“Anxiety is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind.If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all otherthoughts are drained.”
Emotional well-being is defined as a state of mind in which an individual can realise their true potential, is able to cope with everyday stressors of life and is able to work productively and fruitfully and to contribute towards the society they are living in.
Anxiety and Depressive illnesses are the most common mental health issues in the world and within the UAE.
According to World Health Organization (WHO) studies, 1 in every 4 people will be impacted by poor mental health or mental illness at some point in their lives. Within the UAE, mental health disorders constitute an estimated 19.9% of total number of people living with poor heath and injury.
While mental illness affects people at all stages of their lives, adolescents and young adults are particularly vulnerable. WHO reports that 50% of mental health problems start by age 14 and 75% by age 24. Thirty-four percent of the UAE’s population are under the age of 25.
It is important to know that feeling down or anxious at times doesn’t constitute a mental illness or a disorder. It is natural to feel anxious during stressful moments. In fact, some anxiety in certain situations can make us achieve better results and can make us more productive. But when we live with an anxiety disorder, these feelings can happen at any time and can be very disabling. For some, these feelings of anxiety and fear might always be with them. A constant feeling of nervousness and restlessness. Having a sense of impending danger, or continuous feeling that something is going to go terribly wrong which could lead to increased heart rate and often comes with breathing rapidly (hyperventilation), sweating and trembling. Living with anxiety can be very overwhelming and can affect our daily life, causing problems at work and at home.
Just as feeling anxious at times in certain situations is normal, similarly sadness is also a natural emotion that all people feel at certain times during their lives. Feeling sad is a natural reaction to situations that cause emotional upset or pain. There are varying degrees of sadness. But like other emotions, sadness is temporary and fades with time. In this way, sadness differs from depression. Depressive illness is characterized by sadness severe enough or persistent enough to interfere with our day-to-day functioning. Common signs of depression include overwhelming feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness, or hopelessness. People may also experience impulsive outbursts of rage and anger, irritability or frustration, even over small matters. Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities, such as sex, hobbies, or sports. It’s also common to have problems with sleep and eating – for example, insomnia or sleeping too much, and loss of appetite or overeating.
We can’t be sure about the exact causes of mental illnesses, but what we do know is that there are so many different factors which could play a role in triggering an episode of mental health difficulties (genetics, socio-economic and environmental factors, stress, drugs, certain health conditions etc.).
Having a compassionate view towards one’s difficulties is the least anyone can do. Most important thing for all of us to remember is that we don’t choose to become ill. Anyone of us can become ill at any point. Most of us do recover from mild illnesses without a need for professional support. At times, professional help is what we need. With the right help and support, people with mental health issues can live a normal life, can enjoy their relationships, can work productively, and play an important part in the communities. Although pharmacological interventions are very important and widely available in the form of antidepressants and other medications, for the treatment of depression and other mental health disorders, it is only a part of treatment. In fact, in many cases we do not need to prescribe medications and we can utilize therapy to deliver even better and longer term outcomes.
At Sage, we strive to formulate a holistic bio-psycho-social program to support our clients with various interventions at various levels. The whole purpose of a good mental health support team is to assess the patient’s problems and circumstances with a broader view and formulate the management plan encompassing all possible aspects.
Written by: Dr Zeeshan Ahmad
Consultant Psychiatrist at Sage Clinics