According to WHO (2014, mental health refers to one’s well-being status where they can individually realize their potential, cope with usual stresses in life, productively work and further, contribute to their community. It thus encompasses their psychological, emotional and social well-being. Mental health impacts on one’s thinking, feelings and actions. From the definition, it is clear that mental health determines how one handles stress, their relationship with others and their approach to decision making. To enhance the mental health of a population there is need to; carry out health promotion in the society on the importance of mental well-being; prevent mental disorders; prevent violations against human rights and; provide care for those suffering from mental disorders.
Mental illness on the other hand refers to various mental health conditions including disorders which alter one’s mood, their way of thinking and also, their behavior. Mental illnesses include depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders, bipolar depression and addictive behaviors (WHO, 2014). Considering Georgia’s symptoms from the case study, it is clear that she has a social anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders can be classified into four categories. They include; panic disorder whereby a feeling of terror strikes at random; social anxiety disorder where one has a social phobia; specific phobias and; generalized anxiety disorder (Uher et al, 2013). Given the descriptions, Georgia’s case includes both social and panic disorders. The two disorders are usually evidenced by symptoms like palpitations, shortness of breath, chest pains, sleep problems and fear (Versella et al, 2016). She experiences these in the event of an assignment or examinations.
Various factors including biological factors, life experiences and a family background of mental health problems contribute makes one likely to develop mental illnesses (Gambini, 2016). All humans are genetically vulnerable to developing mental illness which may be triggered by different stress experience levels in one’s life. Common triggers for mental disorder include for instance, drug abuse, work-related stress, relationship stress, and cases of traumatic events (Versella et al, 2016). It is evident that Georgia’s case is similar to that of her mother as they both present with anxiety and the inability to cope with the disorder. The condition is thus genetic in a way considering this similarity in symptoms and signs. The anxiety disorder arises from Georgia’s stress due to school-related workload. The condition has also made it difficult for her to concentrate in her studies as it presents with panic, worry, a lack of concentration and withdrawal from one’s social life.
Early warning signs of anxiety disorder according to Uher et al (2013) include insomnia; where there the affected individual experiences little or no sleep as it is in Georgia’s case. She finds it difficult to sleep and also wakes up very exhausted. Another early warning sign of this particular disorder includes the tendency to be often exhausted (Greener, 2014). Thirdly as described in Versella et al (2016), withdrawal from social life and the tendency to want to be in isolation is also a sign of social anxiety disorder. The patient in the case study has not seen her friends for four weeks because she their declines invitation. The social anxiety has also seen her avoid any romantic relationships for about two years (School of Nursing & Midwifery, 2017). The feelings of exhaustion particularly make individuals with the social anxiety disorder to be unable to perform daily tasks (Wright et al, 2016). Having been overwhelmed by the workload in her studies, Georgia decides to change from full-time to part-time in the current semester. Difficulty in concentration is also a clear indication of social anxiety disorder. In her studies too, Georgia finds it difficult to concentrate in her class work and inability to complete her assignments. According to Versella et al (2016) anxiety disorder presents with panic and worry. Georgia has been described to be always panicky and worried whenever there is an assignment or an exam indicating that she has the disorder. In addition, individuals with the disorder also present with shortness of breath, increased heart rate and a sense of impending doom (Wright et al, 2016). More warning signs for individuals with anxiety disorder according Asakura (2015) include unusual confusion or anger or fear, severe mood swings, change in eating habits that are had not been nutritionally advised and unexplained pain.
Physical health and mental health are both critical determinants of an individual’s general health (Shioiri, 2015). Determination of an individual’s health and well-being relies on the state of both their mental and physical health. According to the World Health Organization (2014), health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. This definition therefore indicates that physical health just like mental health guarantees the complete state of well-being. Some mental conditions have been associated with chronic physical conditions (Bhattacharya & Sambamoorthi, 2013). Chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease may cause withdrawal from social interactions and is highly associated with depression. Such conditions may also make it difficult to diagnose and assess mental health illnesses like depression according to Depression and Anxiety Issue Information (2017). Also, mental illness poses a high risk of experiencing chronic physical conditions. Similarly, chronic physical illnesses increase the risk of developing mental ill-health. Mental fatigue particularly contributes to physical withdrawal from activities as is in the case of social anxiety disorder. While mental fatigue does not impact on the performance of the heart and/or muscles, it influences the perception of performance of different activities (Spielberg et al, 2014). In view of Georgia’s case, it is evident that she is mentally fatigued from the workload of her studies. This has resulted to her always being tired physically thus unable to perform her usual daily activities like early evening walks (School of Nursing & Midwifery, 2017). Her perception of performance has therefore, been affected.Another relationship between physical and mental health can be seen from the examination of the connection between one’s physical health and anxiety (Subramaniapillai, 2014). In this regard, mental illness as is the case of anxiety disorder brings about fear, worries and panic. This makes an individual to physically avoid particular places and also shun from participating in social activities (Versella et al, 2016). Physical health in itself influences one’s mental health. Indulging in physical exercises which enhance one’s mood and reduces irritability shows the positive effect of physical health on mental health (Talbott, 2012). Physical health problems increase the risk of mental illness. Depression can cause insomnia, fatigue and high sensitivity to pain resulting from abnormal functioning of neurotransmitters. It is thus rational to conclude that mental health goes hand in hand with the physical health of an individual.
There are different ways that individuals with social anxiety disorder can manage to achieve personal recovery through reconciling physical and mental health determinants within their environment. According to Fang et al (2013), participation in regular body exercise is highly recommended in improving one’s mental health. Exercise helps the body to release hormones like endorphins and serotonin which reduces anxiety and depression. Therefore, Georgia is highly advised to take up daily exercise routines in order to release the pressures of class work load that will cause her to relax and be able to do more and better in her studies. Secondly, according to Singh (2016), a healthy diet increases brain function and provides energy that reduces the possibility of developing fatigue. It has been shown that diets with low nutrients tend to increase the risk of anxiety and depression. Since proper dieting is advised, skipping meals should be discouraged as it contributes to fatigue and irritability due to surges in stress hormones (Singh, 2016). Georgia lives alone in a flat and this poses a high risk of unhealthy eating. It makes her more likely to eat snacks which are particularly low on balanced nutrient content. It is therefore, important that she gets support from friends and family members in order to always maintain healthy eating habits.
Thirdly, personal recovery for anxiety disorder as well as other mental health cases requires individuals to have a normal uninterrupted sleep (Asakura, 2015). Lack of enough sleep is often associated with stress, anxiety and depression as seen in Georgia’s case. In cases of insomnia, one is advised to relax before bed, lower the intake of caffeine or have a strict sleep schedule(Singh, 2016). In Georgia’s case, it is advised that she should keep a strict sleep schedule for her to relax more and reduce the fatigue. She should also seek foe medication in order to be treated for insomnia.
Lastly, it is advisable to always reach out to friends and relatives for social support according to Fang et al (2013). Georgia has very low support which has made her more vulnerable to mental illness. Her parents reside in the Country which is far away from her while her brother is in London. She therefore lacks direct family care and thus brings a feeling of loneliness. She has also declined invitations from friends which show lack of support from the friends (School of Nursing & Midwifery, 2017). She therefore should be encouraged to reach out to her friends and be able to communicate with them on her status and reduce the feeling of loneliness and dealing with the situation alone. These approaches will be important in solving her mental and physical ill-health.
Mental health illnesses are best diagnosed by a psychiatrist in collaboration with other healthcare professionals. Since there are no definitive physical tests in the diagnosis of mental disorders, symptoms and medical history are used to diagnose them (Weeks et al, 2013). Mental disorders vary in severity and causes thus determining the ways of managing them. Mild disorders can easily be managed by understanding and providing support to the patient (Fang et al, 2013). The more severe ones require the attention of psychologists or psychiatrists.
Medications like antidepressants can be used in the treatment of mental illnesses as they reduce anxiety and depression (Ehrlich & Dannapfel, 2017). Psychotherapy is also necessary to address the emotional responses to the mental disorder. Cognitive behavior therapy is also advised; which teaches the patient to recognize triggers of anxiety and change the thought patterns in order to avoid panic (Asakura, 2015). The specialists should come up with a mental health care plan. In order to communicate with mentally ill patients it is important to give them time in order express themselves, and listen to all the verbal and non-verbal ques (Greener, 2014). Therefore, the patient or the care-giver should ensure that the diagnosis of the disorder is properly done, know the professional support network, have the relevant information about the disorder and the treatment, know how to give self-care and finally know the danger signs and the relevant responses. It would be best if Georgia would seek family support to manage the anxiety disorder with the help of mental health professionals.
Implications for practice and/or conclusions that can be drawn from this analysis for health professionals in this field include majorly, the need to adhere to legal and ethical guidelines. These include policy pieces which are aimed at protecting majorly the patient and the health professional as well. One of the ethical and legal obligations is the need for confidentiality in the provision of care. Patients have the right talk to health professionals in complete confidence(Kress et al, 2013). The health professionals can only breach confidence in very few circumstances, especially when the patient poses as a threat to his/ her surroundings. The information of the patient may be given to another person, especially their care givers, with the consent of the patient. For the case of Georgia, her parents can be given information on her health status with her permission. The consent according to (Greener, 2014) should be documented clearly and any changes in its consent should be noted. Secondly, there is the right to treatment for everyone including those with mental disorders. Every mental illness patient has the right to access and get assessed, diagnosed and treated. The health professionals have the duty of giving treatment that will be helpful to the patient.
Further, informed consent in the provision of mental health is an imperative issue for professional in this field (Kress et al, 2013). It is the duty of the mental health professional to provide information to the patient regarding the disorder, the treatment options and possible side effect of the options (Asakura, 2015). This helps the patient to give their medical background and also make informed decisions regarding management and treatment of the disorder. It is very important that Georgia is informed of her disorder and the causative agents and well advised on how to manage it. The health professionals should also be made aware of the medical history and family background of Georgia given that the mother has a history with anxiety disorder.
In conclusion, mental health has a significant association with physical health and the two should not be treated as separate entities but rather use integrated approaches. Mental health illness can be managed and treated successfully not overlooking the physical health challenges. Georgia’s case can be managed through social and medical support to avoid severity of the case.
Asakura, S. (2015). Diagnosis and Clinical Evaluation of Social Anxiety Disorder. Anxiety Disorder Research, 7(1), pp.4-17.
Bhattacharya, R. and Sambamoorthi, U. (2013). Excess risk of chronic physical conditions associated with obesity and common mental health conditions: Depression and/or anxiety. Value in Health, 16(3), p.A58.
Depression and Anxiety Issue Information. (2017). Depression and Anxiety, 34(5), pp.383-389.
Ehrlich, C. and Dannapfel, P. (2017). Shared decision making: People with severe mental illness experiences of involvement in the care of their physical health. Mental Health & Prevention, 5, pp.21-26.
Fang, A., Sawyer, A., Aderka, I. and Hofmann, S. (2013). Psychological treatment of social anxiety disorder improves body dysmorphic concerns. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 27(7), pp.684-691.
Gambini, O. (2016). Psychiatric disorders associated with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome. Mental Illness, 8(1).
Greener, M. (2014). Managing generalised anxiety disorder. British Journal of Mental Health Nursing, 3(3), pp.100-104.
Kress, V., Hoffman, R., Adamson, N. and Eriksen, K. (2013). Informed Consent, Confidentiality, and Diagnosing: Ethical Guidelines for Counselor Practice. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 35(1), pp.15-28.
Singh, K. (2016). Nutrient and Stress Management. Journal of Nutrition & Food Sciences, 6(4).
Spielberg, J., Miller, G., Warren, S., Sutton, B., Banich, M. and Heller, W. (2014). Trans-diagnostic Dimensions Of Anxiety And Depression Moderate Motivation-Related Brain Networks During Goal Maintenance. Depression and Anxiety, 31(10), pp.805-813.
Subramaniapillai, M. (2014). Physical Activity and Mental Health. Mental Health and Physical Activity, 7(2), pp.87-88.
Talbott, J. (2012). Associations between Physical Activity and Physical and Mental Health—A HUNT 3 Study. Yearbook of Psychiatry and Applied Mental Health, 2012, pp.257-258.
Uher, R., Payne, J., Pavlova, B. and Perlis, R. (2013). MAJOR DEPRESSIVE DISORDER IN DSM-5: IMPLICATIONS FOR CLINICAL PRACTICE AND RESEARCH OF CHANGES FROM DSM-IV. Depression and Anxiety, 31(6), pp.459-471.
Versella, M., Potter, C. and Heimberg, R. (2016). Socially-relevant Panic Symptoms in Social Anxiety Disorder. Journal of Experimental Psychopathology.
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WHO (2014). Mental health: A State Of Well-Being. Retrieved on 22/9/2017 at https://www.who.int/features/factfiles/mental_health/en/
Wright, K., Lebell, M. and Carleton, R. (2016). Intolerance of uncertainty, anxiety sensitivity, health anxiety, and anxiety disorder symptoms in youth. Journal of Anxiety Disorders, 41, pp.35-42.
Ying, S. (2015). Research on the Effectiveness of Exercise Therapy Treating Mental Illness. The Open Cybernetics & Systemics Journal, 9(1), pp.1539-1543.
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