Mental Illness

IMG_0453Mental illness is not a subject that people sit around and talk about at the dinner table or at lunch with friends, and yet 1 in 5 adults, or 5 million people have been diagnosed with it. Globally more than 300 million people suffer from depression alone. Anxiety tops the list with bipolar depression coming in close behind.

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) assured that people would receive treatment for mental health with exactly the same deductibles, cost sharing and limits as all other medical treatments. With the threatened repeal of ACA, millions of people are now at risk of losing their mental health treatment plans.

This field of study has always been severely restricted due to how insurance has limited payments in the past years, up until ACA assured there would be parity in mental health deductibles and co-pays. There is only one mental health professional per every 1,000 patients in the US so many people go untreated. Depression has been associated with the growing number of inmates in prisons. Inmates have more than three times the rate of depression compared to the general population in the United States.

The diagnosed rate in our youth is growing at an alarming rate, with almost half again as many high schooler’s experiencing mental health issues as there were just three years ago. Yet there is still such a stigma attached to mental illness, that more than half of people with this illness cannot obtain treatment or refuse to believe there is anything wrong with them. There simply is no emphasis placed on this important medical condition by the media. The only health issue discussed in the news is the obesity rate in the US, which has recently taken a back seat to all the chatter about Trump’s mental health condition that Congress is now concerned with.

Mental health issues have long been attributed to the increasing rates of divorce in our country, with more than half of all marriages ending. While most occur before the age of 30, even long-married couples aren’t immune to this statistic. Although they become biologically similar and actually begin to mirror each other’s emotional and physical health as a result of how interdependent, emotionally and physically connected they are, it can also cause great physical harm to the spouse married to one with mental illness.

There have been numerous studies showing that blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and many other illnesses are impacted by the stress of living with a spouse who has depression or anger outbursts as a result of bipolar anger. In recent years the mental health community realized that there is a significant difference in the normal anger we are all inclined to once in awhile and the vicious out-of-nowhere anger that seems to strike for no reason.

Most people recognize their normal outbursts and apologize for them. Bipolar anger doesn’t effect the patient at all, they have no memory of feeling angry and no feeling of remorse. Most of the time bipolar patients don’t have any memory of these episodes or the destructive things that came rolling out of their mouths. In fact they often blame the relationship issues on the other person, adding even more hurt and frustration to the person being attacked.  There is no gate that keeps their anger at bay, it simply pushes through and destroys relationships between mother and daughters, fathers and sons and husbands and wives.

Write to your congressman and express your concern about repealing the Affordable Care Act. It will impact over 30 million people in our country, many of whom are already struggling to find the proper treatment for their mental health issues.


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