Mental health disorders can be as distressing to sufferers and loved ones as physical illnesses, but they are often overlooked or dismissed. That is not because mental and behavioral health issues are uncommon or difficult to see.
It is because they often seem like personality problems or adjustment issues and many people brush them under the rug. Unfortunately, the stigma that comes with such a disorder is widespread and can prevent people from seeking help.
However, people with these disorders and their families need not feel isolated, millions of Americans deal with mental and behavioral health disorders each year.
The Most Common Mental Health Disorders
Mental health disorders are illnesses that can affect mood, sleep, behavior, relationships, motivation, emotions, concentration and the ability to care for oneself. In many cases, they are mild and affect sufferers only minimally.
In other cases, they are debilitating and can have a long-term impact on an individual’s ability to achieve success at work or in life. Thankfully, there are therapy options that can make a huge impact on how much a disorder interferes with your life.
Roughly 15 million people in the United States suffer from some level of social anxiety, making it the most prevalent anxiety disorder. However, social anxiety can be a symptom of other anxiety disorders or be triggered by another anxiety disorder.
Furthermore, some cases are not technically a disorder, as they do not interfere with the sufferer’s life significantly enough for it to be termed such. An astonishing 19.2 have specific phobias, but these are usually not considered a disorder unless the phobia pertains to something one encounters very often or it interferes with everyday life.
Depression is by far the most debilitating mental health disorder in America and the world over. An estimated 14.8 million American adults are diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder each year. More people ages 15 to 44 are affected by it than any other malady.
People with anxiety will often become depressed and other co-occurring conditions are also common.
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Perhaps thanks to the recent wars and the increase in terrorism across the world, post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is currently the third leading mental health disorder in the United States. About 7.7 million Americans suffer from PTSD each year.
As another anxiety disorder, it helps anxiety top the charts as the most prevalent type of mental health disorder in the United States. These are highly treatable conditions and may respond to behavioral health therapy, often as well as or better than to medication alone.
Even these highly prevalent and sometimes debilitating mental health disorders are treatable. Loved ones, counselors and doctors can come together to formulate and implement helpful methods for healing.
Many different types of therapies are available, from behavior modification to psychotherapy (talk therapy) to medication. It is best to discuss a possible treatment plan with a behavioral health professional.
Ben Brafman, LMHC, CAP is the President and CEO of Sylvia Brafman Mental Health Center, a licensed mental Health treatment center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Ben has more than 20 years of experience in the addiction and mental health fields, which led him to develop a combination of innovative treatment protocols at The Sylvia Brafman Mental Health Center.
He has been published on various topics including dual diagnosis and chemical dependency, and gives back to the community by educating other addiction counselors at his Academy for Addiction Professionals.