May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and while the stigma surrounding mental health disorders seems to be lessening a bit, many women live with an undiagnosed mental health issue.
According to the American Psychiatric Association, one in five women in the U.S. has a mental health issue such as depression or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). While some women are unaware that they have a mental health disorder, some women suspect they do but are too afraid of seeking treatment or being “labeled.”
To raise awareness for mental health and to help all women, here are some signs and symptoms that may indicate a mental health disorder. With this information, you may be encouraged to make an appointment with your doctor and take the necessary steps to getting the help you need and deserve.
What Causes Mental Illness?
Mental health is just as important as physical health, but fewer people will take action to treat and care for a mental health disorder.
Like physical health issues, mental health disorders can stem from a variety of factors from genetics, biochemical imbalances, environmental stress, and even an injury such as a traumatic brain injury.
Are You Having a Bad Day or is it Something More?
We all have bad days and depending on what’s going on in our lives, some of us have a lot of bad days. Do you ever worry that your string of bad days is something more serious like a mental health issue?
Keep in mind that all mental health issues have different symptoms and even one woman with depression may have different experiences or feelings than another woman with depression. Here are a few signs that your “bad day” may be something more:
- You aren’t sleeping well
- You have suicidal thoughts
- You are detached from friends, family, activities
- You start abusing drugs or alcohol
- You have highs and lows or extreme feelings
- You have a constant feeling of hopelessness or dread
It’s important to remember that the symptoms listed above are just a few that could indicate a mental health disorder. Any symptom that is worrisome and persists should get checked by a healthcare professional.
In many cases, you will visit your general healthcare provider, and then they will help you decide the next step, such as talking to a mental health professional.
You will likely discuss your health history, lifestyle factors, any stressors, relationships, and even past personal injuries such as traumatic brain injuries.
Take Care of Your Mental Health All Year Round
Although Mental Health Awareness Month is a great way to raise awareness for an important health issue, you don’t need to (nor should you) wait until May to assess your mental health. Living for years with an undiagnosed and untreated mental health issue can not only decrease your quality of life but can also worsen over the years making it more difficult to assess and treat.
Getting help and finding the right treatment for your mental health can help you live your best life and ensure whole body health.