Don’t Ignore the Pain of Mental Health Disorders


Sponsored by Central Florida Health Care

Good physical health is important for a long and happy life, but the role that mental health also plays cannot be forgotten. Taking a proactive approach is vital to keeping a healthy mental state. Doctors want to emphasize the benefits of regularly taking a look at one’s mental health.

Issues such as anxiety, depression, and other mental disorders require attention early on to prevent any further deterioration. When mental health problems are not addressed, they often can intensify.

Central Florida Health Care offers treatment for those struggling with mental health disorders. 

Michael Okeke, an advanced practice registered nurse at Central Florida Health Care, is working to not only spread awareness about mental health struggles but also to provide solutions. 

Okeke emphasizes the importance of adequate sleep to help combat issues. Sleep affects the intensity of existing disorders and can lead to the development of new symptoms. 

“Especially with depression in adults and bipolar disorder, even something as simple as sleep is affected when people have mental health issues,” Okeke says. “It is important for us to let the community know that we are able to provide solutions to some of these issues.”

Feeling tired when waking up in the morning, he says, could be a sign of a potential problem.

“When people are depressed, they either sleep too much or they don’t sleep at all,” Okeke explains. “They say that somebody who is not sleeping is like someone who is drunk, so they are not able to maximize the body’s function. So it is very, very important that we get adequate sleep.”

Depression can also lead to chronic pain, both physical and mental.

“It’s a very complicated process, but due to the way depression works … sometimes pain is not in the body, but it’s in the brain. Certain medications trick the pathways through which pain is transmitted to the brain, especially chronic pain,” Okeke says. “With antidepressants, we can also manage chronic pain disorders.”

While Central Florida Health Care can help patients decide whether a medication would be helpful, self-care and stress management also play a key role in mental health. That means taking care of yourself at home and developing coping techniques to moderate stress are a necessity for good mental health.

“The most important thing to do at home is stress management,” Okeke says. 

“Stress is the mother of all diseases. By reducing your stress level, you’re reducing your anxiety as well as managing your mood and depression.”

He says the first step to taking care of yourself is recognizing the symptoms and knowing when to seek help. Some symptoms of poor mental health include prolonged periods of sadness or random spurts of sadness, elevated frustration, increased irritability, poor sleep, crying over minor problems, a lack of appetite or binge eating, and poor self-image.

Those suffering with their mental health may normalize these symptoms to such a degree that they don’t believe they need help. In addition, they may worry they will be judged, or they may doubt treatment will be effective.

The stigma often associated with mental health but not physical health is one of the biggest obstacles to getting help. That’s why Okeke is spreading awareness of these common struggles and encouraging honest and open conversations about mental health.

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