Mental Health Effects, Signs, and Symptoms

Mental health disorders significantly impact the lives of many people. Often referred to as mental illnesses or mental health concerns, these conditions affect the way people think, feel, behave, and interact with others.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), mental health disorders affect 1 in 5 adults every year in the United States. But with the right level of support, you can significantly improve your quality of life.

At Signature Psychiatric Hospital, we provide inpatient and outpatient services for adolescents and adults who are living with mental health concerns.

Signs & Symptoms of Mental Health Disorders

Because mental illness affects everyone differently, it can be difficult to pinpoint specific signs and symptoms. But there are still some indicators that may point to a person who is struggling with these conditions.

The most common signs and symptoms of mental health disorders include:

  • Feeling empty or hopeless
  • Frequent angry outbursts
  • Lowered level of self-confidence
  • Inability to feel joy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Stomach pains or digestive problems
  • Uncontrollable feelings of panic or worry
  • Trouble getting a good night’s rest
  • Headaches or muscle pain
  • Changes in weight or diminished appetite

While it’s unlikely that a person will experience all these mental health disorder symptoms, pursuing help at the earliest signs of concern can make a dramatic difference. By finding the right level of professional support, you can significantly improve your quality of life.

Mental Health Disorder Causes & Risk Factors

There isn’t a single cause of mental health disorders, but there are a variety of factors that can increase your risk for developing one of these conditions.

Some of the most common mental health disorder causes and risk factors include:

  • Experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event
  • Being abused or neglected as a child
  • Drug or alcohol use
  • Family history of mental health concerns
  • Major life transitions, like losing a job, the death of a loved one, or divorce
  • Preexisting chronic medical conditions
  • Inheriting certain genetic features
  • Exposure to unusual levels of stress

Mental Health Disorder Statistics

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), nearly 53 million adults in the United States were living with a mental illness in 2020.

Here are some other mental health disorder statistics:

  • Approximately half of all lifetime mental illnesses begin by age 14, and 75% present prior to age 24, according to NAMI.
  • One in 6 U.S. children ages 6-17 suffer from a mental health disorder each year, NAMI found.
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 25.6% of women received mental health services in 2020, compared with just 14.6% of men.
  • The CDC also notes that women were more likely to have taken medication (21.2%) for their mental health than men (11.5%) and had a higher likelihood of receiving therapy or counseling from a mental health professional (12.1% compared with 7.9%).

Effects of Mental Health Disorders

Untreated mental health concerns can make it difficult for a person to even get out of bed in the morning. They can greatly impact a person’s emotional, physical, and psychological well-being.

The most common mental health disorder effects include:

  • Decline in physical health
  • Financial struggles
  • Job loss or expulsion from school
  • Damaged relationships with family and friends
  • Suicidal thoughts and behaviors
  • Increased sense of isolation
  • Constant thoughts of hopelessness
  • Substance use or addiction

If you seek professional support, you can stop any negative ramifications and minimize your risk for future turmoil that can be a result of mental health disorders.

Co-Occurring Disorders

It’s fairly common for people who are living with mental health concerns to experience symptoms of more than one disorder at the same time. This is clinically referred to as co-occurring disorders.

Aside from two or more mental health disorders occurring at once, there are times when people who are experiencing symptoms of mental illness opt for drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism. This puts them at risk for developing a substance use disorder, which is the clinical term for addiction.

At Signature Psychiatric Hospital, we provide comprehensive care for people who are struggling with co-occurring disorders that can address all their symptoms.

What Happens if My Mental Health Disorder Symptoms Return?

There isn’t always a direct path to improving symptoms of a mental health disorder. Somewhere along the way, you may notice that your mental health disorder signs and symptoms have returned.

Though this may be discouraging, that’s why it’s important to seek help in the first place. By learning coping skills and strategies, you can make sure that these minor setbacks don’t become unmovable obstacles on your path to better health.

Working with a team of compassionate professionals, like those at Signature Psychiatric Hospital, can help you understand your symptoms and reduce your levels of stress and anxiety. These clinicians can help equip you with the tools necessary to deal with the return of symptoms in a healthy, productive manner.

Remember this: If you’re still struggling, you are most certainly not alone. Your care team is happy to help you work through areas of need and give you the guidance necessary to live a more fulfilling, satisfying life.

This content was written on behalf of and reviewed by the clinical staff at Signature Psychiatric Hospital.   

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