Mental health issues are rising in the United States. Specifically, anxiety and depression rates are steadily rising across the country. These conditions are especially prevalent in young people, a major change over the last two decades.
Dangers that arise with mental health issues are the unsafe coping mechanisms, such as using drugs or alcohol to cope. Substance abuse or addiction may form in response to the number of people experiencing anxiety, depression, or other mental health illnesses.
Sadly, many people turn to temporary fixes. These acts of self-soothing are often done impulsively, unconsciously, and without serious thought. These attempts at fixing things often lead to catastrophic results.
The Seven Most Common Mental Health Issues
Anxiety is one of the most frequently experienced mental health issues today.
There are numerous types of anxiety disorders. These include:
- Social anxiety
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
Anxiety disorders often get worse over time. Untreated anxiety is dangerous because the physical manifestations of anxiety, like insomnia, dizziness, sweating, nausea (for generalized anxiety disorder), or chest pain (for social anxiety), can cause physical harm. Anxiety can also be a trigger for substance abuse.
Depression, alongside anxiety, is one of the most common forms of mental illness. As a mood disorder, depression can affect anyone, during any stage of life.
While sadness is part of human emotions, depression is when overwhelming despair and hopelessness overpowers and impairs daily functioning. Depression can lead to developments like suicidal ideations or addiction.
3. Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder (sometimes known as manic depression) is a mood disorder that causes people to have severe shifts in behavior and mood swings. Moods alternate between extreme and mild states. This affects all aspects of living not only for the individual but also for loved ones or people they live with.
Bipolar disorder can affect relationships, job opportunities, job stability and can lead to more dangerous outcomes like suicide or addiction. However, with a combination of medication and therapy, managing this condition is possible.
4. Eating Disorders
Eating disorders are one of the most common mental health issues today. Approximately thirty million women and men will suffer from some form of an eating disorder at some point in their lives. While teenage and adult women are reported as having the highest rates of eating disorders, it still affects as many as ten million men.
Many adult women who have an eating disorder developed it in their youth. It may form as a coping mechanism due to a traumatic event or stressful phase in life. An eating disorder is a mental illness and has similar characteristics to substance addiction.
5. History of Trauma
A history of trauma and abuse can lead to trauma disorders. A history of trauma, where repeated harmful actions took place, has disastrous consequences for children and adults.
Early life programs the brain based on the type of interactions, behaviors, and environment that is experienced. So a peaceful and stable upbringing will create an adult that can handle stress and thrive, regardless of typical life stressors.
On the opposite end, a chaotic or abusive childhood will program a person’s brain to be unable to deal with obstacles or stressors without unsafe coping mechanisms, like substance addiction. Repressed experiences and unmanaged emotions often intensify addiction.
6. Alcohol Addiction
Alcohol addiction is a chronic mental health issue that changes functioning in the brain and body. It is a compulsive need to consume alcohol, even to the point of sickness or death. Over 16 million people have experienced some form of alcohol use disorder (AUD) in their lives, making it a common and dangerous mental health issue.
Physical symptoms of alcoholism are damaging for the person and others around them. These can include:
- Physical illnesses like cirrhosis
However, primary treatment and detox centers can treat alcohol addiction. Those who struggle with an alcohol addiction must undergo treatment under the supervision of medical professionals in order to ensure a safe recovery.
7. Drug Addiction
Drug addiction is also a chronic illness that impairs physical and emotional functioning. It has biological, psychological, and social impacts affecting millions of people nationwide. Severe addiction can be fatal or cause serious health risks. However, today, treatment, detox, and sober living facilities are ready and prepared to provide medical intervention, treatment, and therapy to help eradicate drug addiction for good.
Find Hope in Treatment and Recovery at Westwind Recovery®
Regardless of your mental health illness, issue, or addiction, there is help. Treatment programs and recovery residences are available at Westwind Recovery®. In our Los Angeles center, you’ll find support for your journey to recovery. Connect with our team today at 855.340.8832 or reach out online to learn more.
Dr. Deena is the Chief Clinical Officer of Westwind Recovery®, an award-winning outpatient treatment center in Los Angeles where she oversees the clinical and administrative program and treatment methods. Dr. Deena is a doctor of psychology and licensed clinical social worker since 1993. LCSW #20628. Originally from the East Coast, Dr. Deena has worked running treatment centers, worked as a therapist in psychiatric hospitals as well as school settings and currently has a thriving private practice in the LA area. Dr. Deena has appeared regularly on the Dr. Phil Show as an expert since 2003. She has also been featured on many other TV shows, podcasts and has contributed to written publications as well as podcasts.