When you hear the title Risky Business, it is likely the movie classic comes to mind first. Mental Health Month (MHM), however, is using the theme to connect the dots between habits and behaviors that increase the risk of developing or worsening mental illnesses. Here are some examples of the connection of such behaviors to mental health – and while some may sound a bit strange, they’re habits to keep in mind when diagnosing a mental disorder.

  • Many people addicted to prescription drugs are also diagnosed with other mental disorders, including anxiety and depression.
  • A person with Internet Use Disorder may show a “preoccupation” with the internet/gaming, and spend longer amounts of time on the internet to achieve the same “high.”
  • Those with Compulsive Buying Disorder often meet the criteria for other mental illnesses such as mood, anxiety, eating disorders, and ADHD.
  • When compulsive exercise is used to “purge” calories, it can be a symptom of an eating disorder while a sedentary lifestyle can increase the risk of depression.
  • Marijuana may increase the risk of developing psychotic disorders like schizophrenia.

Of course, not every form of mental illness is a result of risky behavior. Mental health problems may also be related to excessive stress due to a particular situation and mental illnesses are often physical as well as emotional and psychological. Symptoms may include changes in mood, personality, personal habits and/or social withdrawal.

With proper care and treatment many individuals learn to cope or recover from a mental illness or emotional disorder. Here are a few Pearson resources as well as other information where you can find support should you or a loved one need it.

  • Visit the Mental Health America site for a vast array of information from peer support, to workplace wellness, to bullying and screenings.
  • Learn more about the ways the Employee Assistance Program can assist you or your loved ones in dealing with mental illness.
  • Don’t forget that the Care Management programs available through Anthem and Cigna can provide assistance when dealing with a serious and/or chronic condition.
  • Visit the Stamp Out Stigma site to gain a better understanding of why we often have difficulty talking about mental health.