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Running head: MENTAL HEALTH

Mental Health
Melissa Reyna
RWS 1301
The University of Texas at El Paso
October 23, 2015

MENTAL HEALTH

Abstract
Mental health has been recognized since the middle ages but was never clearly understood.
Individual affected by mental illness were treated unfair and tortured. After many years of
research we now know mental health involves our emotions and behavior and when mental
health disorders occur, it is due to a chemical imbalance in the brain. Mental health illnesses are
common and can affect anyone of any age, gender, and race. Substance abuse like alcohol and
drug addictions can occur when an individual is suffering from a mental health illness. As well as
alcohol and drugs can cause mental illness such as depression, schizophrenia and bipolar
disorders. Everyday life activities like work and being with family are affected when an
individual is suffering a mental illness. A parents may feel guilty for their child having a mental
disorder, a spouse may also feel guilty and responsible for their significant other having a mental
illness and causing relationship problems. With parents being concern about their child having a
mental illness other siblings are affected as well. They may not understand what is going on or
may not want to be around the siblings that is ill due to being embarrassed and afraid.

MENTAL HEALTH

Introduction:

Mental health has been addressed many times in the past but not completely understood.
From the Middle Ages to the 1600s, people believed individuals with mental health disorders
were caused by demon possessions, curses, or the individual was being punished by God(s)
(Pbs.org, n.d.). Because of this people were treated poorly by being tortured and kept in isolation
from the rest of the world. About 350 years later after many years of research and having a better
understanding of mental health, medication and therapy treatments were created to help
individuals with mental disorders (Pbs.org, n.d.). After years of research on mental health, we
now know, as Christian Nordqvist states, Mental health refers to our cognitive, and/or emotional
wellbeing - it is all about how we think, feel and behave (Nordqvist, 2014). And when mental
health problems occur it is caused by genes, trauma and family history of mental health
(Mentalhealth.gov, n.d.).
How Common & Statistics:

Mental health illness affects anyone no matter of who they are, genders, or where they are
from. Mental health problems are very common and about one in five Americans experience
mental health issues (Mentalhealth.gov, n.d.). Ultimately one in 25 Americans lived with a
serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major
depression.(Mentalhealth.gov n.d.). Schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression and
anxiety are the most common mental health illness in the United States, according to the
statistics of The National Alliance on Mental Illness,
Adults of ages 18 and older (Mental Illness FACTS AND STATISTICS, 2013):

MENTAL HEALTH

(a)Approximately 1.1 percent of American adults about 2.4 million peoplelive with
schizophrenia. (b)Approximately 2.6 percent of American adults6.1 million peoplelive
with bipolar disorder. (c) Approximately 6.7 percent of American adultsabout 14.8
million peoplelive with major depression. (d) Approximately 18.1 percent of American
adultsabout 42 million peoplelive with anxiety disorder.
With mental health illness affecting 61.7 Americans a year, the impacts of mental illness in
America according to The National Alliance on Mental Illness (Mental Illness FACTS AND
STATISICS, 2013). Include:
(a) Serious mental illness costs America $193.2 billion in lost earnings per year. (b)
Individuals living with serious mental illness face an increased risk of having chronic
medical conditions. Adults living with serious mental illness die on average 25 years
earlier than other Americans, largely due to treatable medical conditions. (c) Suicide is
the tenth leading cause of death in the U.S. (more common than homicide) and the third
leading cause of death for ages 15 to 24 years. More than 90 percent of those who die by
suicide had one or more mental disorders.
Substance Abuse & Mental Health:
According to statistic from the National Alliance of Mental Illness About 9.2 million
adults have co-occurring mental health and addiction disorders (Mental Health FACTS AND
STATISTICS, 2013.) When an individual experience a mental illness, addictions such as alcohol
and drug abuse sometimes form mental disorders when addictions are left untreated. At the same
time, alcohol and drug addictions can cause mental health disorder such as anxiety, depression,
and schizophrenia. When having an addiction the type of substance the individual takes causes
them to feel better than they would without the alcohol or drugs but interfere with the ability to

MENTAL HEALTH

talk, act, and making decisions when used in every day basics. Alcohol addictions occur when
the individuals suffer from mental disorders, have a family history of alcohol addictions or are
around people who drink frequently are at risk of becoming alcoholics. As stated by authors
Joanna Saisan, Melinda Smith and Jeanne Segal of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse (Saison, Smith
& Segal, 2015):
Alcohol or drugs are often used to self-medicate the symptoms of depression or
anxiety Alcohol addiction causes changes in the body and brain, and long-term alcohol
abuse can have devastating effects on your health, your career, and your relationships.
Alcoholics go through physical withdrawal when they stop drinking, just like drug users
do when they quit.
Like alcohol addiction, drug addiction occurs when family and social environment involve drugs
and having mental health issues as well as experimenting with drugs at a young age. In the article
Drug Abuse and Addictions, authors Lawrence Robinson, Melinda Smith and Joanna Saison state
(Robinson, Smith & Segal, 2015):
(a)If you become addicted, the substance takes on the same significance as other survival
behaviors, such as eating and drinking. (b)Whether youre addicted to inhalants, heroin,
Xanax, speed, or Vicodin, the uncontrollable craving to use grows more important than
anything else, including family, friends, career, and even your own health and happiness.
(c)The urge to use is so strong that your mind finds many ways to deny or rationalize the
addiction. You may drastically underestimate the quantity of drugs youre taking, how
much it impacts your life, and the level of control you have over your drug use.
Daily Life & Family:

MENTAL HEALTH

Mental health disorders can make a big impact for the individual in their daily life, such
as in work and family life can be affected. Having a mental health illness and going to work can
sometimes affect the way you do your job. According to Gaston Harnois and Phyllis Gabriel
workers who suffer from mental health problems affect attendance at work (Harnois & Gabriel,
2002):
(a) Increase in overall sickness absence, particularly frequent short periods of absence;
(b) Poor health (depression, stress, burnout); (c) Physical conditions include (high blood
pressure, heart disease, ulcers, and sleeping disorders, skin rashes, headache, neck- and
backache, low resistance to infections).
Work performance and behavior (Harnois & Gabriel, 2002):
(a) Reduction in productivity and output; (b) Increase in error rates; (c) Increased amount
of accidents; (d) Poor decision-making; (e) Deterioration in planning and control of work,
(f) Loss of motivation and commitment, burnout, (g) Poor timekeeping (h) Poor
relationship with clients
While mental health disorders can affect work, mental health issues can be different from work
to home environment. Mental health disorder dont just impact the individuals alone but impact
the people around them who are closest to them. In the family parents, spouses, siblings, and
children are affected by the individual who is suffering a mental health illness. As stated by Our
Healthy Minds parents feel responsible for the cause of their childs illness Even though
research shows that families are not to blame for their childs mental illness, it is sometimes
difficult to overcome this feeling.(Ourhealthyminds.com, 2015). When a spouse is living with a

MENTAL HEALTH

mental illness, relationship problems occur as well as when their significant other has a mental
illness, the individual may feel guilty and blame themselves for the cause of their mental health
issue (Ourhealthyminds.com, 2015). While one of the parent children may develop mental
illness, other siblings are affected as well. Our Healthy Mind states Siblings may experience
stigma, family life that revolves around their sibling living with mental illness, personal
shame...They may also fear that they too, or their children, will develop mental illness
(Ourhealthyminds.com, 2015).
Conclusion:
Ultimately with all the history and new research found mental illnesses is no longer
caused by demon possessions and curses but an imbalance in the brain that affect an individuals
emotions and behaviors. Now knowing mental health disorder are common and how any
individual can be affected by a mental illness despite of age, gender or race there are ways to
solve mental illnesses and get better. As well as understanding addictions with alcohol, drugs
abuse and how mental health is involved and understanding the impacts of mental illness in daily
life activities and in a family environment.

Reference Page

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Harnois, G., & Gabriel, P. (2002). Mental health and work: Impact, issues and
good practices (1st ed., pp. 8-9). World Health Organization. Retrieved
from http://www.who.int/mental_health/media/en/712.pdf
Mental Illness FACTS AND NUMBERS. (2013) (1st ed., p. 1). Arlington Virginia.
Retrieved from
http://www2.nami.org/factsheets/mentalillness_factsheet.pdf
Mentalhealth.gov,. Mental Health Myths and Facts | MentalHealth.gov.
Retrieved from http://www.mentalhealth.gov/basics/mythsfacts/index.html
Mentalhealth.gov,. What Is Mental Health? | MentalHealth.gov. Retrieved
from http://www.mentalhealth.gov/basics/what-is-mentalhealth/index.html
Nordqvist, C. (2014). What is mental health? What is mental disorder?
Medical News Today. Retrieved from
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/154543.php
Ourhealthyminds.com,. (2015). How mental illness affects family members.
Retrieved from http://ourhealthyminds.com/family-handbook/you-andyour-family/impact-of-mental-illness-on-different-family-members.html
Pbs.org,. American Experience | A Brilliant Madness | Timeline. Retrieved
from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/nash/timeline/index.html
Saison, J., Smith, M., & Segal, J. (2015). Substance Abuse & Mental Health:
Substance Abuse and Co-Occurring Disorders. Helpguide.org. Retrieved
from http://www.helpguide.org/articles/addiction/substance-abuse-andmental-health.htm
Smith, M., Robinson, L., & Segal, J. (2015). Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse:
Signs, Symptoms, and Help for Drinking Problems. Helpguide.org.
Retrieved from http://www.helpguide.org/articles/addiction/alcoholism-

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and-alcohol-abuse.htm