What is mental health?



What is mental health?

Mental health refers to our cognitive, behavioral, and emotional wellbeing – it is all about how we think, feel, and behave. The term ‘mental health’ is sometimes used to mean an absence of a mental disorder.

Mental health can affect daily life, relationships, and even physical health. Mental health also includes a person’s ability to enjoy life – to attain a balance between life activities and efforts to achieve psychological resilience.

In this article, we will explain what is meant by the terms “mental health” and “mental illness.” We will also describe the most common types of mental disorder and how they are treated. The article will also cover some early signs of mental health problems.

What is mental health?
Medically reviewed by Timothy J. Legg, PhD, CRNP on August 24, 2017 — Written by Tim Newman
Definition
Risk factors
Common disorders
Early signs
Treatment
Mental health refers to our cognitive, behavioral, and emotional wellbeing – it is all about how we think, feel, and behave. The term ‘mental health’ is sometimes used to mean an absence of a mental disorder.

Mental health can affect daily life, relationships, and even physical health. Mental health also includes a person’s ability to enjoy life – to attain a balance between life activities and efforts to achieve psychological resilience.

In this article, we will explain what is meant by the terms “mental health” and “mental illness.” We will also describe the most common types of mental disorder and how they are treated. The article will also cover some early signs of mental health problems.

Definition
Mental health problems can affect anyone at any age.
According to Medilexicon’s medical dictionary, mental health is:

“Emotional, behavioral, and social maturity or normality; the absence of a mental or behavioral disorder; a state of psychological well-being in which one has achieved a satisfactory integration of one’s instinctual drives acceptable to both oneself and one’s social milieu; an appropriate balance of love, work, and leisure pursuits.”

According to the WHOTrusted Source (World Health Organization), mental health is:

“… a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”

The WHO stresses that mental health “is not just the absence of mental disorder.”

Risk factors
Experts say we all have the potential to develop mental health problems, no matter how old we are, whether we are male or female, rich or poor, or which ethnic group we belong to.

Almost 1 in 5 Americans experiences mental health problems each year (18.5 percent). In the United States, in 2015, an estimated 9.8 million adults (over 18) had a serious mental disorder. That equates to 4.8 percent of all American adults.

A large proportion of the people who have a mental disorder have more than one.

In the U.S. and much of the developed world, mental disorders are one of the leading causes of disability

Common disorders

Anxiety disorders

Panic disorder

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) –

Mood disorders

Treatment

There are various ways people with mental health problems might receive treatment. It is important to know that what works for one person may not work for another; this is especially the case with mental health.

Some strategies or treatments are more successful when combined with others. A patient with a chronic mental disorder may choose different options at different stages in their life. The majority of experts say that a well-informed patient is probably the best judge of what treatment suits them best.

Treatments can include:

Psychotherapy (talking therapies) – this is a psychological approach to treating mental illness. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), exposure therapy, and dialectical behavior therapy are examples.

Medication – although it can not cure mental disorders, some medications can improve symptoms.

Self-help – including lifestyle changes such as reducing alcohol intake, sleeping more, and eating well.

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