As neglected as it is, your mental health is the sum total of your emotional, behavioral and psychological well being. It significantly controls how you perceive the stressors present in your environment and impacts your ability to make sound decisions. Knowing what mental health is, don’t you think that regular mental health examination and screening should be a necessary part of our lives?
In this article, we will explore questions like – Is mental health important? How does mental health affect physical health? What are the symptoms of depression? And how to discern the different stages of depression for early identification? Read along to find out.
How Mental Health Affects Physical Health
Although people are generally drawn to react to only what they see, one’s mental health is just as important as one’s physical wellbeing.
Furthermore, various psychological disorders like Schizophrenia and Bipolar Disorder are linked with respiratory diseases, insomnia and cardiovascular abnormalities. So, we can easily say that the congruence of your physical and mental health is NOT an anomaly.
Recent research studies contend that people with poor mental health suffer from serious conditions like sleep apnea, thus negatively affecting their stamina to perform simple daily tasks. Most importantly, the impact of debilitating mental health can sometimes become so gruesome that one finds it all the more difficult to deal with one’s chronic illnesses. In a way, the effect of poor mental health makes it challenging to overcome one’s poor physical health. That’s how dangerous poor mental health can turn out to be!
Depression in Teens
Increased stress and symptoms of depression are not only limited to adults. In recent times, poor mental health has been seen across the younger generations too.
A study by the Industrial Psychiatry Journal (2009) showed that 15.2% of school-going children were found to have symptoms of distress and as much as 18.4% of them were depressed (BDI score – e12).
This brings us to a vital question – Why are the numbers increasing when it comes to depression in teens? An obvious reason is the rising competition and the increased stress resulting from it. Moreover, the trends among adolescents are fast-changing and the generation gap between them and their parents widens more and more with each passing day. When teenagers don’t have anyone to confide in and can’t seem to cope with their changing surroundings, depression is quick to set in.
Did you know that depression is twice as common in female teens as compared to male teens?
What’s more? Continued ignorance of their symptoms of depression develops into feelings of inadequacy and worthlessness. In such cases, adolescents are more likely to take extreme steps like engaging in self-harm or suicide.
What are the symptoms of Depression?
Understanding what mental health is and how important a role it plays in your life, it is important to undergo basic mental health examination every once in a while. Look out for these 5 signs and symptoms of depression so that you can identify poor mental health amongst your friends and family.
1. Loss of appetite
Loss of interest in food and loss of motivation to eat is a common early sign of depression. However, different people react differently to mental stressors. An increased appetite and binging of food is also a common indicator of poor mental health.
2. Increased fatigue
Increased tiredness and fatigue is a clear indicator of depression. While temporary fatigue after a busy day is normal, prolonged fatigue for days at end can be a cause for worry. Immediately reach out to the concerned person if there are signs of prolonged fatigue.
3. Loss of interest in all activities
The most important symptom of depression is an individual’s loss of interest in all activities. Although we can’t expect people to be motivated every day to perform every activity, a complete disinterest in everything happening around is an oddity that shouldn’t be ignored.
Feelings of hopelessness and a lack of encouragement about one’s future is a clear sign of depression. If you know somebody who is constantly provoked by the thoughts of a hopeless future, it is advisable to reach out to a therapist at the earliest.
5. Suicidal thoughts
Suicidal thoughts are an extreme symptom of depression and the expression of the same cannot be taken lightly. Immediately reach out to a medical professional in case you or someone around you is experiencing suicidal thoughts.
Look out for the 5 signs and symptoms of depression around you. Remember that you or someone near and dear to you may benefit from your awareness.
Mental Health Examination & Identification at Early Stages
A mental health examination from time to time is a necessary step in the busy and fast-paced world that we’re living in now. Early identification of debilitating mental health can prevent its worsening impact and save you from ensuing suffering.
Early identification of depression and knowing what depression causes can be a huge determinant in the outcome of an individual’s emotional journey. Proper outreach and education from the grassroot level helps at-risk children and teenagers steer clear of substance abuse and self-harm.
Moreover, early identification with the help of mental health examination raises awareness among people from all age groups about the importance of stable mental health.
At the end of it, is mental health important? Absolutely. Mental health is as important as physical health and the two are largely interdependent. While ailing physical health can be identified from the outside, worsening mental health is often easy to overlook.
The changing times and the increasing gap between the older and the current generation is leading the latter to loneliness and depression. However, knowing the signs and symptoms of depression can be of great help in preventing adverse effects and helping someone come out of their state of despair.
Keep a lookout for yourself and your loved ones by being aware about what mental health is and how mental health affects physical health. Identifying the early onset of serious disorders like depression, anxiety and mania can help in extending timely aid in times of need.
The Author :
Dr. Sunil Khattri
Dr Sunil Khattri MBBS, MS(General Surgery), LLB, is a Medical doctor and is a practicing Advocate in the Supreme Court of India and National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission, New Delhi.