Just like physical health, mental health can cover all kinds of issues. It can significantly affect the lives of those with mental health conditions and the lives of their loved ones.
According to data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), in 2019, approximately one-fifth (20.6%) of the U.S. population reported mental health challenges, and 18.4% of them also dealt with drug use issues. These figures do not reflect the mental health challenge rate in 2020 or 2021.
Considering the stigma of mental health issues, this ratio may be higher, which may make it difficult for folx to disclose mental challenges. Mental health problems may appear in people of any age, background, gender, etc. Also, please note that these are statistics before the pandemic.
Since mental problems often include symptoms such as hopelessness or worry, it is particularly difficult to obtain much-needed mental health support. Check statistics on mental health issues in the United States in case you are affected or need support for loved ones who are dealing with such challenges.
Anxiety disorders affect approximately 40 million Americans, making them the most common mental health condition in the United States. Anxiety disorders include:
Although all people may experience anxiety to some degree, the diagnosis of anxiety is usually based on distressing symptoms that limit the ability to perform daily activities such as work or school tasks.
According to data from SAMHSA, 7.8% of American adults reported a major depressive episode in 2019. Depression has a negative impact on mood and body and mind, and the following symptoms appear:
- Extremely sad
- Lost interest in activities that you once liked
- Sleep challenge
- Appetite problems
- Suicidal ideation
Schizophrenia is a mental health condition that manifests as mental illness for at least six months. It affects approximately 1 in 200 Americans.
Psychosis may include hallucinations (seeing or hearing things other people have not experienced) and delusions (beliefs that are not based on reality). The exact content of the hallucinations or delusions varies from person to person.
According to data from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), bipolar disorder affects 4.4% of adults and 2.9% of adolescents. It refers to extreme changes in mood, energy, and activity levels that limit a person’s ability to function.
Bipolar disorder used to be called manic depression because mania and depression are characteristic of this disease. The term is no longer used, partly because the name overemphasizes the importance of mania as a symptom, which illustrates how our understanding of mental health has evolved over time.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental health condition that involves uncontrollable fears, thoughts, and impulses. People with obsessive-compulsive disorder often try to reduce anxiety through compulsive behavior. Obsessive-compulsive disorder affects approximately 1% of Americans.
Obsessive thoughts that cause extreme anxiety may include fear of bacteria, demands for tissues, or invasive, disturbing thoughts. Compulsive behavior may include counting or repetitive tasks.
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) affects approximately 6.8% of the U.S. population. It can develop after a traumatic event, such as becoming a victim of a hate crime.
Symptoms of PTSD may include nightmares, flashbacks, and difficulty sleeping, which may make maintaining function at school or work challenging.
US Mental Health describes complex PTSD (C-PTSD) as a type of PTSD that can develop after long-term trauma, including white supremacist harassment, queer confrontation, transphobia, domestic abuse, etc.
C-PTSD affects people in seven areas:
- Emotion regulation
- Behavior control
C-PTSD often overlaps with other mental health problems, such as anxiety, depression, or sleep disorders.
Borderline Personality Disorder
Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental health condition characterized by difficulty in regulating emotions, which makes it difficult to maintain interpersonal relationships.
It is estimated that it affects as many as 6% of Americans, and it is more likely to happen if you have a family history of this disease, or if you have other mental health diagnoses (such as anxiety disorders).
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, eating disorders refer to severe mental health conditions that can lead to extreme disorders of eating behavior, which may include obsession with food.
Bulimia, bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa are the most common eating disorders. Usually, these occur at the same time as other mental health conditions. These three diagnoses most likely overlap with anxiety disorders.
Binge eating disorder includes the onset of binge eating due to loss of control and is accompanied by pain, which affects approximately 1.2% of adults in the US population.
Bulimia nervosa refers to binge eating, followed by bowel movements, fasting, and excessive exercise. Bulimia nervosa affects about 0.3% of American adults, and their weight is usually within a healthy range.
Anorexia nervosa is manifested by an extreme reduction in food intake, accompanied by a distorted body image and a severe fear of weight gain.
Those dealing with anorexia nervosa will think that they are overweight even when they are undernourished, which can lead to a vicious circle of further disordered eating patterns. It affects approximately 0.6% of adults in the U.S. population.
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If you are concerned about your mental health, it may be helpful to contact a therapist to better understand your spiritual needs. Although facing this situation may be frightening, seeking mental health support as early as possible can help solve the problem most effectively.
For some people, it may be easier to discuss mental health issues with a loved one or a trusted family doctor first. They can then assist in obtaining appropriate treatment.
One may feel overwhelmed when exploring appropriate care options, especially considering the stigma of mental illness. Despite these challenges, mental health treatment is worth the effort because it deserves at least as much attention as your physical health to maintain your function.
Coping with mental health challenges may require a lot of time and work, but the benefits to those affected and their loved ones cannot be underestimated. It is hoped that as mental health issues continue to receive more open discussions and more effective treatments, further progress will be made in addressing stigma.