Mental health problems are one of the most prevalent health issues in the world. Each year in the US alone, 43.8 million adults are affected by mental health problems – that equates to one in five adults suffering from a mental health condition.
Mental health problems are a common problem in the US, with just over 18% of the population affected by them. The effects of mental health problems can be short lived and only continue for a short period, however, in some cases, they become long-term problems that impact a person throughout life.
How long a mental health problem will last depends on a range of factors and variables, like the cause of the problem, for instance. Many people don’t realize it, but there are certain factors that can increase the likelihood that a person will develop a mental health problem.
There are six main factors that can increase a person’s risk of developing a mental health condition – these are listed below.
Studies have shown that having a close blood relative with a mental health disorder, such as a parent or sibling, increases a person’s risk of developing mental health problems themselves. However, usually, this link only increases the risk of developing the same mental health disorder as the blood relative has, it doesn’t increase the risk of all mental health problems. For example, if a person’s mother sufferers from schizophrenia, then that person would also be at risk of developing the same condition. The fact is that genetics play a big part in mental health, and can determine how likely a person is to develop a mental health problem. That being said, just because a family member has a mental illness, it’s not inevitable that other close family members will go onto develop it as well. Even identical twins that share the same DNA don’t always develop the same genetic health conditions as each other.
It’s been proven that not only can stress exacerbate existing mental health problems, but that it can also cause new ones to occur. That being said, being under pressure is a normal part of life and something that the human body is made to cope with. However, when the stresses and strains of daily life become too much, that’s when stress can impact a person’s mental health. The two most common mental health problems linked to stress are anxiety and depression. However, that’s not to say that stress can’t cause other issues as well because it can.
- Chronic medical conditions
Doctors believe that an ongoing chronic illness, such as diabetes, IBD, or arthritis, can cause mental health problems. Living with a chronic illness can knock a person’s confidence, cause them to feel sad, scared, and stressed, which can lead to the development of a mental health problem like anxiety or depression. Therapy tends to be the best treatment method in these instances.
Traumatic events are explained as events that put a person or a loved one at risk of serious harm or even death. These kinds of events can have a long-lasting impact on a person and can lead to mental health problems such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety. Regardless of whether the person or their loved one was injured in any way, trauma can have a long-lasting impact on mental health.
- Alcohol or drug use
Using recreational drugs or alcohol on a constant basis can not only exacerbate existing mental health problems but can also cause new ones to develop. When a person sufferers from both a mental health problem and drug or alcohol abuse it’s known as co-occuring disorder and can be serious, especially if it’s allowed to develop over time. Should a person want to get treatment for a co-occuring disorder, the good news is that there are various treatment options available, many of which are highly successful. However, like with all medical treatment, it can take time to work and be effective.
- Being unable to form healthy relationships
Research has suggested that people who struggle to form healthy social relationships are more at risk of suffering from mental health problems. Most people function best when their need for social interaction is met, and without it being met it can impact their wellness and mental health in a range of ways. Studies have shown that when a person’s social needs aren’t met, their stress hormones go into overdrive, which could be where the link between being unable to form unhealthy relationships and mental health problems lies.