Mental health used to be a highly taboo topic. People didn’t like to talk about it, and they certainly didn’t like to be associated with it. In fact, until a few decades ago, it was common practice to lock people with severe mental illness away in asylums. 

Luckily, the conversation is changing. In the modern day, we know more about mental health than ever before. People are learning to recognize early warning signs and symptoms, and the stigma around seeking treatment is lessening. 

Education about mental health is becoming more widely acceptable, but there is still a lot that people don’t know. Check out these 4 little known mental health facts – you might be surprised what you learn. 

1. It Can Have Physiological Impacts

That’s right, your mental health can have physical impacts on your body. Anxiety, for example, can cause symptoms like elevated blood pressure and heart rate. Physical manifestations of depression can include a reduced appetite and sex drive. Over time, these can have negative effects on your long-term health and can compound with the mental illness to make it worse. 

These are just a few examples of the very real physical effects of mental health. There are countless others. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that its all in your head! If you are experiencing problems with your mental health, don’t hesitate to reach out to your doctor for help. 

2. It Could Just Be a Simple Chemical Imbalance

Having a mental illness doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you as a person. It doesn’t make you weak, it is nothing to be ashamed of. A lot of mental illnesses boil down to a simple chemical imbalance in your brain. 

Think of it like this: if your body wasn’t working correctly, you would see a doctor. Maybe you would be prescribed some medicine or physical therapy to help correct the problem. Your brain works much the same way. 

Your mental health is just as important as your physical health and should be thought of as such. If things aren’t working correctly, there’s nothing wrong with seeing a doctor and getting treatment. 

3. Addiction is a Mental Illness

Few people know that addiction – whether it’s to drugs or a behavior (video games, sex, etc.) – is classified as a mental illness. In many cases, people suffering from addiction also suffer from other mental disorders as well. This is called a co-occurring disorder. 

There are a wide variety of co-occurring disorders, and they are important to keep in mind when dealing with addiction – whether your own or that of a loved one. Many addictions are fueled or exacerbated by the other mental illnesses, like depression or PTSD. You can’t effectively treat one without treating the rest. 

4. Fear is Often the Biggest Barrier

Even as more and more people are becoming educated about mental health, the negative stereotypes still persist. The topic continues to become less taboo, but people fear being seen as weak or crazy for having a mental illness. Too often, they let that stand in the way of seeking treatment. But in the end, this only prolongs their suffering. 

Today, treatment is now more accessible than ever thanks to the plethora of online services that help connect you to care. There are tons of options and providers that you can choose from, making it easy to find what works best for you. 

It’s time to make the negative stereotypes and fear surrounding mental illness a thing of the past. Don’t let them stand between you and your mental health.

Published by Zoe Sewell