Receiving a Mental Health Diagnosis in Adulthood

mental health diagnosis in adulthood

You or your loved ones may have recognized the symptoms of a mental health concern, so you made the right choice by seeking a diagnosis for your struggles. Now you need to consider the impact of receiving a mental health diagnosis in adulthood, including the range of emotions you might be experiencing now. Understanding how mental health affects men, as well as understanding how to overcome the stigma of seeking treatment, is critical for you. The important thing to keep in mind is that you are not alone and help is available.

Diagnosis in Adulthood

The onset of most mental health disorders usually happens during the first three decades of life. Mood, anxiety, and substance use disorders, along with psychotic disorders, often emerge during adolescence and early adulthood; however, effective treatment is usually not sought until many years later. Intervention and treatment during the early stages of the mental health disorder may help reduce the severity and/or the persistence of the primary disorder and help prevent secondary disorders that may result.

Mental Health Stigmas for Men

Although diagnosis and treatment is critical for mental health in adulthood, many men do not seek help. There is a stigma attached to a mental health diagnosis and men tend to feel that stigma even more than women. A number of studies have been done on the effects of receiving a mental health diagnosis for men. Although men experience a higher rate of suicide, they are much less likely to seek out treatment for mental health or substance use disorders.

The World Health Organization, in a 2018 report, emphasized that cultural stigma around mental health issues is one of the chief obstacles for people admitting they are struggling and for them to seek help. In a separate study of 360 respondents with direct experience with depression or suicidal thoughts, published in the Community Mental Health Journal, more males than females said they would be embarrassed to seek formal treatment for their depression.

Major Mental Health Disorders Affecting Men

Seeking treatment after receiving a mental health diagnosis in adulthood is critical, for both mental health and physical health in men. The Mental Health Association (MHA) has identified five major mental health problems affecting men, including:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Psychosis and Schizophrenia
  • Eating Disorders

In addition, researchers found that the suicide rate among men in the US is about four times higher than that for women. Although women are more likely to attempt suicide, men are more likely to succeed in their attempts. Almost 31% of men have suffered from a period of depression at some point in their life. At least 9% of men in the US have feelings of depression or anxiety daily. One in three men have taken medication because of their feelings. Only one in four have spoken to a mental health professional.

Mental Health’s Effects on Adults

The National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) states that 1 in 5 adults experienced a mental illness in 2019, with 1 in 20 experiencing a serious mental illness. Mental health issues in adults can create other issues, such as with physical health, career and family, and substance use.

Individuals diagnosed with depression have a 40% higher risk of developing cardiovascular and metabolic diseases than the general population. The rate of unemployment is higher among adults in the US who have mental illness, as compared to those who do not. Of those adults who have been diagnosed with a mental illness, 18.4% also experience a substance use disorder.

Other findings include the fact that alcohol dependence is twice as high in men than in women. Also, men are more than three times as likely to be diagnosed with antisocial personality disorders than women. When a man develops a substance use disorder and has received a mental health diagnosis, the diagnosis is referred to as co-occurring disorders. Overcoming the stigma of mental health and substance use treatment is critically important for those with this dual diagnosis.

Dual Diagnosis Support for Men

At PACE Recovery, we optimize your recovery success with integrated treatment that will address both your mental health and substance use issues. We address your whole person, including your spiritual, medical, psychosocial, and relational facets.

The professionals at PACE understand the challenges you are facing during this period of isolation and uncertainty. We’re here to help. Our men’s-only programming has transformed hundreds of lives over the years, and we believe that you can recover. To learn more about our mental health and addiction services, contact our Admissions team.

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