Posted in Depression
It is true that mental disorders can affect anyone, irrespective of class, gender, age and geographical location. However, there can be a difference in the level of vulnerability and the amount of risk involved in developing a mental disorder basis the age and gender of an individual. For example, while past studies have identified the prevalence of major depression to be higher in women than in men, a recent study has suggested that young men are more likely to suffer from mental illnesses compared to women in the same age group.
The study, published in the JAMA Psychiatry by an international consortium, found that young men were more prone to experience first-episode psychosis, which is often the first manifestation of one or more mental disorders, compared to women in the same age group. Further, the risk was even higher for young men belonging to ethnic minorities or living in socioeconomically disadvantaged areas. They were more vulnerable to psychotic symptoms, such as hallucinations, delusions and cognitive disorganization, which may lead to the development of mental disorders like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder (BD) and depression.
Likelihood of developing mental illnesses influenced by environmental factors
According to the study, the higher incidence of first-episode psychosis among men aged 18 to 24 could possibly be due to environmental factors rather than genetic influences. The study observed the frequency of first-episode psychosis in six countries – Spain, England, Italy, France, Brazil and the Netherlands – and found that the variation in the occurrences of the episodes was primarily due to environmental factors. Until the beginning of the 21st century, it was widely believed that the cause of mental disorders was primarily genetic, but this research proved that environmental factors could also be responsible.
The incidence of psychotic disorders was also found to be higher among ethnic minorities and in areas with less owner-occupied housing, reinforcing the significant role played by socioeconomic conditions and the living environment in the mental health of an individual. Further, traumatic childhood or smoking pot as a teenager or young adult were also identified as potential triggers.
The study further suggested that when the brain matured, the risk of developing a mental disorder increased. According to Menezes, males had a higher risk of developing a mental disorder in the early 20s as this was the time when their brains matured.
Seeking help for mental disorders
Although adopting a healthy lifestyle, like eating nutritious food, exercising daily, maintaining a healthy sleep pattern, practicing experiential therapies like yoga and meditation and staying away from substance (drugs or alcohol) use, can significantly reduce the risk of developing mental disorders, they cannot be totally avoided. This is because, a mental disorder can develop due a combination of factors, including genetic predisposition, environmental stressors and/or substance abuse.
Therefore, while it is important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, it is equally important to seek immediate help if any symptoms of a mental disorder are observed. As it is difficult to identify the mental disorder on the basis of the symptoms alone, because many disorders share similar symptoms, it is vital to seek professional help to determine the disorder accurately.
If you or a loved one is battling a mental disorder like depression, you can seek help from the Depression Treatment Centers of California. You can call at our 24/7 helpline number (855) 678-0400 or chat online with our experts to know about state-of-the-art treatment facilities for depression available near you. Our certified representative can help you connect with the best depression treatment centers in California offering both inpatient and outpatient treatment options.