Taking care of mental health is as important as taking care of physical health, because the second depends on the first to be up to date. In this article we will provide you the definition of mental health.
The Latin proverb says: “Mens sana in corpore sano” – that is, “healthy mind, healthy body”.
Despite the fame of this quote that spans the centuries, statistics suggest that people are not taking care of themselves as they should.
The website Our World in Data (OWD) reveals that 10.7% of the world’s population suffers from a mental disorder, that is, one in ten people have behavioral problems.
The good news is that, in order to keep your mental health up to date, most of the time it is not necessary to resort to expensive treatments .
Some tools to do this at no cost we are going to present in this text.
What Is Mental Health?
There is no scientific consensus around a concept of mental health.
In the absence of a specific definition, let’s see the idea of the definition of health in general pointed out by the World Health Organization (WHO):
“Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease”.
Note that according to the world’s leading health authority, mental health is an integral part of the process .
We are not fully healthy if our mind is not in balance.
This leads us to the conclusion that this is an aspect of health that, if neglected, can lead to harmful consequences in the short, medium and long term.
How Important Is Mental Health?
This is the term used to define the illnesses that are born from disorders such as anxiety and depression, to name only the best known.
Research published by the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists reveals that, in the United States, about 6% of the population suffers from some form of psychosomatic illness.
This is data that reinforces the importance of being in balance in the mental part, considering the risks of disease.
Not to mention the social, career and relationship damage caused by disorders that prevent a person from interacting normally and having a productive life. Who can have their mental health affected?
Research by the Royal Australian College also reveals that women suffer the most from psychosomatic illnesses.
This trend is confirmed by the OWD, according to which 11.9% of the female population suffers from mental illness, while in the male population, this percentage is 9.3%.
The younger population , between 15 and 49 years old, is among the most affected by this type of disease.
OWD data point to an increase in the number of cases between 1990 and 2019, while in the population over 50 years, the prevalence has decreased.
What Are Mental Health Problems?
One of the challenges faced by public and private health agencies is overcoming the stigma associated with mental illness.
People who suffer from disorders such as anxiety and depression, and more serious ones such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, fear being socially excluded or being called “crazy”.
But sweeping a serious problem under the rug only makes the situation worse.
It is necessary to overcome prejudice , something that is only possible through education and information.
For this, it is essential to know the most common types of mental health problems, how they manifest themselves and how to treat them.
Anyone can eventually feel anxious because of some kind of expectation.
In other words, anxiety itself is not a disease.
It starts to become a disorder when it lasts or when it appears for no reason.
Anxious people are in a state of constant tension, believing that at any moment something bad can happen.
They suffer from low self-esteem , which generates negative social, affective and work effects .
Anxiety treatment usually involves psychotherapy and social and alternative rehabilitation methods, such as mindfulness practice .
In the most severe cases, controlled anxiolytics may be prescribed .
When it gets worse, anxiety can lead to panic attacks , in which fears (many of them irrational) come on suddenly and very intensely, taking a heavy toll on the body.
Successive attacks characterize Panic Syndrome , a state in which the person starts to worry in an unhealthy way about the future and what is around him.
Panic attacks are usually associated with other behavioral disorders and are more common in people who are anxious or depressed.
They also manifest with a series of physical reactions, such as sweating, tachycardia, dizziness and localized pain.
In addition to psychotherapy, benzodiazepines may be prescribed, in many cases for long periods of time.
Although in many cases it is associated with anxiety, it is a different problem, whose main characteristic is the lack of willingness even for simple tasks.
Thus, depression is a potential agent of disability for work, as it prevents the sufferer from leading a normal life.
It leads to a lack of energy, appetite and libido, with direct consequences on quality of life.
Like anxiety, it can also be treated with psychotherapy or, in the most acute cases, antidepressants can be prescribed.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
While anxiety and depression in many cases have no apparent primary cause, in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) the origin is clearer.
In this type of anxiety disorder, the anxious state arises due to a specific event with a strong emotional impact .
This is the case of people who cannot overcome the loss of family members, who have suffered accidents, war veterans or kidnap victims, among other causes.
Another disorder with specific causes is Burnout Syndrome , or burnout.
In the work context, it usually affects people who are subjected to constant stress situations or who are subject to excessive demands on their performance (pressure sometimes inflicted by themselves).
How To Take Care Of Mental Health?
Behavioral disorders can be caused by factors such as genetics, drug use, or neurocerebral damage.
In these cases, pharmacological treatment is the most indicated to control the symptoms.
However, most patients who suffer from any of these disorders can be treated with low-risk methods , such as psychotherapy and group therapy, among other approaches.
So much so that, in the mildest cases, it is enough just to make changes in lifestyle for the health of the mind to be restored.
Here are some effective ideas to combat and prevent the ills that affect the health of the mind.
Medicine has more than proven the health benefits provided by the practice of sports.
On a physical level, sports activity causes the nervous system to release hormones linked to pleasure, such as endorphins and serotonin .
It’s like a natural “doping”, when the body autonomously produces substances that increase well-being and, as a result, improve the health of our mind.
With regular practice, the person can return to a balanced state and have a productive routine in their activities.
Likewise, doctors and scientists know that without a regular sleep routine, the risk of developing mental health problems increases considerably.
As an article from Harvard University highlights , sleep deprivation directly affects the mental and cognitive part , with emotional damage and professional performance.
It is not surprising, therefore, that anxious people suffer from symptoms such as insomnia or irregular sleep .
In any case, it is necessary to investigate with a doctor the real causes of lack of sleep in order to find the appropriate treatment.
You’ve probably already noticed that good health depends on a sum of factors that need to be in balance.
One of the most important is diet, that is, what we eat and how often we eat.
Mental Health Foundation article highlights the relationship between diet and mental health, highlighting the benefits of eating in a balanced way for our well-being.
Meditation is one of the simplest ways to take care of mental health .
That’s because it promotes benefits in the respiratory part that, when controlled, leads to a more relaxed and mindful state.
Meditating is, above all, a path to self-knowledge and self-control .
People who are in touch with their own feelings, expectations and affections are naturally more secure and, with that, mental disorders cease to exist.
Group therapy is one of the activities that may be recommended in the treatment of anxiety or depression.
It helps the person with mental health problems to re-introduce himself to a community through play activities and real tasks.
In this way, she regains a sense of belonging , feeling useful and productive again.
This is also an approach used to restore relationships in crisis, as in couples therapy.
As we have already highlighted, health problems that affect the mental area can have organic causes .
There are people, for example, who have a chronic tendency to feel unhappy due to genetic factors .
For others, the health of the mind is impaired by hormonal or neurological dysfunctions , among other pathologies.
In these cases, the most appropriate treatment should be prescribed and monitored by psychiatrists, neurologists and psychologists.
Only these specialists are qualified to prescribe controlled use drugs, many of which must be administered on a long-term basis.
What Habits Harm Mental Health?
It is a consensus among therapists and physicians that the management of anxiety and other disorders undergoes a profound internal reform .
For this, the best way to achieve a healthier state of mind is to change your habits .
This change has to do with avoiding everything that is harmful to the health of the mind.
Check below which habits can delay your personal development and, if repeated, lead to psychosocial problems.
Excessive Use Of The Internet
No one disputes that the internet is an achievement of humanity, facilitating communications and working relationships.
It has become the hegemonic media outlet , displacing the decades-long reign of television.
Just as there were already people who spent a lot of time watching TV, with time came the “internet addicts”, mainly via smartphone.
This is a disorder that has already been identified, with a prevalence of 1.5% in the American population and 8.2% among Europeans .
One solution to this is to control the amount of hours online , which can be monitored even with the help of the mobile apps themselves.
Abusive use of drugs, medication and alcohol can be more than an addiction and be characterized as a disease .
In the case of alcoholic beverages, the risks are even greater because it is a socially accepted and tolerated substance.
However, experience shows that alcoholism is a health problem with serious consequences for its sufferers and the people around them.
Not to mention the use of drugs , both licit and illicit, all of them with very high potential to destroy lives and families.
The main challenge for anyone who suffers from depressive disorders, phobias, compulsions or anxiety is controlling their own thoughts .
These people just can’t get rid of self-destructive ideas and the feeling that everything is going to go wrong.
In most cases, it is the change in habits and routine that will lead to a change in thinking.
Therefore, by changing what we do, we are able to change what we think and, with that, we change our way of being.
Relationships guided by egocentrism, intolerance or excessive competition are also potential causes of mental health problems, such as Burnout Syndrome.
Couples therapy is an alternative in this sense, as it aims to cast a magnifying glass over the relationship and its sources of tension.
Professional follow-up is also important because it is often very difficult to break up with toxic relationships .
Self-knowledge is also a path, since, by knowing your own limitations, it is possible to live with them, change what is wrong and accept the other as he is – or leave the relationship.
Since the practice of exercises is essential to be mentally balanced, a sedentary lifestyle causes the opposite effect , that is, it harms the health of the mind.
Not to mention the metabolic diseases and conditions that develop due to a lack of activity, such as diabetes, obesity and elevated cholesterol levels.
The more physically active a person is, the less exposed to mental problems.
Who never left for tomorrow a work that was supposed to be delivered today?
We are all subject to unforeseen events that take our time , but when this becomes more frequent than normal, it can signal a faulty mental process.
Thus, the person becomes a procrastinator without even realizing it.
Excuses like “I’m tired”, “it’s too much work” or simply “I’ll finish tomorrow”, generate a lazy state of mind that, up front, will take its toll.
The best thing to do is to organize yourself to do the tasks on the day they have to be done.
Thus, we are at peace with our conscience, with our work and with our family.
Frequently Asked Questions About Mental Health
The high prevalence of mental health problems , mainly depression and anxiety, leads to a high volume of internet searches on the subject.
To answer your possible questions, we have selected some of the most frequent ones, check them out:
What Is Meant By Mental Health?
Mental health is an aspect of health that is characterized by the balance of emotions , feelings and expectations around oneself, others and life.
What Is The Difference Between Physical Health And Mental Health?
Physical health is everything that concerns the well-being of the body and its functions.
The mental is related to intangible , emotional, psychological and even spiritual aspects.
Which Professionals Take Care Of Mental Health?
As a rule, the specialist who takes care of this area is the psychologist .
He can be advised by psychiatrists, neurologists and, depending on the case, by nutritionists and endocrinologists.