Mental health: Definition, common disorders, and early signs

Mental health refers to our cognitive, behavioral, and emotional wellbeing – it is all about how we think, feel, and behave. The term ‘mental health’ is sometimes used to mean an absence of a mental disorder.

Mental health can affect daily life, relationships, and even physical health. Mental health also includes a person’s ability to enjoy life – to attain a balance between life activities and efforts to achieve psychological resilience.

In this article, we will explain what is meant by the terms “mental health” and “mental illness.” We will also describe the most common types of mental disorder and how they are treated. The article will also cover some early signs of mental health problems.

Definition

Woman with mental health issues
Mental health problems can affect anyone at any age.

According to Medilexicon’s medical dictionary, mental health is:

“Emotional, behavioral, and social maturity or normality; the absence of a mental or behavioral disorder; a state of psychological well-being in which one has achieved a satisfactory integration of one’s instinctual drives acceptable to both oneself and one’s social milieu; an appropriate balance of love, work, and leisure pursuits.”

According to the WHO (World Health Organization), mental health is:

“… a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.”

The WHO stresses that mental health “is not just the absence of mental disorder.”

Woman with anxiety disorder
Anxiety disorders are the most common type of mental illness.

Anxiety disorders are the most common types of mental illness.

The individual has a severe fear or anxiety, which is linked to certain objects or situations. Most people with an anxiety disorder will try to avoid exposure to whatever triggers their anxiety.

Examples of anxiety disorders include:

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