May is National Mental Health Awareness Month, and May 3-9 also happens to be Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week. The Sioux Center Health family wants to spread awareness, improve understanding, and reduce the stigma associated with mental health conditions. Across the United States, over ten (10) million persons are diagnosed with and are directly affected by a mental illness. Others are indirectly affected by having to watch their loved ones battle mental health conditions.

Mental illnesses affect persons of all genders, races, and ages. There are numerous types, all caused by varying factors. As such, there are multiple forms of treatments available to combat these conditions. The most common types of mental health conditions affecting the adult population in the US include anxiety disorders, major depressive disorder, and bipolar disorder. According to the CDC, ADHD, anxiety, and depression are seen more frequently in children.

Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders are a group of psychiatric conditions that involve extreme fear or worry. The three most common types are Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, and Specific Phobias. These conditions typically are caused by genetics, chemical imbalances in the brain, medical conditions, drug misuse, and stress. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America reports that anxiety disorders are quite treatable. But unfortunately, only approximately 37% of persons with anxiety disorders get treated.

Common symptoms of anxiety disorders include but are not limited to agitation, fatigue, panic attacks, muscle tension, excessive worrying, restlessness, and difficulty sleeping. At Sioux Center Health, we provide several forms of treatment, ideal for managing anxiety disorders. These include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Mindfulness Therapy, and a medication regime. For children, our play therapy has been seen to assist with reducing anxiety.

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)

Major depression is defined as a condition having specific characteristic signs and symptoms for a particular period and hinders one’s ability to work, sleep, eat, and enjoy the activities they once did. MDD may have a significantly crippling effect; in fact, it is the number one reason why thousands of people (primarily men), both children and adults, are disabled.

Genes, stress, and brain chemistry all affect and reduce the ability to maintain mood stability, which result in MDD. Other factors that contribute to the development of major depressive disorder include hormonal imbalance, childhood abuse, and alcohol or drug use. The signs and symptoms of MDD are depressed mood, appetite and sleep pattern changes, significant weight gain or loss, change in habits, diminished interest, feeling hopeless or worthless, and fatigue. We treat major depressive disorder with medication and psychotherapy. Our psychotherapy options, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Emotionally Focused Therapy, are proven efficient in the management of several mental illnesses. We also offer specific medication treatment modalities.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder (manic depression) is a psychological condition characterized by its extreme high and low moods and significant changes in thinking, sleeping, behavior, and energy. Research suggests that bipolar disorder typically manifests or develops around the age of 25 in all genders. However, it may develop much later or earlier, as in children. There are two types, Bipolar I disorder, which includes periods of severe mood episodes from mania to depression. Then there is Bipolar II disorder, which involves milder episodes of hypomania with periods of severe depression.

Bipolar disorder is often induced by stress, drug or alcohol abuse, and genetics. These changes can include unusual energy, activity, or sleep patterns. Diagnosis for bipolar disorder usually occurs after charting the patient’s mood over time. To effectively treat bipolar disorders, we offer medication therapy and Cognitive behavioral therapy for both children and adults.

So, if you or a loved one is experiencing any form of mental illness, we encourage you to seek medical attention immediately. After all, early detection, diagnosis, and treatment is the ideal management scheme. Parents, encourage your children to speak about their feelings and listen to them. Remember that your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Support your family members and friends; it makes a world of difference and if you have questions, feel free to reach out to us. Our qualified staff is more than happy to assist.