Mental health issues present a significant challenge for women of all ages. In fact, a recent study found that nearly one in four women struggle with some form of mental illness. And while young women between the ages of 17 and 19 are as much as twice as likely to develop mental health issues, the problem isn’t age specific. With mental illness on the rise at nearly every age, understanding the most common challenges and what can be done to improve mental health is an important step toward reversing the current trend.
Most Common Mental Health Issues for Women
Many women neglect to seek treatment for mental health concerns because they feel like they’re alone in the struggle or should be able to deal with it on their own. While many mental health issues can be isolating, they are more common than most women might think, and there is often comfort in understanding that others may be dealing with the same or similar challenges. In fact, several mental health conditions occur far more often in women and have a significant impact – one that cannot be managed without an effective course of treatment – on women’s overall health. Mental health issues that are most common in women include:
• Eating Disorders
Warning Signs of Mental Health Issues
The onset of mental health issues may be tied to a specific event or experience or even be a predisposition in one’s personality. And while each individual may experience different symptoms of a disorder, there are several warning signs that may indicate one is in a poor state of mental health. The typical early warning signs of mental health issues include:
• Pervasive sadness and/or feeling of hopelessness
• Substance abuse, particularly alcohol or drugs
• Significant and sudden changes in eating or sleeping
• A decrease in overall energy or increase in fatigue
• Unfounded and excessive fear and/or worry
• Extremes in mood, including both highs and lows
• Neurologic and digestive pain without cause
• A significant change in social activity or withdrawal
• Thoughts of suicide and/or self-mutilation
Effective Ways to Care for Mental Health
With as common as mental illness is today, it is important for everyone to see to their mental health on a daily basis. Fortunately, there are several practical ways anyone can support a healthy mental and emotional state.
1. Practice self-awareness and talk about feelings.
2. Exercise regularly – most days of the week.
3. Eat a balanced diet of whole, unprocessed foods.
4. Interact with others and maintain relationships.
5. Seek help with work and personal responsibilities.
6. Participate in activities at which one excels.
Each of these suggestions is an effective way to look after one’s mental health for a healthy individual. Individuals who are struggling with specific mental health issues, though, need more specific treatment and support.
Treatment for Mental Health Issues in Women
In most cases, the right form of therapy makes all of the difference for women struggling with mental conditions. The most effective form of treatment typically depends on the specific issue as well as the individual. Most women benefit from a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy, other therapeutic methods, and, in some cases, medication. A trusted mental health professional can recommend the best type of treatment and oversee a team of care providers to ensure the individual receives the care that she needs. As with any health concern, seeking help is the first step toward a remedy.