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In a 2019 U.S. survey, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) disclosed that 1 in every 5 adults in America had experienced mental health issues, meaning 51.5 million people have had to deal with it in their lives. It’s vital to pay attention to these issues so you can handle them as early as possible. However, which conditions are classified under mental health, and what do they entail?

Mental health conditions are on the rise. Here are three common ones in the US that you may have or experience in your family.

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1. Bipolar Disorder

In the United States, people usually experience this condition at the average age of 25. Even though it can suddenly occur in later years, mental health professionals diagnose the more common instances earlier. According to WebMD, bipolar disorder affects both sexes equally, unlike other personality conditions.

It’s usually characterized by manic depression episodes that are drastically different from the individual’s normal moods. The common symptoms include sudden and unusual energy, altered sleep patterns, and increased involvement in uncharacteristic activities. 

It usually requires a psychiatric evaluation (and a physical exam) to diagnose bipolar disorder in a person. This evaluation charts the individual’s mood over time to arrive at a conclusive diagnosis. Described as a neurobiological brain disorder, the American mentalillness.org reports that about 2.3 million people in the country deal with this condition.

Treatment ranges from medications that stabilize moods, deal with anxiety, and suppress psychotic episodes. It requires lifelong management.

2. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

According to the American Psychiatric Association, PTSD is more common in females (10%) than in males (4%). Some circles attribute this to the belief that women blame themselves more after a traumatic experience. PTSD is a mental condition triggered after a person is directly involved in a life-altering experience. The classic symptoms are flashbacks of the trauma, severe anxiety, drastic mood swings, and in some instances, suicidal thoughts.

Some years ago, PTSD was (and still is) predominant in war veterans. However, it’s also common among persons who have suffered sexual abuse, had severe accidents, etc. Before a person is diagnosed with PTSD, they must have endured cyclical or consistent symptoms for at least one month. PTSD Treatment ranges from medication to practicing mindfulness. In other words, a treatment option for one person may not be the same for another because of differences in severity levels.  

3. Eating Disorders

Conditions such as bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa, and binge eating continue to rise among the American populace, with about 30 million adults enduring one form of it or the other. However, the American Psychiatric Association revealed that anorexia nervosa has a 10% mortality rate, making it the eating disorder with the highest death numbers. The signs and symptoms range from excessive exercise to binging, purging, feelings of low self-esteem, etc. Other classic symptoms are over-dependence on diuretics or laxatives, obsessive calorie counting, extreme weight loss, and refusal to eat in public.

A few decades ago, mental health was viewed as an embarrassing topic to discuss in the open. Fortunately, with a lot of awareness and sensitization, more people have come to terms with its prevalence. 

If you're a type 1 diabetic female, you are at a higher risk for an eating disorder. Please listen to our episode on diabulimia to find out more about this.

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About the author 


Life coach, author, podcast host, cat mom, wife, Ravenclaw, and semi-compulsive hiker living in the Montana Rockies.

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