Most Common Mental Health Disorders in America

Your mental health is vital to your overall well-being – it contributes to your physical, mental, and spiritual state. However, the mind is not yet well understood and oftentimes, many mental health illnesses go untreated or even undiagnosed.

With several mental health illnesses out there and several variable triggers for them, it is important to keep your mental health in check and know the warning signs that something might be wrong.

An unstable mental state can lead to a variety of other things – such as physical sickness, self-harm, drug abuse and addiction, among other things.

By definition, mental health is a person’s condition with regard to their emotional and psychological well-being.

In the United States, anxiety is the most common mental illness – affecting 40 million Americans over the age of 18, which is around 18 percent of the population, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA).

And, lack of treatment of these mental illnesses can lead to lost wages, expensive health bills, more chronic conditions, dropping out of school, and even sometimes death – most commonly as a result of suicide.

A few of the most common mental health disorders in America today are:

  • Major Depression
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Autism
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
  • Eating Disorders
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Substance Abuse

That is a pretty shocking list – and yes, substance abuse is a mental health disorder. With so many potential threats to your mental health, it is obvious that keeping it in check is vital. These mental health disorders could affect anyone – even you.

Keeping Your Mental Health Healthy

So, how do you keep your mental health healthy? Here are a few tips:

  • Don’t be afraid to talk about your feelings. Talking about your feelings is a safe way to aid in the release of those feelings. It also offers you a chance to hear them aloud and re-consider your stance.
  • Stay active. Mental health and physical health go hand in hand. In order to keep one healthy, you need to keep the other one healthy.
  • Eat well. What you feed your body is also what you feed your brain. Ensure you are getting the proper nutrients and avoiding too much junk food.
  • Take a break. Sometimes you just need to escape, even if it is just to go sit on the back porch for a little while and enjoy the quiet. Just always make time to breathe.

 

6 Tips for Managing Your Stress Level

Have you ever felt stressed out? The answer to that was probably an immediate, big, fat “yes.”

From the time you were a young child, you probably knew what it was like to be stressed. However, this stress only intensifies as you get older, begin to understand the world better and take on more responsibility.

Stress can easily stem from work, school, and even just life with family and friends. Sometimes it can easily be controlled, and other times it seems to just spiral right out of hand. But, managing your stress level is important. Stress puts added work on your body that only leaves you feeling fatigued and irritable, among other things.

 

 

While it is nearly impossible to live your life with no stress – life is just going to be stressful at times – it is not impossible to learn how to properly manage that stress. It is important that you manage stress not only for your health but for your productivity. Stress can cause you to lose your train of thought, become extremely tired, and also cause you to feel scatter-brained which will make it hard for you to focus on the task at hand.

Check out these 6 tips for managing your stress level:

  1. Avoid triggers. Items such as caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine can increase your stress level as they are stimulants. People often think of these as stress relievers but in fact, they are stress promoters.
  2. Get more sleep. Studies have shown that without the proper amount of sleep you are more susceptible to stress. Try to get a good 8 hours of sleep each night to ensure you are well rested.
  3. Participate in regular physical activity. Getting your blood flowing and increasing your heart rate is a good way to relieve stress. It also helps get your body physically in shape with can further reduce stress levels.
  4. Keep a stress diary. When you are feeling extremely stressed and overwhelmed, make note of it. List how you feel, how long you have felt that way and what you think might have caused it. This will help you express your feelings and give you a way to see patterns and triggers.
  5. Learn to say “no.” It can be easy to be a “yes man” and take on several tasks at once. However, you will find yourself being less productive due to stress. There is a time when it is okay to say “no.”
  6. Manage your time. Make a list of everything you need to get done and a schedule for how you will complete it. This will help you better manage your time and get the important projects done first to avoid stress throughout the day.

Drugs and Car Crashes: The Epidemic Killing Thousands

While drug addiction, substance abuse, and drug overdoses affect thousands each year, many of those affected are innocent.

First, there is the addict themselves. But, second, there are the people surrounding them – their family, friends, and coworkers. Lastly, there are the strangers that pass them by each day just in everyday life. The addict mentality is usually one of “I am only hurting myself,” while we know this is not true because they also hurt their family and friends, the pain doesn’t stop there…

Sometimes, addicts even hurt strangers and most commonly in the event of a car accident.

One tell-tale sign that you have a problem with drugs or alcohol is that you become comfortable driving under the influence. You have developed the mentality that you are still a good driver and that the drugs or alcohol are not impairing you severely enough that you cannot operate a vehicle.

However, many people each year are killed by this mentality.

In a 2014 survey done by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), 10 million people – aged 12 or older – reported driving while under the influence of illicit drugs during the previous year (the year before the survey was completed).

NSDUH also reported that men are more likely than women to drive while under the influence. In addition, those aged between 18 and 25 drive under the influence more often than those aged 26 and above do.

 

 

Even though it is never okay to drive under the influence, many people still do – ultimately, costing many people their lives.

In 2015, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 10,265 died in an alcohol-impaired crash. This number accounted for nearly one-third of all traffic-related deaths in the United States.

For those suffering from addiction, these are the kind of consequences that could last a lifetime. Driving under the influence, and furthermore causing a fatal accident, could put you in jail for many years.

If you or someone you know participate in impaired driving – whether it be drinking or doing drugs – find ways to change the situation:

  • Offer to be the designated driver, or if you are impaired plan ahead to have a designated driver.
  • Discuss the risks of driving in advance with your friends to ensure everyone is on the same page.
  • Keep the car keys out of sight so no one is tempted to drive after drinking or doing drugs.
  • Always know your limit. Be prepared to stop before you have had too much and are over the legal limit.

 

 

Aaron Fike: A NASCAR Driver’s Struggle with Addiction

If you are struggling with addiction and feel like you’re alone…

Don’t.

Thousands of others, probably quite a few around you that you don’t even know about, struggle with addiction every day. And, even several stars – athletes, musicians, race car drivers – struggle with addiction, too.

 

In 2007, Aaron Fike was arrested on suspicion of heroin possession. Following this event, his story unraveled.

ESPN Magazine Interview

In an interview with ESPN Magazine, Fike, who was 25 at the time, told the media outlet that he had been for eight months. Moreover, his heroin addiction came after a six-year addiction to painkillers. Fike said his drug addiction stemmed from injuries he suffered in a sprint car crash.

In the weeks leading up to his arrest, Fike’s heroin usage which began as a once-a-week experiment had become a daily routine. Fike has also admitted that not only had he secretly been struggling with drug addiction for years, but that he had also shot up with heroin even on some race days.

At the time of his arrest, Fike was with his fiancée. The two were found at an amusement park in their car in possession of an array of drug paraphernalia, including bloody napkins, a 100-count box of syringes and black tar heroin.

Addiction in The Automotive Industry

However, Fike is not the only NASCAR driver who has been found to struggle with substance abuse. Since 2000, there has been a total of seven NASCAR drivers who have been found to have substance abuse problems and have been suspended indefinitely. Of those seven drivers, four failed or missed a drug test and the other three, including Fike, were caught by police.

Wrapping It Up

These events just go to show that nobody is above addiction and you cannot safely assume that someone is not susceptible to it. Addiction can cost you so much more than money – it can cost you your freedom, and in the event of these NASCAR drivers, their job.

Fike’s story is a great example of how addiction usually begins with something small – a gateway. Oftentimes, with drugs, an addict begins regularly taking an easy to obtain and less harmful drug. After that, the addiction and drug of choice just continue to escalate.

For alcoholics, it might begin with only drinking on the weekends, then switch to drinking a few days during the week as well, and before they know it they are binge drinking on a daily basis.

 

 

 

5 Things You Didn’t Know About Mental Health

Did you know that addiction is a mental health issue? It is a mental illness.

Addiction actually changes the brain, therefore disturbing the hierarchy of desires and needs. It actually changes the fundamental way a person’s brain functions. The results of this are impulsive behaviors and aggressive actions.

Some people are more susceptible to addiction as they might have a predisposition for it, but we are all potential victims. In order to ensure we don’t fall into the trap of addiction and just to maintain our overall well-being, it is important that we maintain our mental health.

Mental health seems to be one of those topics most people don’t like to talk about – it is a hush hush subject. Typically, people like to keep their depression and anxiety in a closet and leave it unattended until it bothers them.

 

However, proper care for mental health requires addressing issues up front and finding ways to avoid triggers.

A few interesting things you might not know about mental health – but should know – are:

  1. It has a direct and measurable impact on your physical health and overall well-being.Depression, anxiety, stress, and addiction can take a toll on your body, mentally and physically. It can leave you feeling tired, lethargic, sick and frail.
  2. Most often, your mental health is based on trial and error.You have to figure out what your triggers are and what works best for you. It is all about learning your body and your mental state.
  3. You might be your own best treatment provider.Sometimes all you need is you. However, you should first explore other options to ensure this is the best fit. But, keeping a food, emotion and exercise journal can really be an eye-opener. It is a great way to learn your triggers and to track and reward yourself for good days.
  4. Today, we understand the mind just about as well as a doctor understood a heart about 200 years ago.While we are quite advanced in medicine, mental health is a totally different story. Physicians and researchers are still learning all the ins and outs of mental health and how to improve care for patients. Not all symptoms, triggers and treatment side effects are known.
  5. It is okay to shop around for treatment.Just because someone is the first doctor or treatment facility you went to does not make them the right fit for you. Always keep your options open and explore what is available. It will be most effective when it is the right fit.