Just as fitness is important for disease prevention and bodily strength, mental health is a significant component of your overall health that promotes emotional and mental stability to ensure a balanced lifestyle. Mental illness may be caused by a combination of genetics, environmental, physiological and biological factors; mental disorders are medical conditions that should not be ignored that should be addressed appropriately.
Mood disorders are the most commonly diagnosed mental illness; these disorders have varying degrees of severity that can present differently in men and women. Mood disorders are medical conditions caused by changes in the chemistry of the body and the brain. Depression is the prevalent mood disorder that has three types:
- Major depression characterized by intense persisting symptoms of sadness and hopelessness that interfere with an individual’s ability to participate every day activities.
- Dysthymic disorder is associated with less severe symptoms of depression than major depression that persist over a long period of time
- Minor depression is associated with the mildest severity of depressive symptoms that usually lasts for a shorter period of time
General symptoms of depression include; ongoing sadness, anxiety, feelings of emptiness, lost interest in activities that used to be enjoyable (including sex), inability to concentrate or remember details, persistent fatigue or trouble sleeping, ongoing irritability and thoughts of suicide. Depression can also cause physical symptoms such as; aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems.