Comprehensive & Compassionate Mental Health Services in Butte County

May Is Mental Health Month

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.

Risky Behavior

  • 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 sexual experiences.
  • 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 relationships.
  • 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.