Key Takeaways:

  • New York has one of the highest rates of untreated mental illness in the country
  • Be aware of risk factors that can lead to or indicate mental illness: these include internet addiction, excessive spending, negative exercise habits, marijuana use, and head injuries
  • Identifying these risk factors early can lead to a better prognosis

According to Mental Health America, one in five adults has a mental illness. However, over 60% of those individuals in New York do not receive treatment, often because they are not diagnosed. In an effort to promote mental health and reduce stigma associated with mental illness, the month of May is Mental Health Month, and the focus this year is on “risky business.” You may be aware of some common risk factors, such as a family history of mental illness, but are you aware of these lesser known signs?

  1. Internet addiction: Being glued to a screen at all times may seem like a norm in our society, but it is possible to become addicted to the Internet. Signs of an unhealthy relationship with the internet include being unable to cut back on internet use and having strong compulsions to be online at all times.
  2. Excessive spending: Individuals who engage in compulsive buying will often spend every penny that they have, buy items that they cannot afford, and may overdraw their bank accounts buying items they do not need.
  3. Troublesome exercise patterns: Exercise can be troubling when it becomes extreme: either not enough or too much. Signs of too much exercise include neglecting personal or professional responsibilities in order to exercise or continuing to exercise despite an injury.
  4. Marijuana Use: Although marijuana is now commonly prescribed to treat certain diseases such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, there is evidence that marijuana is a risk factor for developing certain types of mental disorders such as schizophrenia.
  5. Head injuries: Experiencing a head injury, especially during adolescence, increases risk of developing mental illnesses later in life.

Better health means taking a holistic approach to healthcare; that includes finding a medical team who attends to both your physical and mental health. Fortunately, Better Health Advisor’s custom approach to wellness can help identify your particular risk factors for mental illness, ensuring prompt treatment and an improved prognosis.