1 in 5 American adults
will have a diagnosable mental health condition in any given year.
When mental illness is talked about in the following terms, I feel it helps normalize it a little by making it more like other illnesses. It also signifies the severity of mental illness if left untreated. We need to become more proactive with the prevention and treatment of mental illness.
B4 Stage 4
When we think about cancer, heart disease or diabetes, we don’t wait years to treat these illnesses. We begin with prevention. When people are in the first stage of those disease and are beginning to show signs or symptoms like a persistent cough, high blood pressure or high blood sugar, we try immediately to reverse the symptoms. We don’t ignore them. In fact, we develop a plan of action to reverse and sometimes stop the progression of the disease. So why don’t we do the same for individuals who are dealing with potentially serious mental illness?
50% of Americans
will meet the criteria for a diagnosable mental health condition sometime in their life and half of those people will develop conditions by the age of 14.
Stages of Mental Health Conditions
Stage 1: Mild symptoms and warning signs.
At stage 1, a person begins to show symptoms of a mental health condition, but still has the ability to function at home, work or school—although perhaps not as easily as before before they started to show symptoms. Often there is a sense that something is “not right.”
Stage 2: Symptoms increase in severity and interfere with life activites and roles.
At stage 2, it usually becomes obvious that something is wrong. A person’s symptoms may become stronger and last longer or new symptoms may appear on top of the existing symptoms, creating a ripple effect. Performance at work or school will become more difficult, and a person may have trouble keeping up with family duties, social obligations or personal responsibilities.
Stage 3: Symptoms worsen with relapsing and recurring episodes accompanied by serious disruption in life activities and roles.
At stage 3, symptoms have continued to increase in severity, and many symptoms are often taking place at the same time. A person may feel as though they are losing control of their life and the ability to fill their roles at home, work or school.
Stage 4: Symptoms are persistent and severe and have jeopardized one’s life.
By stage 4, the combinations of extreme, prolonged and persistent symptoms and impairment often results in development of other health conditions and has the potential to turn into a crisis like unemployment, hospitalization, homelessness or even incarceration. In the worst cases, untreated mental illness can lead to loss of life an average of twenty-five years early.
Remember you DO NOT have to reach rock bottom before getting help.
Copyright © Mental Health America October 2018
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