May is Mental Health Month, and we believe it is important to talk about
the behavioral patterns that increase the risks of developing mental illnesses.
From drug use to extreme exercise, we take a look at some of the risks
and signs of potential mental health issues.
Marijuana use: With more and more states legalizing the use of marijuana for a variety
of circumstances, it’s important to understand the substance’s
impact on mental health. Using marijuana can increase the risk of developing
disorders like schizophrenia and can also worsen symptoms in people who
already suffer from psychosis. Adults diagnosed with marijuana use disorder
have high rates of mental health disorders like anxiety and depression.
Since many people use drugs to self-medicate, it’s hard to know
what appeared first, the marijuana use or the mental health disorder.
Sex: High-risk sexual behavior happens when someone puts themselves at risk
for consequences like catching a sexually transmitted disease or an unplanned
pregnancy. Unprotected sex, sex with multiple partners, or sex while under
the influence of drugs or alcohol can be signs of a mental health disorder.
Compulsive sexual behaviors like watching excessive pornography or sex
with prostitutes can create unhealthy or unrealistic expectations of healthy
Prescription drug abuse: Misuse occurs when a person uses a prescription drug that is not intended
for them, or uses a prescription in a manner that is different than what
the doctor indicated. Some of the most commonly misused prescription drugs
include opioid pain killers, tranquilizers, sedatives, and stimulants.
Prescription drug abuse can cause symptoms of mental health disorders,
though these symptoms generally improve after a person stops using the drugs.
Internet addiction: Mental health problems can potentially arise when a person can’t
find a balance between their time online and their time offline. Internet
addicts have trouble fulfilling personal and professional obligations
because of their online activities. People who are addicted to the Internet
often experience negative emotions or withdrawal symptoms when their Internet
access is restricted, as well as strain on their personal or professional
Exercise extremes: When a person doesn’t exercise enough or exercises too much, it
can have significant consequences on both their physical and mental health.
A person might be exercising too much if they miss important social or
professional obligations, feel sad or guilty for not exercising, or continue
to exercise despite illness or injury. These can all be signs of compulsive
exercise or exercise addiction. When a person does not regularly exercise
or does not meet the bare minimum recommendations for physical activity,
they are said to lead a “sedentary lifestyle.” A sedentary
lifestyle can also be a symptom of depression or anxiety, especially when
coupled with withdrawal from activities you used to enjoy. Leading a sedentary
lifestyle increases a person’s risk of developing depression.
Hopefully this information has raised your awareness about the risks that
these types of behaviors present to one’s mental well-being. Sharing
this information with people who may be struggling can help detect the
early warning signs of a mental health disorder.
For more information about mental health awareness, contact our team of Chico mental health professionals. We’re here to help you live life in balance.