People nowadays are more aware of the importance of having a sound or healthy mental state; hence, society has become more open to the idea of getting treatment or going to a therapist.
Being mentally stable means having the capacity to learn; feel, express, and handle emotions; develop relationships, and cope with changes and unforeseen situations.
Discussing mental health used to be taboo. Being mentally unstable is more than just having mood swings; it could hinder one from functioning or doing even the most mundane task.
Mental Health Problem
Sign of mental condition depends on the disorder the person has; he/she can have one or multiple illnesses. Constant feeling of sadness or feeling down for no apparent reason; confused thinking or shortened attention span; excessive fears or worries, and extreme guilt; frequent and heightened mood swings, these are only a few signs that one might be suffering from a mental disorder.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one in four people has a mental disorder, and as of early 2019, anxiety disorders are considered the no.1 biggest mental health problem.
Anxiety disorders cause one’s extreme fears and worry where it affects one’s behavior, mood, and daily life.
Feeling anxious and having an anxiety disorder is entirely different. In a stressful situation, feeling anxious indicates that the person’s survival mechanism is working, which is a good thing. Sometimes feeling anxious also helps one to keep going. However, intensified and prolonged duration of anxiousness could indicate that one must be suffering from an anxiety disorder. “Anxiety is characterized by excessive and unrealistic concerns about the future, emotional and physical tension, and patterns of avoidance–avoiding people, responsibilities, or harmless situations,” explains Joel Minden, Ph.D. “If anxiety makes it too difficult to function in your relationships or keep up with your obligations at home, work, or school, it’s important to develop an anxiety reduction plan,” he suggests.
Most common symptoms for people with anxiety are irritable or on edge, having a sense of impending danger or panic, increased heart rate, hyperventilation, sweating, trembling, Feeling weak or tired, difficulty concentrating or sleeping, and experiencing gastrointestinal (GI) problems.
The most usual type of anxiety disorder is Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). GAD is believed to be caused by biological factors, family background, and life experiences, particularly stressful ones. People who have this type of anxiety excessively worry that even getting through the day causes stress.
Another type of anxiety disorder that significantly affects one to function is a panic disorder, also known as the Anxiety attack. It often occurs spontaneously and unexpectedly. During a panic attack one experiences an acceleration of heart rate, trembling, sweating, shortness of breath, feeling of choking, chest pains or discomfort, nausea or distressed stomach, lightheadedness, or dizziness that could lead to fainting, chills or heat sensation, feelings of unreality or derealization, or even depersonalization, fear of losing one’s sanity, and fear of dying.
Meanwhile, Social phobia or Social anxiety disorder pertains to the intense fear of being judged or negatively evaluated and fear of rejection in a social setting or performance situation. This affect one’s ability to form or start a relationship or even interactions. This type of anxiety increases the risk of developing depressive disorders. “When we diagnose a social anxiety disorder, we’re not looking for the client to be afraid or worried about any particular social situation,” explains Amelia Aldao, Ph.D., LCP. “Instead, what we care about is whether they are experiencing extreme fears about social situations that are interfering with their lives.”
Another type of phobia that is longer-lasting than other disorders, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), where one has uncontrollable recurring thoughts and repetitive behaviors. This type of disease interferes with the various aspect of the individual’s life.
The last common type of anxiety disorder is PSTD or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. This type of anxiety develops due to a shocking, scary, dangerous, sudden, or unexpected experience. PSTD significantly affect one’s mood and behavior from time to time.
Today’s Society And Anxiety
The changes in our society did not just change, or in any way affect everyone’s view on mental health. Back then, poor health, poverty, and disadvantages or work stress, caused anxiety. Graham C.L. Davey Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University of Sussex, notes “Perhaps surprisingly, stigmatizing beliefs about individuals with mental health problems are held by a broad range of individuals within society, regardless of whether they know someone with a mental health problem, have a family member with a mental health problem, or have a good knowledge and experience of mental health problems.” Meanwhile, in today’s society, the world is more exposed to problems such as increased exposure to violence, trauma, and conflict, rising in the number of divorces and racial and gender inequality; not to mention today’s advancement in technology also fuels several causes of fears such as identity theft, data hacking, phishing, grooming and trolling. All these societal issues pose a threat to everyone’s mental health.
However, as mentioned earlier, people are now more aware and have a better understanding of mental illness. Mental wellbeing is now important and a priority.
Everyone is free to speak about their disorder, and more people become more supportive and understanding. It lessens the risk of isolating oneself. Being able to speak up and seek a companion who might be going through the same experience would help alleviate the burden and would improve one’s sense of belonging.
More importantly, getting help is also not as difficult as before. It helps people who suffer from one become more inclined to get help because they no longer feel ashamed.
People who suffer from a disorder no longer have to hide in the shadows, which could help prevent one from spiraling down and could save more lives.