Mental health disorders refers to a medical condition that leads to disruption in a person’s thinking, feeling, ability to relate to others, and mood that can lead from mild to severe impairment in a person’s daily life. The most common types of mental health disorders include depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and schizoaffective disorder. Behavioral health disorders are very common in the U.S. and worldwide – it’s been estimated that about 26% of adults over the age of 18, or one in every four adults, struggles with a diagnosable mental health disorder each year. About 20% of adults over the age of 55 struggle from a mental disorder and between 75 and 95% of nursing home residents suffer from a mental health disorder. Mental illness can impact anyone at any age, race, religion, and socioeconomic status and are not the result of character flaws or personal weakness. Instead, they are thought to be the result of genetic influences, environmental stressors, and physical changes in the way the body works.
Behavioral health disorders have a wide variety of symptoms and may present differently at different times. Some people feel sadness and worry, while others may have a reduced ability to think and concentrate. Still others may have extreme mood swings from high to low or withdraw from loved ones and once-enjoyed activities. Many people who have mental health disorders have a change in how much they eat and the way in which they sleep. Sometimes, mental health disorders appear as physical problems like abdominal pain, headaches, or back pain. In general, if a person feels as though they’re not effectively able to cope with the challenges of daily life, they may be struggling with an undiagnosed or untreated mental illness.
Behavioral health issues are a leading cause for disability as they can significantly reduce quality of life and cause major emotional, behavioral, and physical health problems. Similar to heart disease, mental disorders and behavioral health conditions are treatable. Treatment for mental health disorders generally involves a combination of medications to control the symptoms, psychotherapy to process issues related to the mental illness, and self-care techniques.