Mental Health refers to a variety of conditions that disrupt a person’s ability to think, feel, cope, relate to others and function adequately in daily life. Anxiety and depression – and their subdivisions – are the most common mental illnesses in the world today but the term covers a wide range of disorders including bipolar, panic attacks, schizophrenia and personality disorders.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 1 in 10 US adults suffers from Major/Clinical Depression, an illness that is most commonly experienced among women between the ages of 45-60. Typical signs of depression include loss of interest in daily activities, changes in weight and appetite, insomnia or excessive sleeping, anger and irritability.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 18 per cent of US adults suffer from Anxiety Disorder. This can include a range of sub-illnesses, the most common being Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
GAD is a long-term condition during which the sufferer experiences anxiety about a diverse range of situations and issues, often feeling restless and worried and barely able to relax.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Symptoms of OCD vary in severity but sufferers usually fall into a set pattern of behavior. They will first experience constant obsessive fears and concerns which trigger intense anxiety. Sufferers will then take on a pattern of compulsive behavior to deal with the anxiety, which causes relief – although temporary – from their condition.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
The Institute also reports that 2.6 per cent of adults in the USA suffer from bipolar disorder (previously manic depression disorder).
Bipolar is characterized by extreme mood swings, from the ‘mania’ of extreme highs to the ‘depression’ of extreme lows. Episodes of either can last for weeks or even months, with some people suffering more from one or the other. Bipolar sufferers may experience periods of normality in between episodes, however patterns are not always the same. Some sufferers experience ‘mixed state’ bipolar by which they experience depression and mania symptoms together, while others experience ‘rapid cycling’ where their mood repeatedly swings from high to low without a ‘normal’ phase in between.
Typical symptoms of ‘mania’ include talking very fast, engaging in reckless behavior such as spending huge amounts of money, making risky, potentially harmful decisions and being easily irritated or distracted. Periods of depression are usually marked by difficulty sleeping, feelings of emptiness and extreme pessimism and suffering from hallucinations.
Mental Health affects people from all walks of life. Symptoms can develop at any age, but are often diagnosed in young adulthood and middle age. Every depression disorder is unique and complicated caused by a number of underlying factors, and treatment is tailored to each individual and their response.
Although there is no specific cure, many effective treatments have been developed, such as talking therapies (e.g. psychotherapy, Cognitive Behavior Therapy) and/or medication. Alternative techniques seek to treat symptoms and underlying causes, such as a chemical imbalance..
If you are experiencing mental distress or struggling to cope with everyday life, contact the National Alliance of Mental Illness on 1 (800) 950-NAMI (6264).
If you are feeling suicidal, call the 24-hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and speak to a trained counselor on (800) 273-TALK (8255) now!
Among a number of organizations, Ribbons for Research has selected the following organization in support of this condition:
The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation
The Brain & Behavior Research Foundation
Researchers at the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation are dedicated to understanding and relieving the suffering caused by mental health such as depression, schizophrenia, anxiety, autism, bipolar disorder, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, post-traumatic stress syndrome and obsessive-compulsive disorders. The Foundation award grants to renowned scientists known for their groundbreaking discoveries that will lead to improving the lives of those suffering with mental health.
100 per cent of BBRF’s donations are invested in research as the funds administrative costs are underwritten by outside grants! It has a four star rating in Charity Navigator and an 86.7 per cent Program Expense Ratio.