By Rosa parks
Mental health, mental hygiene and mental wellness are all terms used to describe the absence of mental illness. Mental illness is a disorder of the brain that results in a disruption in a person's thinking, feeling, moods, and ability to relate to others. Mental illness is distinct from the legal concept of insanity. On average one in four of us will experience a mental health problem in the course of a year. These problems can cause real and lasting damage, both to the individual and to the community. Fortunately the majority of people who experience mental health problems can get over them or learn to live with them especially if they get help early on.
Treatments for mental health problems take many different forms, including diet and exercise, medication, psychotherapy, complementary therapies and self help strategies. It is worth bearing in mind that what works for one person may not work for another. Some treatments work best in combination and even the same person may prefer different treatments at different points in his or her life.
The mental health problems affecting children and adolescents include the following:
Anxiety is an uncomfortable emotional state in which one perceives danger, feels powerless and experiences tension in preparation for an expected danger. Physical symptoms include increased heart rate, irregular breathing, trembling, and sweating. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health problems that occur in children and adolescents. 25% of all American adults experience intense anxiety at sometime in their lives. The prevalence of true anxiety disorders is much lower, although they are still the most common psychiatric conditions in the United States and affect more than 20 million Americans. A person's genetics, biochemistry, environment, history, and psychological profile all seem to contribute to the development of anxiety disorders. Most people with these disorders seem to have a biological vulnerability to stress, making them more susceptible to environmental stimuli than the rest of the population.
Depression is very common in people with anxiety disorder, and it is sometimes difficult to distinguish one from the other because either or both can be accompanied by anxious feelings, agitation, insomnia, and problems with concentration. Because of the confusion in making a diagnosis between the two disorders, the American Psychiatric Association is considering a new classification, mixed anxiety and depression.
Large-scale research studies have reported that up to 3 percent of children and up to 8 percent of adolescents in the U.S. suffer from depression, a serious mental disorder that adversely affects mood, energy, interest, sleep, appetite, and overall functioning. The exact cause of depression is not known. Many researchers believe it is caused by chemical imbalances in the brain, which may be hereditary or caused by events in a person's life.
ADHD (Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one of the most commonly diagnosed mental disorders among children, although it also occurs in adults. There are three subtypes: ADHD mainly inattentive; ADHD mainly hyperactive-impulsive; and ADHD combined. Research shows that ADHD tends to run in families. Its core symptoms include developmentally inappropriate levels of attention, concentration, activity, distractibility, and impulsivity. Children with ADHD usually have impaired functioning in peer relationships and multiple settings including home and school. ADHD has also been shown to have long-term adverse effects on academic performance, vocational success, and social-emotional development.
ADHD can't be cured, but it can be successfully managed. In most cases, ADHD is best treated with a combination of medication and behavior therapy. Any good treatment plan will require close follow-up and monitoring, and your child's doctor may make adjustments along the way. Because it's important for parents to actively participate in their child's treatment plan, parent education is also considered an important part of ADHD management
An eating disorder is a syndrome in which a person eats in a way which disturbs their physical health. Overeating is the most common and obvious such disorder, and was in the past often attributed to a lack of self-control. Psychologists nowadays prefer to class the other syndromes as mental disorders, going by the mental health model that views the syndrome as caused by something largely outside human will. In the U.S., eating disorders are most common among adolescent and young women. In addition to causing various physical health problems, eating disorders are associated with illnesses such as depression, substance abuse, and anxiety disorders. Eating disorders are complex conditions caused by a combination of individual, family, interpersonal, biological, socio-cultural, and precipitating factors.
Ideally, treatment for an eating disorder addresses both the physical and
psychological aspects of the eating disorder. A purely medical approach to the treatment of eating disorders is unlikely to address the underlying psychological causes, or result in long-term recovery. Dieticians or nutritionists can help in the treatment of eating disorders because the establishment of a well-balanced diet is essential to recovery. Nutritional counseling and advice can help you to identify your fears about food and the physical consequences of not eating well.
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