Understand Mental Health Problems
Some mental health problems are described using words that are in everyday use; for example, ‘depression’ or ‘anxiety’. This can make them seem easier to understand, but can also mean people underestimate how serious they can be.
Some of the most commonly diagnosed forms of mental health problem are described below.
Depression lowers your mood, and can make you feel hopeless, worthless, unmotivated and exhausted. It can affect sleep, appetite, libido and self-esteem. It can also interfere with daily activities and, sometimes, your physical health. This may set off a vicious cycle, because the worse you feel, the more depressed you are likely ...view middle of the document...
Compulsions are repetitive activities that individuals feel they have to do. This could be something like repeatedly checking a door to make sure it is locked or washing the hands a set number of times. Many of the young people I work with are Autistic this can often combine OCD if the young person is not doing something or repeating a word this can lead to anxiety as they feel they cannot cope with the compulsion or obsession.
A fear becomes a phobia when there is have an exaggerated or unrealistic sense of danger about a situation or object. These people will often begin to organise their life around avoiding the thing that they fear. The symptoms of phobias are similar to anxiety, and in severe forms they might experience panic attacks.
Bipolar disorder (formerly known as manic depression)
Individuals who have bipolar disorder will experience swings in mood. During ‘manic’ episodes, they are likely to display overactive excited behaviour. At other times, they may go through long periods of being very depressed. There are different types of bipolar disorder which depend on how often these swings in mood occur and how severe they are.
Schizophrenia is a controversial diagnosis. Symptoms may include confused or jumbled thoughts, hearing voices and seeing and believing things that other people don’t share. People who have these symptoms might also become confused and withdrawn. There is debate about whether schizophrenia is actually one condition or more a collection of symptoms that are not clearly related.
Generally speaking, personality doesn’t change very much. Yet it does develop as people go through different experiences in life, and as their circumstances change. Individuals who have a personality disorder, are likely to find it more difficult to change their patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving, and will have a more limited range of emotions, attitudes and behaviours with which to cope with everyday life.
Eating disorders can be characterised by eating too much, or by eating too little. Individuals who have an eating disorder may deny themselves anything to eat, even when they are very hungry, or may eat constantly, or binge. The subject of food, and how much they weigh, is likely to be on their mind all the time. An eating disorder is likely to develop as a result of deeper issues in the person’s life and is possibly a way of disguising emotional pain. Anorexia, bulimia, bingeing and compulsive eating are some of the most common eating disorders.
Self-harm is a way of expressing very deep distress. People may not know why they self-harm, but it can be a means of communicating what you can’t put into words, or even into thoughts, and has been described as an ‘inner scream’. After self-harming, the individual may feel better able to cope with life again, for a while, but the cause of the distress is unlikely to have gone away. This is another...