1 in 5 adults in the U.S. will experience a behavioral health disorder in their lifetime. With appropriate support and clinical care, individuals with mental health and substance use issues are able to manage symptoms and lead full and productive lives.
Everyone experiences behavioral health disorders differently, so it’s important to learn more about some of these common disorders to help identify signs and symptoms in yourself or others, and then seek proper care.
While many people can drink socially with no negative effects, alcohol use becomes problematic when a person loses control over their drinking. This means the person often drinks more than they mean to and/or is unable to cut down or stop drinking. Alcohol abuse can cause problems in relationships, work functioning, and other responsibilities such as parenting.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is characterized by excessive and persistent worrying which can interfere with a person’s daily life. While everyone experiences stress and nervousness at various times, a person with GAD experiences anxiety symptoms more days than not in a six month period.
Bipolar disorder is characterized by extreme shifts in mood during which a person can swing from a period of high energy – known as manic episodes – to a depressive mood. Bipolar disorder can cause periods of disrupted sleep, impulsive behaviors such as excessive spending, and/or hypersexual behaviors. There are different ways these moods and shifts occur for people. Bipolar disorder is a complicated behavioral health condition and a person exhibiting any symptoms should be evaluated, diagnosed, and treated by a behavioral health clinician.
Depression is a mood disorder characterized by feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and loss of energy or interest in typically or previously enjoyable activities. When a person is depressed, it can negatively impact the way one thinks, feels, and acts. While most people feel sad at times, if significant symptoms persist or worsen it is important to seek out a professional evaluation and help.
Disordered eating can take many forms and include a wide range of symptoms. Eating disorders are characterized by an unhealthy relationship with food that involves either overeating or undereating, distorted body image, and an obsession with food, exercise, and/or body weight. An eating disorder is considered a behavioral health illness when chronic or severe and can result in medical problems. Eating disorders are treatable and people can make a full and healthy recovery when receiving ongoing treatment and support.
POSTTRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER (PTSD)
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a behavioral health condition comprised of a range of symptoms which include anxiety, startle response, nightmares, and/or flashbacks that develop after one experiences a traumatic event. The traumatic event might be a violent act, natural disaster, or experience in combat/war. A PTSD reaction can be acute – lasting for a brief period – or chronic in which case it can be experienced for years. A PTSD response can also be delayed and surface months or years after the trauma.
Psychosis is a range of symptoms which can be present in both medical and behavioral health disorders. Psychosis can include delusions, hallucinations, disorganized thinking, and difficulty distinguishing aspects of reality. Psychosis is often a symptom of other behavioral health disorders. Early diagnosis and treatment of psychosis by behavioral health professionals can positively impact a person’s long-term ability to be functional and well-adjusted.
Substance use disorders occur when an individual’s use of drugs or substances interferes with their life, and they are unable to stop using despite negative consequences. Substance use disorder is a treatable behavioral health condition.