Approximately 43.8 million adults in the United States suffer from some form of mental illness.

That number may be much higher, due to the fact that many people are not educated about what mental illness is.

Throughout history, mental illness has had a negative connotation attached to it. The majority of people believed if you were “mentally ill” it meant you were insane.

Luckily in recent years, mental health awareness has spread and people are now understanding mental illness on a deeper level.

However, there’s still a long way to go. Many people don’t know what it means to live and function with a mental illness. It’s important for these patients to understand their illness so they can move forward and live their life to the fullest.

Understanding Mental Illness: What You Need to Know

If you’re diagnosed with a mental illness, or you believe you may be suffering from one, it’s important you understand what this means exactly.

You should know what causes mental illness and what the common types of mental illness. This is important so you can be treated by professionals such as these counselors.

What Causes Mental Illness?

While there is no singular cause of mental illness, there are contributing factors.

If you have a history of mental illness in your family, you’re at a much higher risk for developing that same illness in your lifetime.

This doesn’t mean that you are for sure going to suffer from the disease. Even if both your parents suffer from the same mental illness, it doesn’t mean you will too. However, it definitely increases the likelihood.

Another major factor in developing a mental illness is stressful life events. If you’ve experienced the death of someone you love, it can trigger strong emotions that change your brain chemistry.

If you’re a survivor of sexual assault, you’re also at much higher risk of developing a mental illness.

Another main cause of mental illness is the use of drugs. Using drugs can affect your brain chemistry and make you more likely to develop mental illness.

Common Types of Mental Illness

There are many mental illnesses that people suffer from, but it’s important to the 3 most common diseases.

Depression

Depression is the most well-known mental illness, but it’s actually only the third most commonly diagnosed. Major depressive disorder can be identified by these common symptoms:

  • Feeling sad or irritable every day
  • Lack of interest in your favorite hobbies or activities
  • Sudden weight loss or weight gain
  • Sleeping too much or hardly sleeping at all
  • Unusually tired due to a lack of energy
  • You feel guilty or worthless, like you have nothing to offer the world
  • You have difficulty concentrating or focusing
  • You have thoughts of self-harm or suicide

To be diagnosed with a major depressive disorder, you must have at least 5 of these symptoms occurring every day for at least two weeks straight.

Anxiety

Anxiety is the second most commonly diagnosed mental illness with 18% of adults in the United States suffering from the disease.

Anxiety can affect people in many ways, some may feel it mildly, while others are debilitated by the disease on a regular basis.

There are 4 different types of anxiety disorders: panic disorder, social anxiety, generalized anxiety, and specific phobias.

Panic disorder is defined as experiencing regular panic attacks that happen suddenly. Physical symptoms of panic attacks include sweating, difficulty breathing, and an increase in heart rate.

People who suffer from panic attacks experience impending doom which makes the panic attack even worse. Panic attacks can be so severe that many people believe they are actually dying.

Social Anxiety Disorder occurs when you feel overwhelming anxiety, fear, and self-consciousness when you’re around other people.

People who suffer from social anxiety will constantly be worried about what other people are thinking about them. They’ll try to blend in with everyone as much as possible to avoid being judged or embarrassed.

General Anxiety Disorder applies to those people who feel a general sense of excessive worry that can easily spiral out of control. This worry isn’t caused by anything in particular and can come up out of nowhere.

Specific Phobias are fears that people have about something like heights, driving, or the ocean. These phobias will cause people to feel an unreasonable fear that others who don’t have the phobia will not feel.

Substance Abuse Disorder

Otherwise known as drug addiction, this is the most commonly diagnosed mental illness in the United States, affecting over 21 million adults.

Drug addiction occurs when you have a physical or mental need to continue taking a drug beyond when it’s medically necessary.  Consider a Treatment Management Behavioral Health center.

If you don’t take the drug regularly you will experience mental and physical symptoms that are extremely unbearable. You will also feel the need to increase your dose to receive the same effects of the drug.

Addiction is a disease that you will battle for a lifetime. No matter how many years sober you are, there will always be an intense urge to use again.

Additional Mental Illnesses to Know

There are tons of mental health diseases out there, and it’s important to touch on a few more.

PTSD affects millions of people every year, many of which are veterans, and goes largely untreated. Over 40,000 people commit suicide each year from PTSD.

PTSD causes a lot of the same symptoms as depression and anxiety. In addition, patients have to relive the trauma that caused the PTSD. This occurs through physiological reactions, psychological distress, flashbacks, and recurring nightmares.

Bipolar Disorder is another severe mental illness that is defined by extreme highs (manic episodes) and extreme lows (depressive episodes).

When experiencing a low, bipolar patients will have the same symptoms as someone who is depressed. When experiencing mania, patients will be abnormally upbeat and active, have an increase in self-confidence, and poor decision making.

Schizophrenia is a severe mental illness that affects over 1% of the population. People who suffer from schizophrenia will often experience hallucinations, delusions, confused thoughts, and weird movements.

For More Information

It’s important for everyone to have an accurate understanding of mental illness so it can be recognized and treated.

For help on understanding health and well-being, check out our health blog for more information.

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6 Most Useful Skills Every Entrepreneur Needs

Starting a business – and being successful at it – requires the right amount of talent, knowledge and skills. You must have the knowledge about your industry, about general business principles, as well as about the laws and regulations that affect your operation.

Additionally, you must have nerves of steel and a heavy dose of patience to take chances and navigate the ups and downs that come with any new venture.

Although success often requires you to have ambition and clear goals, it also requires a certain set of personal skills. Here you will read about six useful skills that entrepreneurs need on their way to success.

1. Ability to listen

Great communicators make great businesspeople. In the business world, you must establish rapport with partners and suppliers. You also need to be there for your employees.

Of course, in order to succeed, you need to commit to customer service excellence, which involves hearing what your customers have to say. All these types of interaction involve one common skill – the ability to listen.

Without the capacity to interact with other people, you will have difficulty getting your new business off the ground. If you have little practice with interpersonal relationships, don’t lose hope.

By learning how to listen, you take one of the best shortcuts available on the path to becoming a great communicator.

When people have something to say, never interrupt them. People often have feelings, opinions, and interests that differ from yours, but if you learn to hear them out, you can quickly win people over.

As you listen attentively, notice the non-verbal cues that contribute to the conversation. When you intentionally communicate with customers and other people through listening, you gain their trust, loyalty, and admiration.

2. Assertiveness and confidence

Though listening skills are undeniably important, that doesn’t mean you have to keep quiet. Quite the contrary, being a good businessperson implies believing in yourself and being able to speak your mind with confidence. After all, communication goes two ways.

As an aspiring entrepreneur, you will often find yourself in situations that require assertiveness. Whether you are dealing with a pushy business partner or a demanding employee, you should never let others dictate your actions.

So, when you need to express your opinion – even if it includes disagreeing with the other party – try to do it assertively and confidently.

Take a deep breath, and articulate your thoughts. Sometimes it might seem overwhelming, as if you are on the verge of a conflict, but eventually you will learn to relax and project self-assurance. You will also gain the trust and respect of those around you.

3. Willingness to Learn

Being a businessperson requires an ongoing willingness to learn. Even after building a successful business, you have not finished your job. In fact, when it comes to learning and improving, you are never quite finished.

Continuous learning will help you evolve both personally and professionally. An insatiable appetite for learning through the Internet, books, documentaries, and seminars will deepen your knowledge and help you maintain your creative edge.

You should also remember to stay up-to-date with all the relevant development in your industry. Pay attention to trends and issues that affect your line of business and learn from the people who have already succeeded in businesses similar to yours.

Talk to industry leaders to get their advice, and apply their insight to your own business. Whatever you do, make learning an ongoing process both in your personal and professional life.

4. Creativity 

When it comes to keeping your business fresh and competitive, creativity is an essential skill. To innovate, you need to be creative. Being creative means doing things differently and thinking not only outside the box but also without that box!

This goes for both your personal life and business. In fact, those two are interconnected – when you spark creativity in your personal life, it will inevitably reflect on your business. So, what can you do?

What you can do is shake up your routine by trying new ways of doing things. Even small changes such as rearranging your office, driving home via a new route, ordering an unusual meal and talking to strangers can help you develop habits that can lead to innovation.

You should also attempt to think about things from new perspectives and apply new ways of solving problems. A little bit of creativity can go a long way in terms of your business growth, so do everything you can not to stifle it with convention and routine.

5. Courage and risk taking 

Entrepreneurs take risks, and you will surely find yourself in situations that require quick and risky decision making. You should never act recklessly, but you should always have the courage to try new ideas and to take little risks. If you don’t try, you will not succeed – it is that simple.

People are often held back by the fear of failure. Rather than fearing failure, embrace it. Sometimes the best experiences in business come from ideas that didn’t work.

Follow your creativity by implementing new ideas and making bold decisions even when you lack clear direction. As an entrepreneur, you should have the guts to take chances and have faith. As John Burroughs once said, “Leap, and the net will appear.”

6. Perseverance 

Last but not least, entrepreneurs must never give up. Remember this – never give up! There will be numerous obstacles and challenges along your way, but if you persevere in spite of them, you will reap success.

Sometimes this means having to accept failure. Even when your failures are expensive and embarrassing, they can still lead to success. Forgive yourself when you make mistakes and look for lessons you can learn from every seemingly negative experience.

As a business owner, you must also develop patience. Success usually does not come overnight, and setbacks do not magically resolve themselves. In the face of adversity, maintain optimism. When you believe in yourself and persevere, you become a prime candidate for success.

Difficulties along the road to entrepreneurial success can seem discouraging. However, if you regard every situation as a learning experience, you can develop the much needed personal skills that will help you build a successful business when you combine them with your expert knowledge.

Begin with the six useful skills listed here, and look for other tips for personal and professional growth along your pathway to success. Most importantly, remember to always improve and challenge yourself – there is no success for those who stand still.

Author bio: Natalie Smith, a freelance writer from Seattle, follows topics related to entrepreneurship, leadership, marketing, social media, and business in general. You can reach her @Natalie Smith

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10 Healthy Snacks for Athletes

If you are an athlete, the best way to abide by a healthy lifestyle is to remain focused on your goals and of course your diet. To avoid the temptation of unhealthy snack choices, here are 10 beneficial snacks for athletes like you irrespective of what your game is.