The month of May is Mental Health Month! I believe mental health is a very important topic that is at times ignored. A few tips may help when you think about mental health conditions.
- Mental health conditions are medical conditions. Meaning just like diabetes or high blood pressure is caused by organ dysfunction; mental health conditions can be caused by brain dysfunction. They are not just emotions.
- Imaging the brain of people with several mental health conditions including depression and anxiety actually show physical changes of the brain. Early treatment might help avoid or reduce the risk of these changes that cause brain damage.
- Mental health conditions are common. Affecting about 18%, almost 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. on any given year. Mental illness can begin at any age, from childhood to later adult years, but most cases begin earlier in life.
- The effects of mental illness may be temporary or long lasting. It is possible to have more than one mental health disorder at the same time.
Mood disorders (particularly depression) and anxiety disorders are the most common mental health conditions, affecting over 6% of the U.S adult population in any given year. They are often triggered by life stressors and tend to run in families. Treatment can take different forms including healthy diet and exercise, meditation, therapy especially cognitive behavioral therapy, and medication.
If you are depressed or anxious, it is helpful to work with your physician to come up with a comprehensive treatment plan. If the plan includes medication, be patient, as it may take time to find the right medication and dose that works perfectly for you. Don’t stop your medication without communicating with your doctor. With close, frequent communication with a trusted doctor you are likely to find a regimen that works well for you. Don’t delay, take care of your mental health today!
About the Author
Dr. Adelola Ashaye is a board-certified family physician and owner of InTouch Primary Care in Sugar Land, TX. She is a graduate of Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago and MacNeal Family Medicine Residency in Berwyn, IL. She launched her practice out of the desire to truly meet the health care needs of her patients. She considers it a privilege to care for her patients and desires that they can trust her, that they feel comfortable and safe, and that they are reassured by her.