I would like to talk about mental health
It is just as important as physical health, and often the two are intertwined.
The brain is highly complex, and is influenced by many factors including genetics, trauma, & hormones to name a few. When external or internal factors impact the brain, especially over time, the ability to self-regulate and recover in a whole, functional manner is compromised.
At that point, one may develop signs and symptoms of depression and/or anxiety:
• Increased or decreased appetite/weight loss or gain
• Irritability, sadness, excessive crying, restlessness
• Lack of interest in things, apathy, social isolation
• Insomnia or excessive sleeping
• Lack of concentration, fatigue, loss of motivation, panic, heart-racing
• Feelings of helplessness, discontent, thoughts of suicide
I like to explain to my patients that they have a treatable condition: I use the analogy of diabetes. If I told them their pancreas was not making enough insulin- and they would need to treat their condition by multiple factors including: taking medicine, increasing exercise, changing their diet, seeing a diabetic educator, and following up with specialists to make sure their heart, eyes, kidneys remain ok- they would do it.
Mental health treatment responds to the same approach. Medications, including SSRI’s can have a quick impact. Therapy helps understand the diagnosis, learn skills to improve coping mechanisms, and lead towards long-term improvement. Exercise increases serotonin and other important “feel good” neurotransmitters.” Self-regulation therapies: meditation, mindfulness, support groups add to cognitive healing. Sleep is critical. The approach is multi-factorial, but the impact is life-changing.