Mental Health

All of us are inevitably affected by different events that take place in our lives. It’s only normal to feel down, stressed, anxious or worried when things go awry. However, we should be able to control our anxieties and fears or they may affect our long-term mental health and well-being. As opposed to what most people think, good mental health is much more than just the absence of mental disorders.

What Is Mental Health Then?

As defined by the World Health Organization, mental health is a state of well-being in which people realize their potential, can work productively, are able to cope with normal stresses of life, and make contributions to their community.1

Although the exact causes of many mental illnesses are still unknown, we now have many medications and treatments available that improve overall mental health thanks to scientific developments. For example, nootropics, or cognitive enhancer supplements, are drugs that help to improve a person’s cognitive functions, such as memory, concentration, creativity, and motivation.

Factors Affecting Mental Health

All of us experience bad things in life, but all of us deal with them differently. The way we cope with negative people and experiences determines our quality of life and our overall well-being.

Research has shown that a variety of factors can affect our mental health. These include psychological, biological and environmental factors. Researchers are of the opinion that mental disorders are caused by a combination of all these factors.

Biological Factors

Certain biological mechanisms negatively affect an individual’s mental health. These include:

  • Genetics

  • Injuries to certain areas of the brain

  • Abnormal functioning of nerve cells

  • Brain defects

  • Prenatal damage

  • Nutritional deficiency

  • Some infections are also known to contribute to brain disorders and can even cause brain damage. For example, pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorder (PANDA) that is linked with OCD and other mental issues in children is caused by Streptococcus bacteria.

  • Some other illnesses, such as cancer or AIDS, can also make a person feel depressed or hopeless and can affect his/her mental health.

Psychological Factors

Certain psychological factors cause emotional disturbance and if not dealt with properly, can negatively affect a person’s mental health:

  • Severe emotional trauma caused by bad incidents such as losing a loved one and different types of abuse

  • Neglect that can create feelings of isolation and loneliness

  • Divorce

  • Negative thoughts

  • Stress, anxiety and depression

  • Grief

  • Discrimination

  • Poor anger management

Environmental Factors

Certain environmental or social factors can contribute to stress and depression, which can make a person susceptible to the development of certain mental health issues. These include:

  • Economic hardships due to unemployment or loss of job

  • Dysfunctional family life or problems in relationships

  • Too much criticism or other factors that can make a person feel inadequate and lowers his/her self-esteem

  • Substance abuse

  • Violence, abuse or bullying by partner, family, friends, or colleagues.

  • Inability to fulfill expectations of family and society. For example, a person who does not fulfill society’s definition of beauty may get depressed. Similarly, a person may develop eating disorders because he/she is trying to fulfill the standards of beauty that many societies associate with thinness.

Students also face societal pressure to perform well on all exams and a child who is unable to do is looked down upon and even mocked. In addition to counseling, nootropics can be helpful for such students as these drugs are known as brain boosters. However, like any other medication, always consult a doctor before taking any nootropic drug.