For decades, people have been suffering from mental conditions that lead them to navigate the world differently. Many of these people do not realize they have a disorder because they go undiagnosed. It’s not common for a sufferer to think they’re disorder is nothing to be worried about, or afraid of becoming a statistic. This kind of thinking only contributes to the stigma surrounding mental health.
In 2019, mental health is a rising topic of conversation in the United States. People are more willing to talk about their experiences. Along with this, there is an increased need to understand the role of recovery for those with mental illness. Let’s go over some facts you should know about mental health issues and how to recover if you’re a sufferer.
Common Mental Health Issues
The first fact to know about mental illnesses is that some are more common than others. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reported the most commonly diagnosed mental illnesses are:
- Anxiety disorders. This includes generalized anxiety, phobias, social anxiety, and separation anxiety, as well as obsessive-compulsive disorder.
- Major depression. This affects an estimated 6.9% of Americans – or 16 million people.
- Schizophrenia. This is chronic and serious. It affects an estimated 2.4 million Americans. It seriously affects a person’s ability to navigate the world.
- Borderline Personality Disorder. This is characterized by unstable relationships, impulsive behaviors, and emotional swings.
- Dementia that encompasses Alzheimer’s. This involves memory loss, language issues, judgment issues, and more.
- Dual diagnosis. This is a co-occurring mental health disorder. It is not unheard of to have substance abuse issue as well as a mental health issue listed here.
Studies have uncovered several risk factors that increase the likelihood of a mental illness diagnosis. This includes experiencing a major life event, like divorce or death. Triggers might also include financial difficulties, work stress, social isolation, and housing insecurity. Environmental factors like family history and age can also increase the likelihood.
These are risk factors that many Americans face daily. NAMI reports that mental illness affects one in five adult Americans. That translates to 43.8 million Americans in any given year! However, only 41% of Americans with a condition receive treatment.
Long-Term Recovery and Treatment Facts
For long-term recovery, the odds are much more hopeful. Of the 41% of Americans that seek treatment, 70 – 90% of them will see a change in their illness. This is accomplished several ways. Treatment can involve therapy or programs like Southern California’s comprehensive recovery center.
Common treatment options include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Motivational interviewing
Some people opt into medications to treat an illness. If a person has a co-occurring substance abuse issue, this might not be the best route.
Alternative treatment options also exist:
- Art Therapy
- Group therapy sessions
These treatment options are under study for effectiveness.
Room for Improvement
The biggest takeaway from mental health treatment and recovery is that there is room for improvement.
Statistical reports from NAMI show that 25.1 percent of individuals aged 13 to 18 will experience anxiety disorders. This leaves young people vulnerable to additional health concerns. It can also result in poor school performance and increased chances of substance abuse.
Despite this, only 43.2 percent of all Americans with anxiety disorders will receive treatment. This leaves over half of the population left untreated without a proper diagnosis. It also leads to higher suicide rates and higher chances of developing a mental illness in adulthood.
There is Hope
There is room for improvement in the recognition of these illnesses and treatment. Fortunately, with rehab centers that treat co-occurring disorders, there is hope for change. It all starts with breaking the stigma around mental health, and being willing to ask for help.