Mental health issues are incredibly common in America. Nearly 1 in 5 adults struggle with a mental illness, ranging from anxiety and depression to bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. These illnesses significantly disrupt people’s day-to-day lives and overall well-being.
Some of the most common mental health disorders in the U.S. include:
- Anxiety disorders: Around 42.5 million Americans suffer from social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and PTSD. Anxiety can cause extreme fear, worry, and distress, interfering with everyday activities.
- Depressive disorders: Over 16 million Americans experience major depression, persistent sadness, and hopelessness that can last weeks or months.
- Bipolar disorder: Nearly 3% of Americans have bipolar disorder, involving dramatic mood and energy shifts impacting relationships and work. Manic episodes alternate with periods of depression.
- Schizophrenia: This severe mental illness affects over 2 million Americans, causing delusions, hallucinations, disordered thinking, and emotional unresponsiveness. Schizophrenia typically requires lifelong treatment.
The impact of mental health disorders on individuals, families, and society is devastating. Serious mental health conditions cost America over $193 billion in lost earnings annually. An estimated 45% of Americans will experience a mental health issue during their lifetime, so increasing awareness and access to treatment must be a top priority.
Common Signs of Mental Health Disorders
The signs of mental health disorders can often disrupt your daily life. Pay attention if you notice:
- Changes in sleep or appetite. If you’re sleeping or eating a lot more or less than usual, that could signal a problem.
- Difficulty concentrating. Feeling unfocused, distracted, or like your mind has gone blank can impact your work or school performance.
- Unexplained physical issues. Conditions like stomach problems, back pain, or headaches that don’t seem to have a clear cause could be related to your mental health.
- Irritability or mood changes. Feeling overly angry, sad, or worried for extended periods is not normal and should be addressed.
- Withdrawing from others. Pulling away from family and friends and no longer engaging in activities you used to enjoy can be a red flag.
Don’t ignore these signs. Speaking with a therapist or mental health professional is the first step to getting the right diagnosis and a treatment plan to help you start feeling like yourself again. Your mental health is just as important as your physical health, and with the proper care and management, you can learn coping strategies to minimize disruptions to your daily life.
Plan & Stick To A Routine
Creating a routine can help provide stability when dealing with mental health issues. Having structure and predictability in your day makes it easier to accomplish necessary tasks and avoid becoming overwhelmed.
- Start by going to bed and waking up at the same time each day, even on weekends. A consistent sleep schedule helps regulate your circadian rhythm and mood.
- Eat healthy, regular meals. Don’t skip breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Staying nourished gives your body and mind the energy it needs.
- Build in time for exercises like walking, yoga, or gardening. Take a quick 10-minute walk or do some simple stretches. Physical activity releases feel-good hormones that boost your mood and are a natural stress reliever.
- Limit screen time and social media. Too much TV, phone, and computer use can negatively impact your mental health and sleep quality. Take periodic breaks to unplug.
- Schedule leisure activities that you find meaningful, like reading, crafting, or calling a friend. Make time for hobbies and social interaction.
Sticking to a routine may be challenging, but it can help you gain awareness and control over your symptoms. Be kind to yourself if you slip up, and resume your regular schedule as soon as possible. With time and practice, maintaining a routine can get easier. The stability and self-care it provides will support your well-being in the long run.
Making your mental health a priority is key to coping with disorders impacting your daily life. Some important self-care steps to take include:
- Limit stressors. Reduce or eliminate things causing you anxiety, worry, or distress. Say no more often, and don’t feel guilty about it.
- Practice mindfulness. Spend time each day focused on your breathing and the present moment. This could be meditation, yoga, or simply sitting outside. Mindfulness reduces negative thoughts and increases calmness.
- Get enough sleep. Try to get at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night to allow your mind and body to rest. Lack of sleep exacerbates symptoms of many mental health conditions.
- Eat a healthy diet. A balanced diet can help improve your mood and ease symptoms caused by an unhealthy gut and digestive system. Try eating more whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. Limit sugar, caffeine, and processed choices.
- Exercise regularly. Even just 30 minutes a few times a week of walking or light activity releases endorphins to improve your mood and act as a natural anti-depressant. Find physical outlets you enjoy so you stick with it.
Making self-care a priority and habit is challenging but so important. Start with small changes and build from there. Be gentle with yourself and celebrate victories, no matter how small. When you put your needs first, your mental health and ability to handle daily life will improve over time.
Read more: Understanding Why Your Mental Health Matters
Find A Support System
A strong support system can make a difference when dealing with a mental health disorder. Connecting with others who understand what you’re going through can help reduce feelings of isolation and provide accountability.
Search online for mental health support groups in your area. Many are free or low-cost and meet regularly to provide empathy, advice, and a judgment-free space to share experiences. Connecting with people face to face can be very therapeutic.
If in-person groups aren’t possible or appealing, look for forums, message boards, and social networks centered around your condition. Anonymously sharing stories or just reading about others in similar situations can help you feel less alone. Be cautious about sharing personal details on public platforms, however.
Don’t go through this alone. Connecting with a strong support system of people who understand what you’re experiencing can help make living with a mental health condition more manageable and less isolating. There are many resources out there—you have to reach out.
Look Into Professional Help
When struggling with mental health issues, seeking professional help can be vital to your well-being. Mental health professionals are trained to properly assess what you’re experiencing and determine the best course of treatment. They can help you work through challenging emotions and give coping strategies for daily life. Don’t hesitate to try different therapists to find one you connect with.
Mental Health Housing Programs In Los Angeles
Mental health disorders can disrupt our lives in many ways, and it can be especially difficult for young adults trying to transition into independence, move out of their parents, and establish a foothold in life. Riviera Recovery’s mental health housing program is the perfect place for young adults to focus on their mental health without distractions like substances, toxic family dynamics, and environmental triggers.
We know how difficult it can be to take that first step, but you don’t have to go through this alone. Our admissions team can answer any preliminary questions and help you determine if our program is best for you.