Mental Health Awareness Month

Mental Health Awareness Month has been observed in May in the United States since 1949, reaching millions of people in the United States through the media, local events, and screenings. 

Its purpose is to raise awareness and educate the public about: mental illnesses, such as the 18.1% of Americans who suffer from depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder; the realities of living with these conditions; and strategies for attaining mental health and wellness. It also aims to draw attention to suicide, which can be precipitated by some mental illnesses. Additionally, Mental Health Awareness Month strives to reduce the stigma (negative attitudes and misconceptions) that surrounds mental illnesses. The month came about by presidential proclamation.  

Common signs of mental illness in adults and adolescents can include:

  • Excessive worrying or fear
  • Feeling excessively sad or low
  • Confused thinking or problems concentrating and learning
  • Extreme mood changes, including uncontrollable “highs” or feelings of euphoria
  • Prolonged or strong feelings of irritability or anger
  • Avoiding friends and social activities
  • Changes in sleeping habits or feeling tired and low energy
  • Changes in sex drive
  • Difficulty perceiving reality
  • Inability to perceive changes in one’s own feelings, behavior or personality
  • Abuse of substances like alcohol or drugs
  • Multiple physical ailments without obvious causes
  • Thinking about suicide

Mental health conditions can also begin to develop in young children. Because they’re still learning how to identify and talk about thoughts and emotions

  • Changes in school performance
  • Excessive worry or anxiety, for instance fighting to avoid bed or school
  • Hyperactive behavior
  • Frequent nightmares
  • Frequent disobedience or aggression
  • Frequent temper tantrums

Don’t be afraid to reach out if you or someone you know needs help.  Reach out to your health insurance, primary care doctor.

If you or someone you know needs helps now, you should call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-8255.

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Drinking Alcohol? What Happens to Your Body When You Stop? Short Takes

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“The holidays generate both positive and negative emotions, and drinking is one of the methods that people often use to cope,” said Dr. Karen Miotto, clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles. “With habitual, heavy drinking, people tend to develop tolerance,” she said. However, “even if your speech is not slurred, alcohol may still be affecting your motor coordination there is nothing wrong with enjoying yourself or unwinding, listen to your body and stay safe. 

What Happens to Your Body When You Stop?

Your Heart Gets Healthier

You might think that a regular glass of red wine or other alcoholic beverages might be good for your heart. True only for light sippers (less than one drink a day). If you use more than that, cutting back or quitting may lower your blood pressure, levels of fat called triglycerides, and chances of heart failure.

Your Liver Heals

Your liver’s job is to filter toxins. And alcohol is toxic to your cells. Heavy drinking — at least 15 drinks for men and eight or more for women a week — can take a toll on the organ and lead to fatty liver, cirrhosis, and other problems. The good news: your liver can repair itself and even regenerate.

Pounds Drop

Regular beer has about 150 calories, and a serving of wine has about 120. On top of those mostly empty calories, alcohol ramps up your appetite. It also makes you more impulsive. When you stay away from alcohol, the number on your scale may well start moving down.

Relationships May Improve

Alcohol socially in reasonable amounts can boost your mood and help you bond with others. But if you drink alone, or down multiple drinks a day, it could turn into an unhealthy habit. If you can’t control it, it may lead to a condition called alcohol use disorder. Giving up drinking may let you focus on your relationships, work, and health. It also may ease any depression and anxiety and elevate your self-esteem.

Sex Life Might Improve

Alcohol may make couples friskier. But anything more than a drink or so a day has the opposite effect, especially if you abuse or are addicted to alcohol. Men might have trouble getting and keeping an erection. Women’s sex drive might drop, and their vagina might get drier. Cut down drinking booze, and see if it stirs up the romance.

Lower Blood Pressure

If you drink a lot and your blood pressure is too high, you might be able to bring your numbers back down to normal by doing one simple thing: giving up alcohol. Even simply easing back on drinks can have a big payoff.

Clear Your Brain

Alcohol dependence can make it harder to think or remember things. Over time, heavy drinking can cloud your perception of distances and volumes, or slow and impair your motor skills. It can even make it harder for you to read other people’s emotions. But if you quit, your brain seems to be able to regain some of these abilities.

Withdrawal

If you’re a heavy drinker, your body may rebel at first if you cut off all alcohol. You could break out in cold sweats or have a racing pulse, nausea, vomiting, shaky hands, and intense anxiety. Some people even have seizures or see things that aren’t there (hallucinations).

Post by Queen Jai

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