Wednesday, April 25, 2012

5 Common Mental Health Issues Americans Face

cc licensed flickr photo shared by Robert Couse-Baker
In any given year, 25% of adults will be diagnosed with a mental health condition. What follows are the most common mental health problems Americans face.
About 2.2% of phobia sufferers are diagnosed with agoraphobia, the fear of open spaces. This fear causes panic when a person feels crowded or thinks they will be unable to find a place to escape should they be trapped. Another 4.4% are diagnosed with a specific phobia, such as fear of heights. These fears produce sweating, rapid heart rate and panic when confronted by the fear. Finally, 3.7% of people are found to have social anxiety. This condition surfaces when the person has to interact socially with others. Saying the wrong thing on a regular basis, being unsure of how to approach someone in conversation and feeling like a misfit can also be signs of a social phobia.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Once thought to only affect children, ADHD is presenting more often in adults. In children, symptoms are often easy to spot. Restlessness, inability to concentrate and focus on assignments, constant fidgeting, acting out, talking out of turn, losing things and not doing homework are commonly exhibited in children with ADHD. In adults, it isn't always that obvious. Adults will often be unable to hold a job for any significant length of time, and they may appear unorganized, have trouble sleeping and change their minds quite a lot. Treatment for adults will often be the same as for children. Medications help tremendously. Proper attention helps to balance out ADHD.
Eating Disorders
It should come as no surprise that there is tremendous pressure to be thin. Anorexia, bulimia and binge eating can result in catastrophic damage to the human body. Some of these disorders come about due to the desire to maintain some control in this area of their life when other areas are chaotic. Every form of eating disorder can cause severe complications, up to and including death. The binge/purge cycle can be broken, but professional help is recommended.
Personality Disorders
There are three primary types of personality disorders. Antisocial personality disorder is characterized by lack of regard for social convention, no concern for the feelings of others and those who have it have been known to commit criminal acts with little to no remorse for the harm they cause. Avoidant personality disorder is much the way it sounds. The person will avoid developing close personal relationships. They live in constant fear of criticism and anxiety controls them. The third primary type is borderline personality disorder. There are very prominent features when dealing with someone with borderline personality disorder. Commonly, these sufferers live in constant fear of rejection and are therefore unable to maintain any meaningful bonds with others. Due to the unstable nature of this disorder, suicidal thoughts and attempts are seen in many cases. Those diagnosed with borderline personality disorder can cause many problems for themselves due to impulsive choices.
Depressive Disorders
Major depression is characterized by deep feelings of sadness, worthlessness, lack of energy, frequently unprovoked crying, change in appetite, weight gain or loss and fatigue. Major depression can retreat and return over the course of a lifetime. Psychology, biology, genetics and experiences in life may all interact in a way that causes the disorder in the first place. With treatment, major depression can be controlled and life can be enjoyed once more. Dysthymia is another form of depression in which the symptoms are less severe than in major depression, but they can last longer. These disorders can be found among all ages, races and social classes. Single people who report no significant other in their lives have odds that run just a bit higher than those who report they are happily attached. The good news is that depressive disorders, along with others, can be treated effectively with medication and counseling. There is nothing fun about being diagnosed with or having to live with a mental health condition. However, this field of medicine has grown and expanded by leaps and bounds over the past several decades. Help is out there for anyone who needs it.