Defining Psychosocial Health
- It encompasses the mental, emotional, social, and spiritual
dimensions of health.
- There are several basic elements
shared by psychosocially healthy people.
- They feel good about themselves.
- They feel comfortable with other people.
- They control tension and anxiety.
- They are able to meet the demands of life.
- They curb hate and guilt.
- They maintain a positive outlook.
- They enrich the lives of others.
- They cherish the things that make them smile.
- They value diversity .
- They appreciate and respect nature
- Mental Health
describes the "thinking" part of psychosocial health.
- This includes the ability to reason, interpret,
and remember from a unique perspective.
- One can intellectually sort through information,
attach meaning, and make decisions.
- Mentally healthy persons thinks rationally with
fairly accurate perceptions of events.
- Emotional Health
refers to the "feeling" or subjective part of psychosocial
- Emotions are
intensified feelings or complex patterns of feelings that we experience.
- Richard Lazarus identified four types of emotions:
- Emotions resulting from loss, harm, or threats.
- Emotions resulting from benefits.
- Borderline emotions, such as hope and compassion.
- More complex emotions, such as grief, bewilderment,
- Emotionally healthy people are able to respond in a
stable and appropriate manner to upsetting events.
- Social Health
refers to our interactions with others and our ability to adapt to social
- There are two factors that are important to social
- Presence of social bonds or social linkages.
- Presence of key social supports, expressive or
- Socially healthy people have a wide range of social
interactions with family, friends, acquaintances, and individuals with
whom they may only occasionally come into contact.
- They are able to:
- express themselves.
- form healthy relationships.
- act in socially acceptable and responsible
- find a best fit for themselves in society.
Factors Influencing Psychosocial Health
- External influences
are those factors that we do not control, such as who raised us.
- The family influences include family upbringing.
- Healthy, nurturing families produce more well-adjusted
- Dysfunctional families may produce confused adults
who have a harder time adapting to life.
- Influences of the greater environment
include safety, access to health services and programs, and socioeconomic
- Internal factors include
hereditary traits, hormonal functioning, physical health status, physical
fitness, and other selected elements of mental and emotional health.
refers to a person's belief about whether he or she can successfully
engage in and execute a specific behavior.
- Learned helplessness is a response to continued
failure where people give up and fail to take action to help themselves.
- Personality is
not static; it changes as we move through our lives. The following traits
appear to be found in psychosocially healthy people:
- Emotional stability
- Openness to experience
Enhancing Psychosocial Health.
- Self-esteem refers
to one's sense of self-respect or self-confidence. It is how much one
likes oneself and values one's own personal worth as an individual.
- Self-esteem can be improved in several ways:
- Support groups
- Completing required tasks
- Forming realistic expectations
- Taking/Making time for you
- Maintaining physical health
- Examining problems and seeking help
- Getting adequate sleep
can improve psychosocial health.
- There are several methods to conquer sleeplessness:
- Establish a consistent sleep schedule.
- Evaluate your sleep environment and change
anything that could keep you awake.
- Exercise Regularly.
- Limit caffeine and alcohol.
- A void eating a heavy meal at bedtime.
- If unable to get to sleep in 30 minutes, get
up and do something else for awhile.
- If you nap, do so only during the afternoon,
when you are especially sleepy.
- Establish a relaxing nighttime ritual that
puts you in the mood to sleep.
- Spiritual health
refers to the possession of a belief in some unifying force that gives
purpose or meaning to life or to a sense of belonging to a scheme of
existence greater than merely personal.
- Dr. Lee-Smith defines spiritual health as:
- the quality of existence in which one is at peace
with self and in good stead with the environment.
- a sense of empowerment and personal control that
includes feeling heard and valued, feeling in control over one's
- a sense of connectedness to one's deepest self,
to other people, and to all regarded as good.
- a sense of meaning and purpose- giving a sense
of mission, finding meaning and wisdom in here-and-now difficulties,
enjoying the process of growth, and having a vision of one's potential.
- enjoying the process of growth and having a vision
of one's potential.
- having hope: having positive expectations.
addresses four main themes:
- Interconnectedness -to self, others and a larger
meaning or purpose.
- Practice of mindfulness -the ability to be fully
present in the moment
- Spirituality as a part of daily life, articulating
your purpose in life, feeling joy, love, peace, and fulfillment.
It includes faith, hope and love.
- Faith is the belief that helps us realize our
purpose in life.
- Hope is the belief that allows us to look confidently
and courageously into the future.
- Love involves accepting, affirming, and respecting
self and others and living in harmony with our community.
- Spirituality is a factor in well-being when four basic
needs are satisfied:
- The need for having.
- The need for relating.
- The need for being.
- The need for transcendence.
- Subjective well-being
(SWB) is that uplifting feeling of inner peace and wonder called happiness
which is defined by three central components:
- Satisfaction with present life.
- Relative presence of positive emotions.
- Relative absence of negative emotions.
- People with SWB are typically resilient, are able to
look on the positive side, get back on track quickly and do not despair
as deeply over setbacks.
- Maintaining an optimistic mindset, including expression
of emotions and using laughter, is linked to improved immune function.
- Stressed out people with a strong sense of humor
become less depressed.
- Students who use humor as a coping mechanism are
in better moods.
- Senior citizens with a sense of humor are more
likely to recover from depression.
- Laughter has been shown to increase T-cell function
in the immune system, protecting us from illness or helping us to
- Telling a joke, particularly one that involves
a shared experience increases social cohesion.
Common Psychosocial Problems
- Depression -
Depression strikes millions of Americans each year, with less than half
- It is normal to feel blue or depressed in response
to experiences such as the loss of something or someone of great value,
- Major depressive disorder is a form of chronic mood
disorder that involves extreme and persistent sadness, despair, and
- Other symptoms include:
- significant weight loss or weight gain.
- inability to find joy in pleasure-giving activities.
- preoccupied with failures, over concern with what
- diminished or increased appetite.
- fatigue and loss of energy, slow reactions.
- sleep too much or too little, insomnia.
- loss of sex drive or interest in close interactions
- withdrawal from friends and family.
- feeling agitated, hopeless, or worthless.
- recurring thoughts that life isn't worth living,
thoughts of death or suicide.
- difficulty concentrating.
- Facts and fallacies of
- True depression is not a natural reaction to crisis
- People will not snap out of depression by using
a little willpower.
- Frequent crying is not a hallmark of depression.
- Depression is not "all in the mind."
- It is not true that only in-depth psychotherapy
can cure clinical depression.
- Two-thirds of all people suffering from depression
- Biological theory states hormonal fluctuation in
women as the reason.
- Women may be under more stress than men.
- There are several different types of therapy
used to treat depression.
- Cognitive therapy aims to help patients look at
- Interpersonal therapy helps correct relationship
- Antidepressant drugs relieve symptoms in nearly
80% of chronic depressives.
- There are many types of antidepressants available,
care should be taken to fully explore the need for their use and
their potential side effects before accepting a prescription. Be
sure to ask your physician about the medication.
- Electroconvulsive therapy is a lesser-used form
- Seasonal affective disorder
is a type of depression known as the winter blues. It is associated
with reduced exposure to sunlight. It is treated with light therapy,
stress management, sleep restriction, medication, and psychotherapy.
- Anxiety disorders
- Anxiety disorders affect between 20 and 30 million people. They are
plagued by persistent feelings of threat and anxiety about everyday
problems of living. They include:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
involves excessive worry and anxiety that interferes with normal
- Phobias are
deep persistent fears of objects, activities, or situations.
- Panic Attacks
are sudden onsets of disabling terror.
- Post-traumatic stress disorders
affect people after they experience severe traumas.
- Schizophrenia -
Schizophrenia is characterized by the alteration of senses; the inability
to sort out incoming stimuli and to make appropriate responses; an altered
sense of self; and radical changes in emotions, movements, and behaviors.
Victims of this disease may not be able to function in society .
- It is treatable, but not curable.
- Treatments include hospitalization, medication, and
Suicide: Giving Up On Life
- Suicide is the third leading cause of death in 15-24
year-olds, accounting for almost 20% of all suicides.
- There are several common warning signs of suicide
intent (p.46, text).
- Take action if someone you know threatens suicide
- Seeking Professional Help (see Tables 2.2 and 2.3).
- There are several types of mental
- A psychiatrist is
a medical doctor who spends up to 12 years studying psychosocial
health and disease. A psychiatrist is able to write prescriptions.
- A psychoanalyst is
a psychologist or psychiatrist trained in psychoanalysis. This of
therapy helps people remember early traumas to unblock personal
- A psychologist usually
is a Ph.D. trained in various types of therapy, including behavior
and insight therapy.
- A clinical/psychiatric social
worker has a master's degree and at least 2 years of experience
in a clinical setting.
- A counselor often
has a master's degree in counseling, etc. The counselor often specializes
in one type of counseling such as family, marital, relationship,
- A psychiatric nurse
specialist is certified by the American Nursing Association in adult,
child, or adolescent psychiatric nursing.
What to expect in therapy:
- Explain needs, learn fees, and expect to spend an
hour during your first visit.
- The first session includes a personal history and
- Be open and honest in order for them to help.
- Do not expect to be told how to behave.
- If you don't feel comfortable with the therapist,
have the courage to say so.