioral therapy. If you’re interested in discovering which mental illnesses include problematic behaviors as a symptom, this section can provide the insight you’re looking for.
Anger: While anger is a normal human emotion, in some cases, it may be a symptom of a mental illness. In the anger section, you can read about different types of anger problems and find tips that may help you manage your anger more effectively. You can learn more about the warning signs of anger issues and how to develop coping strategies. Further, if you have a loved one who is coping with anger issues, you can learn how to support them by browsing the articles in this section.
Abuse: When a person is a survivor of abuse, it can severely impact their mental health. Abuse is a widespread issue that many different people experience, and there isn’t just one type. Different kinds of abuse include emotional, sexual, medical, neglect, child abuse, and more. In the abuse category, you’ll read about various forms of abuse, what they may entail, and how to find support.
Attachment: Healthy attachments can positively impact a person’s mental health. When we don’t form attachments at a young age, it can contribute to mental health issues or mental illness. Attachment starts at a young age. We learn to form bonds with other human beings as babies, and that skill develops over our lives. In the attachment section, you can learn about the different attachment styles and what problems can arise when people develop unhealthy attachment issues.
Bullying: Bullying is a serious offense in which a person or group of people torments another individual or group. While it commonly takes place at school, it can also occur in the workplace, which is known as workplace harassment or mobbing. Bullying can have a severe effect on a person’s mental health, even causing mental health conditions like depression or anxiety in some cases. In the bullying section, you can learn how to spot the signs of bullying in yourself or your child and understand how to seek support.
Love: An important aspect of maintaining positive mental health is feeling loved. In the love section, you can learn more about finding healthy forms of love, whether with family members, friends, or romantic partners. Here, you can read about how love affects us and what we can do to preserve this powerful feeling.
Online Therapy Can Support Your Mental Health Journey
If you’re looking to work on your mental health, you’ve come to the right place. Starting with the advice section, you can learn more about your mental health condition, gain insight into what you’re struggling with, and learn strategies to cope. Maintaining excellent mental health can be challenging, but connecting with a therapist may make your journey more manageable.
BetterHelp is an online therapy platform that allows you to speak with a therapist through videoconferencing, phone calls, or in-app messaging. With the ability to connect with a therapist from anywhere at anytime, you may find that the convenience and accessibility of online therapy make it the right option for you.
The Efficacy Of Online Therapy For Mental Disorders
Research conducted by the APA and other organizations has shown that online cognitive behavioral therapy is just as effective as in-person CBT. CBT is an approach that teaches people how to recognize and reframe their unhelpful thoughts to promote healthier, more productive ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving. Further studies have found that conditions like depression, anxiety disorder, panic disorder, OCD, PTSD, adjustment disorder, bipolar disorder, chronic pain, and phobias can be successfully managed and treated with online CBT. Not only has internet-based therapy been shown to be cost-effective for patients and society, but it also typically offers shorter wait times and access to a more comprehensive network of licensed therapists.
Everyone experiences their own unique mental health journey. Though there may be ups and downs, there are plenty of options for getting help and treatment. Maintaining positive mental well-being can be difficult, but with the right support and tools, it is possible to live a healthy, productive life. If you’re struggling with any aspect of your mental health, you may consider connecting with a licensed therapist through an online therapy platform like BetterHelp. Here, you can explore how your past has led you to where you are now and take steps to a brighter, healthier future.