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mental illness

Everything You Need to Know About Mental Illness, Symptoms, Causes and Care Methods

Mental illness can affect anyone. What’s important is to know how to get help, no matter what type of mental illness one is struggling with. Look for the best mental health treatment centers in California. Mental illness can be treated and recovery is possible. Many people believe that mental health problems will never happen to them, yet mental illness is more common than you would think. In 2020, Approximately 1-5 adults experienced a mental health problem, while nearly half of those in the US will experience one sometime in their life.

What is Mental Health?

Mental health refers to matters of cognitive, psychological, behavioral, and emotional prosperity. The state of our mental health can determine or affect many things about us, from our perceptions and thoughts of people, places, and ideas to the behaviors we exhibit.

Why is it Important?

In times of good mental health, we may experience levels of calmness, contentment and composure while under pressure. When mental health is poor, however, it is common for people to experience, unhealthy levels of stress, emotional instability, and overwhelming negative thoughts.

Enduring mental health issues can disrupt one’s life, in a number of ways. On a lower scale, mental health issues make you unproductive and distracted. But at their worst, they can completely rob an individual of their ability to function.

A person with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) for example, may regularly give in to their anxiousness and stay home instead of going out with friends. They may also opt to stay in their comfort zone and miss out on great opportunities in life.

Someone with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), may double, triple or quadruple check their work. They may also hyper-focus on one specific aspect of a project. This can lead their coworkers and employers to feel that they are unprepared or irresponsible.

An individual with major depressive disorder (MDD) might lose interest in doing most things including eating, grooming, or seeing other people. Where other people see inspiration or opportunity, they may only see despair.

These are just a few examples of how mental health disorders rob us of our ability to choose, succeed, and enjoy life. By practicing awareness about mental health challenges, individuals are more likely to take the steps necessary treat them.

Factors affecting Mental Health

Factors affecting Mental Health


Experts have noticed that mental disorders run in families, but since families share so many other things in common, a genetic link can be difficult to pin down. With new breakthroughs in genetic research, however, this is changing. Recently scientists, have isolated two genes believed to play a role in the development of mental illnesses.

Genes CACNA1C and CACNB2 have been linked to bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, major depressive disorder and other psychological illnesses. Researchers have also isolated chromosomal variations that further indicate mental illness is at least partially dependent on your genetic makeup.


When it comes to the development of mental illnesses, environmental factors include everything else that happens to us that we aren’t born with. Whether in the womb, or as children and adults, these circumstances shape us.

Even aspects about our lives that we take for granted can impact our mental state. Some examples of environmental factors include:


  • Upbringing (living in an abusive or controlling household)
  • Being of a lower socio-economic status
  • Family disfunction
  • Abrupt life changes
  • Traumatic experiences
  • Death of a close family member
  • Having low self esteem
  • Living in a place low sunshine
  • Cultural expectations


  • Poor nutrition
  • Irregular sleeping patterns
  • Pollution
  • Infection
  • Living or working in toxic conditions
  • Damage in the womb
  • Drug abuse

Another significant concern facing mental health is public perception. Public perception shapes not only who will get treatment but also who can. Compared to other first world countries, mental health care in the US is still inadequate but it has improved in recent years. For instance, under the Affordable Care Act, insurance companies must provide mental healthcare coverage.

In many cases they will cover intensive outpatient mental health programs (IOPs) but there are still limitations. When it comes to inpatient mental health programs, most insurance companies will not cover them. Additionally, there are still areas in the US where it is either difficult or nearly impossible to find an in-network mental healthcare professional.

It also means that despite the need for a continuum of care for mental health patients cost and availability may prevent a person from attaining necessary mental health treatment.

Signs of Having a Mental health Issue

Signs of a mental health problem can be subtle at first and change overtime–making it hard to gauge the severity of the issue. Some illnesses like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder can occur without warning.

It’s likely that you know yourself very well; use this to your advantage. The first step in determining if a mental health issue is occurring, is to take stock of any abnormal changes in your thoughts or behaviors. Here are some examples of changes to look out for.

  • Unstable or Rapidly Changing Moods
  • Prolonged Feelings of Sadness
  • Lethargy
  • Eating Excessively or Not Eating Enough
  • Suicidal Thoughts
  • Feeling Dependent on Substances (Substance Addiction or Abuse)
  • Being Unable to Sleep or Sleeping A lot
  • Feeling Overwhelmed by Daily Tasks and Challenges
  • Experiencing Hallucinations, Paranoia or Psychosis
  • Secluding Oneself from Others
  • Being Prone to Anger or Violence
  • Finding it Difficult or Impossible to Relate to Others

What Should I Do If I think I have a mental Health Problem?

At this stage, people often second guess themselves. You may wonder: Should I get treatment? And then dismiss the idea shortly after. If you suspect you are experiencing mental health problems, the best thing you can do is talk to your doctor. From there they can give you a referral for a mental healthcare specialist.

The good news is, with the help of clinical counseling programs, medication or a combination of both, most mental illnesses are treatable, and some can even disappear over time.

Substance abuse and mental illness often go hand in hand. If you or a loved one is experiencing mental health and substance abuse issues call Valley Detox Center today at (844) 402-3505.


5 Surprising Mental Health Statistics. Mental Health First Aid. (2019, February 6). Retrieved December 13, 2021, from

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2015, May 15). Common Genetic Factors Found in 5 Mental Disorders. National Institutes of Health. Retrieved December 13, 2021, from