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Understanding Mental Health

In a given year, approximately one in five U.S. adults experience some form of a mental health disorder.

what is a mental health disorder?

Mental health disorders are health conditions involving changes in emotion, thinking, or behavior – or at times, a combination of all. More than often, mental health disorders can be influenced by multiple different factors, including:

  • Early adverse life experiences, such as trauma or a history of abuse.
  • The ongoing use of substances like drugs or alcohol.
  • Experiences related to chronic medical conditions such as cancer or diabetes.
  • Biological factors like genes or chemical imbalances in the brain.

Each type of mental health disorder such as PTSD, depression, and anxiety produces their own kind of symptoms. But many tend to share common characteristics. Common physical and behavioral signs of several mental health disorders may include:

  • Feeling fatigued
  • Experiencing insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Distancing yourself from loved ones and favorite activities
  • Experiencing unexplainable body pains and achiness
  • Feeling confusion, irritability, sadness, anger, or fright
  • Using substances more than ever before
  • Having extreme mood swings that cause relationship issues
  • Being unable to carry out day-to-day activities

To explore whether you or someone you care about may have an addiction, you can take an anonymous, confidential assessment online. It cannot give you a diagnoses, but it can help guide you or your loved one towards professional addiction and mental heath services. 

trauma-informed treatment is the key to success

In childhood, overwhelming stress can trigger the brain and body to adapt in order to stay safe and alive. It is very important that this adaptation take place—however, there can be serious consequences when the child becomes an adult and has little experience in forming healthy coping skills and safe relationships as a partner, mother, colleague or friend. Some women turn to using alcohol or drugs to deal with an overwhelming situation. 

Many women experience this complex intersection between trauma, mental health problems, physical illness and chemical dependency. Women with co-occurring mental health problems like depression, anxiety and PTSD are much more likely to become chemically dependent. More than 85% of the women we serve have experienced significant trauma in their lives and more than 60% have complex medical needs. 

Wayside has worked diligently over six decades to develop the expertise required to address the unique needs of women and families. While other facilities may help women address either their chemical health or their mental health, we believe that addressing both at once is the best path to long-term recovery.