Experiencing anxiety or nervousness is a natural and normal reaction to stress. A normal degree of fear of illnesses, new social interactions and frightening events can help individuals handle problems and challenging situations, and even avoid danger. However, enduring the terror of phobias or the unrelenting anticipatory anxiety on a regular basis to the point of being affected by such feelings could indicate a mental illness and not a normal part of the aging process.
Unfortunately, living in a culture where fear and vulnerability are considered signs of ineptitude and indecisiveness often worsen the stigma surrounding different phobias, thereby preventing the individual from seeking help. In fact, even close friends and family members don’t give the same amount of importance to phobias as they would give in the case of other physical ailments.
Seven years ago when Oliver (name changed), then 51, a mortgage broker from Santa Ana, was admitted to the hospital due to a massive nervous breakdown owing to constant fear of dejection and hopelessness, he felt as if his world had come to an end. Debilitated by frequent panic attacks about his finances, the fear of death and the fear of an inevitable disaster hitting his family, he even contemplated hitting the bottle. This sudden overwhelming anxiety and fear of uncertainty had begun affecting his daily tasks, social life and relationships.
However, on recovering after spending considerable time getting treated with medications coupled with cognitive behavioral therapy, he was saddened that his wife Matilda (name changed) was completely uncaring about all what he had gone through. Matilda never viewed his mental condition as a serious problem because she grew up believing that it was not okay for men to express fear and show their vulnerable side.
Fear of situations in life can prevent otherwise normal people from functioning properly or feeling good about themselves. Regrettably, phobias have their own way of hoodwinking even the merriest of people into believing that their worst fears are about to turn real. Constant mental afflictions involving imaginary events or situations cause their energy to deplete leaving them helpless and miserable most of the time. In such situations, professional intervention can go a long way in making a big difference to their lives.
Millions of Americans nationwide are affected by wide-ranging mental health conditions every year. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), about 44 million American adults experience mental illness in a given year. Senior citizens dealing with feelings and crises that seem beyond one’s control make up a significant portion of this adult population. In such moments, professional assistance from a trained, empathetic and licensed mental health expert can help the suffering individual to live a healthier and more productive life. In fact, why should someone wait until they experience some sort of mental illness-related suffering when it doesn’t hurt to explore the possibility of recovery.
Ways to combat the stigma surrounding phobias
- Knowing concrete facts about phobias: Unwanted fears or phobias that cause distress or that interfere with daily activities is not a normal part of aging, and can trigger several mental health problems. Being aware of the condition and creating awareness among others will go a long way in reducing the associated stigma.
- Introspecting one’s own attitudes and behavior: Viewing individuals as human beings rather than mere stereotypes helps curb prejudices and judgmental thinking. Besides, such an approach also helps rectify existing misconceptions about different phobias and replace them with factual knowledge.
- Carefully choosing words: Speaking using hurtful, insulting or derogatory words can affect someone who is already suffering from a mental health problem. Showing empathy helps to bring a smile on someone’s face.
- Making an effort to see the positive: People with mental health problems can also make valuable contributions to society. It is important to overlook their shortcomings and recognize and applaud their strengths.
- Advocating mental health reforms: Seeking opportunities to make people aware of the positive attitudes of those with mental health problems can dispel the myths and falsities propagated by people around and the media.
Sovereign Health can help
Unfortunately, most men have the impression that any kind of phobia is a woman’s affliction. On the contrary, it is a serious mental health condition faced by millions of men each year in the United States, just like any physical health condition such as hypertension or diabetes, and has nothing in common with personal or moral weakness. This May which is already being observed as the National Mental Health Awareness Month and also Older Americans Month, let us give pause and reach out to our elders who are in their golden years and listen to their problems. It is also a good time to help them get appropriate treatment and help if they seem to be suffering from any mental disorders such as phobias or anxiety.
Dealing with different types of mental disorders and understanding what causes mental illness can be a daunting task requiring a sensitive approach to ensure the individual seeking professional help does not face discrimination in any way. Many such people experiencing phobias, mood swings, anxiety or depression often tend to assume that anti-anxiety or antidepressant medications are the only solutions. But, very few know that other alternate therapies for mental health such as exercise, acupuncture, psychotherapy and membership of support groups also go a long way in combating afflictions of the mind.
An early mental health diagnosis from a reputed and professional mental health services provider is essential to nip the problem in the bud or else they can be immensely devastating. The Sovereign Health Group is one of the leading mental health institutions in the U.S., which provides treatment services for all kinds of mental health disorders. Learning how to treat mental health on the same lines as other chronic diseases, which demand a thorough diagnosis, regular check-ups and monitoring of treatment adherence increases chances of recovery.
Sovereign Health of Palm Desert, California offers a variety of customized mental health treatment programs suited to holistically treat older men. Our “personal recovery integrating men’s experiences” (PRIME) program provides a supportive and safe recovery environment designed to meet the specific issues facing men over the age of 40.
Whether you wish to know how to overcome mental illness or are looking for treatment centers in California or at a place closer home, we have facilities in all major places in the country. Our residential mental health treatment facilities in California are among the best in the nation. Call our 24/7 helpline or chat online to know about the most effective recovery programs to treat them at the earliest.