How serious are emotional health problems?

Emotional-health-related problems range from mild to severe. In many cases, poor emotional health is not the cause of the condition, though it is a corresponding condition. Many conditions, including anxiety disorders, can be treated using therapy alone. Severe cases may require medication or institutionalization.

The terms emotional health, mental health and behavioral health are often used interchangeably, and emotional health programs can indeed become very serious, even fatal. 

In just considering the garden variety emotional health issues, depression and anxiety, a person's symptoms can fall anywhere on a range from mild to severe just like any condition. 

People with severe depression can for obvious reasons fall victim to suicidal thoughts if left untreated.  Milder depression can still be debilitating because it robs people of engery, motivation and action. 

People with severe anxiety can develop agoraphobia, a condition that makes it extremely difficult for them to even leave their own homes for fear of panic attacks or imagined catastrophes.  Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is a type of anxiety disorder that impairs people's cognitions and functioning dramatically and can make it hard for them to work, relax or enjoy social activities or meaningful relationships. 

But even prolonged milder forms of depression and anxiety can affect people's health in profoundly negative ways.  Such conditions often leave the victim under-employed or unable to work which means they often don't have proper healthcare due to a lack of insurance or funds to pay for quality preventative medical care. Hence, they find themselves sicker than other people and receiving poor treatment for the conditions they develop.

Today's model of health often relates to the interconnectedness of the mind, body and spirit.  When stress is applied via the mind or spirit through depression or stress and anxiety, manifestations begin to appear in the body.  Such somatizations can include digestive upset or immune suppression, and some science is pointing to cognitive impairment and even early onset of demensia-like syndrome.  While something as common as digestive upset may not seem that bad, over time it can lead to esophageal erosion or peptic ulcer resulting in gastric bleeding that could be serious and even fatal.

Therefore, it's very important to consider emotional health problems as being as serious as a physical health problems.  Remember to seek treatment early on.  It's much easier to resolve any problem when it's small than to wait until it becomes serious. 

Never forget the old saying, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure!"

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.