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Mental Health Conditions

Mental health conditions are disorders that affect how you think, feel, and behave. Understanding these conditions, even if you can't diagnose yourself, is crucial. By recognizing the signs, you can seek professional help and get on the path to managing your mental wellbeing.

Common Types of Mental Health Conditions:

Anxiety

Anxiety is more than just a fleeting fear after seeing a scary movie or anticipating a really big test and being nervous. Feeling anxious is a natural human response, but if you notice that you are avoiding certain people, places, or situations in order to avoid feeling shy, scared, or uneasy on a regular basis, you may be experiencing anxiety that needs to be addressed. 

  • Signs and Symptoms:

    • Restlessness or feeling on edge

    • Easily fatigued

    • Difficulty concentrating

    • Irritability

    • Muscle tension

    • Sleep problems (trouble falling or staying asleep, or restless sleep)

    • Panic attacks (sudden episodes of intense fear that cause physical symptoms)

    • Avoiding certain people, places, or situations in order to avoid feeling shy, scared, or uneasy

  • Anxiety is a problem if it makes the person:​

    • Want to avoid certain activities or places​

    • Have trouble at school, work or any other daily activities

    • Be abnormally anxious around friends in social situations

Depression

Depression extends beyond temporary feelings of sadness and a lack of interest in normally enjoyed activities. It can be an issue when it interferes with your ability to function long term, such as the inability to concentrate in school, lack of motivation to interact with friends, thoughts of suicide, and not enjoying activities you would normally enjoy.

  • Signs and Symptoms:

    • Feeling sad or having a depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day

    • Marked loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed

    • Significant weight loss or gain (when not dieting) or a decrease or increase in appetite

    • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much

    • Loss of energy or increased fatigue

    • Feeling worthless or guilty

    • Difficulty thinking, concentrating, or making decisions

    • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide

    • Restlessness or feeling slowed down

    • Inability to concentrate in school

    • Lack of motivation to interact with friends

    • Not enjoying activities you would normally enjoy

  • Depression is a problem if it:​

    • Gets in the way of different parts of life, like school, work or relationships​.

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders exist for all gender identities despite media representation. Constant images of celebrities and models fill us with the expectation that we must look a certain way to be accepted. If you find that you are fixated on your weight and that you go to lengths to avoid weight gain by purposefully not eating, excessive exercising and participate in self-induced throwing up, then you may be experiencing an eating disorder that requires attention because these actions can have long-lasting effects on your mind, emotions, and body.

  • Signs and Symptoms:

    • Anorexia nervosa: characterized by an intense fear of gaining weight, even though underweight. People with anorexia nervosa often restrict their intake of food and may exercise excessively.

    • Bulimia nervosa: characterized by episodes of uncontrolled eating (bingeing) followed by purging behaviors such as vomiting, laxative abuse, or excessive exercise.

    • Binge-eating disorder: characterized by recurrent episodes of uncontrolled eating (bingeing) that are not followed by purging behaviors.

    • Fixation on weight and body image

    • Going to extreme lengths to avoid weight gain, such as not eating, excessive exercising, or purging

  • People of all shapes and sizes can have an eating disorder.​

Trauma-Related & Stress-Related Challenges

Trauma-related and stress-related challenges are mental health conditions that are triggered by a traumatic event or ongoing stressful situation.

  • Signs and Symptoms:

    • Anxiety

    • Depression

    • Flashbacks

    • Nightmares

    • Avoidance of reminders of the trauma

    • Hypervigilance (being on high alert)

    • Difficulty concentrating

    • Irritability

    • Sleep problems

  • It's a problem if:​

    • Someone feels overwhelmed and unable to cope with what they have been through​

    • And it impacts their ability to live in their daily life

Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness that can affect a person's thoughts, emotions, and behavior.

  • Signs and Symptoms:

    • Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that are not there)

    • Delusions (false beliefs that are not based on reality)

    • Disorganized speech

    • Disorganized or abnormal motor behavior (including catatonia)

    • Negative symptoms (reduced emotional expression, alogia, avolition)

Bipolar

Bipolar disorder, also called manic-depressive illness, is a mental illness that causes extreme shifts in mood and energy levels.

  • Signs and Symptoms:

    • Manic episode: a period of abnormally elevated, expansive, or irritable mood that lasts for at least a week (or any duration if hospitalization is necessary)

    • Depressive episode: a period of depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure in activities that lasts for at least two weeks

    • Hypomanic episode: a less severe manic episode that lasts for at least four days

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

ADHD is a common neurodevelopmental disorder that can cause attention difficulty, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.

  • Signs and Symptoms:

    • Inattentiveness: Difficulty paying attention, following instructions, finishing tasks, or staying organized.

    • Hyperactivity: Excessive fidgeting, restlessness, or difficulty staying still.

    • Impulsivity: Acting without thinking, interrupting conversations, or blurting things out.

    • Difficulty waiting their turn

    • Disorganization and forgetfulness

  • People with ADHD may feel restless and almost always hyperactive or have problems with paying attention, being disorganized and controlling their actions.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

OCD is a mental health disorder characterized by intrusive thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive behaviors (compulsions) that a person feels driven to perform.

  • Signs and Symptoms:

    • Unwanted and intrusive thoughts that cause anxiety or distress (obsessions)

    • Repetitive behaviors that a person feels driven to perform to reduce anxiety (compulsions)

    • Examples of compulsions include handwashing, counting, checking, praying, or arranging things in a specific order.

Panic Disorder

Panic disorder is characterized by sudden and unexpected panic attacks. Panic attacks are episodes of intense fear that cause physical symptoms like shortness of breath, heart palpitations, chest pain, dizziness, or feeling faint.

  • Signs and Symptoms:

    • Sudden and unexpected panic attacks

    • Feelings of intense fear or terror during a panic attack

    • Physical symptoms like shortness of breath, heart palpitations, chest pain, dizziness, or feeling faint

    • Fear of having another panic attack (which can lead to avoidance of certain situations)

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD is a mental health condition that can develop after experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event.

  • Signs and Symptoms:

    • Re-experiencing symptoms: Flashbacks, nightmares, or intrusive thoughts about the traumatic event.

    • Avoidance symptoms: Avoiding people, places, situations, or reminders that trigger memories of the event.

    • Negative thoughts and feelings: Feeling disconnected from others, negative thoughts about oneself or the world, feeling hopeless or angry.

    • Increased arousal and reactivity: Difficulty sleeping, feeling irritable or on edge, difficulty concentrating, being easily startled.

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