One in five American adults experienced some type of mental health condition in 2013.
Mental health involves emotional, psychological and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel and act, including how we handle stress and make choices. People who are mentally healthy are also better able to cope with other health challenges.
It’s common for people to feel down once in a while and worry about family, work and other matters. But you may have a mental health condition if you have had these symptoms for more than a few days:
- Too little or too much eating or sleeping
- Withdrawing from people and usual activities
- Low or no energy
- Persistent bad thoughts, memories
- Intensified fears
- Unexplained aches
- Increased use of tobacco or alcohol
- Mood swings that cause relationship problems
If you’ve been experiencing these symptoms, there is help. Consider seeing your health care provider. He or she will first identify your specific factors and conditions, and then create a treatment plan.
Treatment choices may include:
- Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Check with your employer to see if EAP is offered.
- Therapy with trained mental health professionals
- Support-group participation that is completely confidential
- Peer support from those who have suffered from similar conditions
- Medications to help manage symptoms. If your doctor thinks prescriptions will help, there are Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved options that improve certain chemical brain messengers
Most people recover with a combination of therapy and medication, and achieve stronger overall health. This dual approach also gives people proven coping tools to continue thriving.
Remember, anxiety, depression and other mental health conditions are real diseases. Please do not hesitate to seek help.
Denise Pinkney is an editor in the Communications department at Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota.