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Mental Health: diseases and symptoms

Mental Health: diseases and symptoms
Mental health is defined by the WHO as a state of well-being in which the person copes with the usual stress of family life and community life in a controlled manner. It is made up of emotional, psychological and social health and is very important in all stages of life (childhood, adolescence and adulthood).
Mental health includes our emotional, psychological and social well-being. It affects the way we think, feel and act. It also helps us determine how to manage stress, relate to other people, and make decisions. Mental health is important at all stages of life, from childhood and adolescence to adulthood.
According to the National Mental Health Study, in Colombia, 40.1% of the population between 18 and 65 years of age has suffered, is suffering or will suffer at some point in their lives from a diagnosed psychiatric disorder.

Anxiety disorders top the list (19.5%); then follow mood disorders (depression and bipolar disorder 13.3%), impulse control disorders (addiction to gambling, fire, theft, etc.) (9.3%) and those related to consumption of psychoactive substances (9.4%).

First warning signs

One or more of the following feelings or behaviors may be the first warning sign of a problem:

  • Eat or sleep a lot or a little
  • Get away from people and usual activities
  • Have little or no energy at all
  • Being numb or feeling like nothing matters anymore
  • Having unexplained pain or discomfort Feeling hopeless or helpless Smoking, drinking, or using drugs more than usual
  • Feeling unusually confused, forgetful, nervous, angry, upset, worried, or fearful
  • Yelling or fighting with family and friends
  • Having significant mood swings that cause relationship problems
  • Having persistent thoughts and memories that you can't get out of your head
  • Hearing voices or believing things that are not true
  • Thinking about hurting yourself or others
  • Not being able to perform daily tasks, such as taking care of your children or going to work or school

Symptoms of the most recognized diseases


Depression is characterized by maintaining a state of deep sadness and loss of interest for a time, generally between 4 to 6 months. Depression can be accompanied by other symptoms such as irritability, tiredness, sleep problems, difficulty concentrating, memory problems and suicidal thoughts.


Anxiety is a normal emotion that is accompanied by bodily reactions (muscle tension, sweating, trembling, rapid breathing, headache, chest or back pain, palpitations, diarrhea, sleep disorders) and is activated when there are signs of danger. The two most well-known types of anxiety are generalized anxiety and panic disorders.

Generalized anxiety is excessive worry about life events. Panic disorders are characterized by the sudden and uncontrollable action of fear or intense discomfort with a sudden onset that can last up to 2 hours. It is characterized by the sensation of suffocation, oppression, palpitations, sweating, nausea, dizziness, fainting and fear of dying.

Bipolar disorder

It is a disease in which on certain occasions the patient experiences deep sadness, apathy or lack of energy (depressive state) and on other occasions they feel euphoric and full of vitality (manic episode). In manic states, increased sensory perceptions, difficulty in attention, superficial and meaningless conversation, restlessness and hyperactivity can be observed. In the depressive state, sadness, inability to remember things, decreased ability to think, act, move, insomnia or nightmares are observed.

Substance-induced mood disorder

Substance abuse or withdrawal (alcohol, cocaine, amphetamines) can generally cause symptoms similar to those of bipolar disorder. Once the patient abandons these medications, the patient recovers his mood after passing a period of abstinence.


Schizophrenia is an illness that alters the way of perceiving or interpreting reality, so that the patient can hear or perceive sensations that the rest of us do not perceive (voices, hallucinations), producing in the patient a change of character characterized by demotivation, disinterest and apathy.

Schizoaffective disorder

It is a condition in which the patient suffers from symptoms of schizophrenia (which affects thinking) and bipolar disorder (which affects mood) at the same time.

Impulse control disorder

Impulse control disorders are characterized by the inability to stop performing certain actions that are harmful to oneself or others. The patient feels that he cannot control his behaviors and emotions on his own, causing problems in different areas of life. The most common are kleptomania (mania for taking other people's things without permission), intermittent explosive disorder, gambling addiction (gambling addiction), pyromania (fire mania) and compulsive sexual behavior.

Don't hesitate to consult a mental health specialist if you think you have a mental problem. Likewise, practicing sports and maintaining healthy lifestyle habits promotes mental health, balance and well-being. In the same way, mental health has an effect on physical health: good mental health helps the body stay healthy, while if there is a problem it is easier for fatigue, discomfort, physical pain, and a lowered immune system to occur. , somatizations and this can lead to diseases.

"Because prevention is better than cure"
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