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Mental Health Awareness Month – May 2022

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and if you don’t know the importance of maintaining good mental health, you’re not alone. Many of us struggle from time to time, or even often, with feelings of anxiety and depression. Since it is relatively common to have these feelings, we forget that others don’t have such an easy time getting back to feeling “normal” or okay. 

However, the numbers (approximately 50 million Americans) of people who struggle with constant anxiety or depression are staggering. Without help to deal with these feelings, many find that the effects on their everyday lives can become nearly debilitating.

Effects of untreated mental health issues

Some will tell you that they have anxiety, and you may think that they are nervous, but their condition is often more than just nervousness. The same can be said for those who struggle with depression. They aren’t sad in the way that most of us see sadness. Anxiety and depression are two of the more common and untreated mental health conditions.

Left untreated, a person with anxiety can become worse and reach a point where they can’t enjoy everyday activities because of their fear and worry. When a person struggles with anxiety, they can often develop depression.

Many times, when left untreated, such conditions can feel like prisons. Too often, those who struggle with them turn to using alcohol or drugs – self-medication – to try to feel better and cope. By doing this, they might develop addictions to the substances that were meant to make them feel better.

While addiction is one of the potential effects of untreated mental health issues, there are also physical consequences, such as immune system issues, binge eating, cardiovascular problems, and aches and pains.

Spotting the signs

Whether you’re thinking about your mental health or worried about the mental health of a loved one, it helps to know some of the signs of mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression. These signs can be indicators that you may need treatment, but also consider visiting a health care practitioner to diagnose your condition.

Anxiety or depression could be occurring if you or your loved one has

  • Constant worries, stress, or anxiety
  • Intense and often extreme mood swings
  • Frequent outbursts of intense anger or distress
  • Continued feelings of sadness, emptiness, and unhappiness
  • Sleep disturbances, including too much or too little sleep
  • Dramatic weight changes and eating habits
  • Feelings of detachment and disconnection from friends and family
  • Loss of ability to function in everyday life
  • Changes in personality and behavior
  • Suicidal thoughts

While these are just a few of the signs of mental health conditions, it’s vital to encourage loved ones who are struggling to seek treatment, and if you’re the one who can relate to many of the signs, it may be time for you to seek help.

Mental Health Awareness Month is intended to remind struggling people that they’re not alone. There are no reasons to be ashamed or suffer in silence. This May, we should all prioritize taking care of our mental health.

Sources – Adult Ranking 2022 – Long-Term Effects of Untreated Mental Illness – Proclamation on National Mental Health Awareness Month 2022 – Mental Illness Signs

Medical disclaimer:

Sunshine Behavioral Health strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

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