Millions of Americans suffer from mental illness every year. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) estimates that 43.8 million adults in the United States experience mental illness annually. Around 10 million people suffer from a mental illness that severely interferes with major life activities. Sadly, more than half of these mental illnesses go untreated, leaving adults and children unnecessarily suffering from symptoms.
The reasons why people don’t seek treatment are vast. The stigma and shame around receiving treatment can keep people from getting help. Poverty or embarrassment can also keep someone from asking for assistance. It may be difficult to find a therapist you like. Many medications for depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses have undesired side effects. Mental illnesses often isolate people and make it difficult to search for solutions. Unfortunately, some people give up without finding the right treatment for their needs.
Why You Should Seek Treatment for Mental Health Issues
Untreated mental illness can lead to more serious health problems. Here are some of the risks of ignoring a mental illness.
Worsening Mental Health Problems
Mental health issues do not get better on their own. The longer an illness persists, the more difficult it can be to treat and recover. Untreated anxiety may escalate to panic attacks, and failing to address trauma can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder. Early treatment usually leads to better outcomes.
The mind copes with stress in different ways. Chronic mental illness can lead to aches, pains, and gastrointestinal distress that have no physical source. Over time, your aches and pains become detrimental to your physical health. You may develop serious physical injuries that make it even more difficult to recover from mental illness.
Chronic Physical Health Issues
Living with a mental illness isn’t easy. If you neglect your mental health, it’s easy to neglect your physical health. Chronic stress has been linked to a higher risk of strokes, heart attacks, and obesity. While mental illness might be in your brain, it affects your entire body.
Instability in Your Daily Life
Mental illness can make it difficult to cope with everyday life. It can inhibit your ability to keep a job and interact with others. Severe depression makes it difficult to get out of bed, let alone get dressed and out of the house to work. Loss of a job could lead to losing your home. Anxiety or PTSD can make communication difficult. Financial issues make it even more challenging to treat mental illness and pull yourself out of your situation. NAMI estimates that about one-quarter of homeless adults in shelters have a serious mental illness.
To be clear, mental illness does not lead to violent behavior. Mental illness makes it difficult to conform to society, which can lead to inappropriate behavior or misconstrued actions. Almost three-quarters of female inmates and one-half of male inmates have a serious mental illness.
Untreated mental illness clouds your judgment, making you believe that there is no way out. It is estimated that approximately 90 percent of suicides can be attributed to a mental illness that wasn’t treated.
Get Help Today
If you are suffering from a mental illness, you are not alone. Help is available. The team at High Focus Centers uses evidence-based mental health treatment models to help people overcome psychiatric disorders. Take the first step toward recovery and contact us today.