Mental health, an indispensable facet of the holistic health care system is often overlooked as a scourge on the general wellbeing of an individual. It is increasingly being understood that good mental health for a person goes a long way in alleviating or preventing other kind of ailments such as stomach ulcers and hypertension whose onset and progression may be pegged to stress levels experienced by individual in their daily living.
According to the world health organization, mental health includes “subjective wellbeing, perceived self-efficacy, autonomy, competence, inter-generational dependence, and self-actualization of ones’ intellectual and emotional potential, among others”.
Anxiety disorders, which are one of the most common subtypes of poor mental health are a group of mental disorders characterized by feelings of anxiety and fear that build up to levels that impair an individual’s ability of lead a normal life. Anxiety disorders may include generalized anxiety disorders, selective autism, panic disorder, agoraphobia, separation anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder and specific disorder.
Symptoms usually include stress that’s out of proportion to the impact of the event that causes it, also the inability to set aside worry which is synonymous with general restlessness. In some individuals, more that one of the anxiety disorders manifests at the same time.
Anxiety disorders are usually self-diagnosable as a condition, or even an expertly drafted questionnaire that is result oriented can give great insight to health care professionals to determine what sort of anxiety disorder is being faced by an individual.
People may experience symptoms that may be categorized as follows:
- Behavioral: This may manifest with hyper vigilance, irritability and restlessness.
- Cognitive: This manifests withlack of concentration, racing thoughts and undesirable thoughts.
- Whole body: This manifest with generalized fatigue or sweating.
- Also common:Excessive worry, fear, insomnia, nausea, palpitations, or trembling
Non pharmacological treatment, which is usually first line includes counseling which may advice of life style and health promoting habits. Treatment also includes medications like antidepressants which are prescribed by qualified medical personnel.
Health promoting habits that may be adopted may include:
- Avoid alcohol which may be harmful and aggravate certain conditions
- Reduce caffeine intake
- Physical exercise: Aerobic activity for 20-30 minutes 5 days a week improves cardiovascular health
- Relaxation technique: Deep breathing, yoga, rhythmic exercise and other activities that reduce the symptoms of stress
- Stress management: Pursuing an enjoyable activity or verbalizing frustration to reduce stress and improve mental health.
- Healthy diet: A diet that provides essential nutrients and adequate calories while avoiding excess sugar, carbohydrates and fatty foods.
Other interventions to alleviate symptoms include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy: A talk therapy focused on modifying negative thoughts, behavior and emotional responses associated with psychological distress comes handy in alleviating symptoms.
- Meditation: Improves mental health and helps with relaxation
- Psychotherapy: Management of mental or behavioral disorders through talk therapy
Pharmacotherapy interventions which must be initiated by qualified medical professionals include Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), Anxiolytics, antidepressants, sedative, and nerve pain medication.