How Important Is It to Recognize Your Risk Factors for Mental Health Conditions?

How Important Is It to Recognize Your Risk Factors for Mental Health Conditions?

Mental health and personality disorders are numerous and varied. Examples include depression, anxiety, bipolar, borderline, antisocial and panic attacks. Medical professionals treat mental health conditions using medications, therapies and lifestyle changes that help reduce symptoms, identify triggers and empower individuals to live a normal life. Despite having numerous treatment options available, many people fail to recognize an emerging mental health disorder or refuse to accept the signs. This allows the disorder to grow, fester and negatively influence numerous areas of life, and recognizing the risk factors and symptoms allows people to take the necessary steps if symptoms emerge.

Recognizing Mental Health Risks

Inherited genetic traits, environmental exposures and brain chemistry all play a potential role in mental health disorders. According to the Mayo Clinic website, several factors can potentially increase mental health risks, including the following:

  • Close biological relatives (e.g., parent, grandparent or sibling) with mental health issues
  • Brain damage caused by a traumatic head injury such as a violent hit to the head
  • Unhealthy experiences in the womb such as exposure to viruses, toxins, drugs or alcohol
  • Extreme life situations such as financial stress, divorce, a chronic medical condition, military combat, traumatic abuse or the death of a loved one
  • The use of illicit drugs, difficulties relating to others and previous mental health issues

The Mayo Clinic adds that about 25% of adults in the US experience a mental health issue in a given year, and about 50% develop a mental health disorder in their lifetime. The symptoms vary according to the mental health disorder, but there are several common signs, including the following:

  • Sudden shift toward sleeping too much or new difficulties falling asleep
  • Appetite changes that motivate overeating or an extended loss of appetite
  • Problems concentrating and accomplishing tasks that previously seemed easy
  • Inability to suppress negative thoughts, emotions and feelings of guilt and self-loathing
  • Decreased interest in daily activities, hobbies and pastimes that previously brought joy
  • Growing levels of agitation that cause a short temper and low tolerance toward others
  • A loss of energy epitomized by feeling fatigued, sluggish and drained
  • Unexplained physical discomforts such as headaches, sore muscles and back pain

Mental health conditions can also manifest as behavioral signs such as socially withdrawing from friends or pursuing escapist behaviors like substance abuse, reckless driving and pathological gambling.

Reasons to Treat Mental Health

Anyone who carefully considers the symptoms can see the potential problems that an untreated mental health disorder can cause, including strained social relationship, employment issues and deteriorating physical health. There are several additional reasons to pursue treatment, including the following:

  • Early mental health interventions help prevent further progression of the disorder
  • Professional treatment for mental health disorders might provide workplace protections
  • Untreated mental health disorders commonly lead to substance abuse and addiction
  • An addiction in turn will exacerbate the mental health issue

Substance abuse is both a risk factor and symptom of a mental disorder because the two conditions appear to share similar neurobiological abnormalities. The addiction may precede or follow the disorder, but they commonly occur in tandem. For this reason, rehab centers typically provide integrated treatment that addresses both issues at once.

Mental Health and Addiction Help

Call our toll-free helpline available 24 hours a day if you need help with a mental health disorder or substance abuse problem. Our admissions coordinators can discuss risks factors, warning signs and treatment options, and if you have health insurance, we can check the policy for benefits. If you need help, please call now.