Mental Health Conditions:

In many ways, mental health is just like physical health: everybody has it and we need to take care of it.

Good mental health means being generally able to think, feel and react in the ways that you need and want to live your life. But if you go through a period of poor mental health you might find the ways you're frequently thinking, feeling or reacting become difficult, or even impossible, to cope with. This can feel just as bad as a physical illness, or even worse.

Mental health problems affect around one in four people in any given year. They range from common problems, such as depression and anxiety, to rarer problems such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. ('Mind, 2017'

 

Please find below some information about some mental health conditions that can affect children and young people.

Anorexia and Bulimia

People with anorexia try to reduce their calorie intake. They might also try to lose weight to work off any food they have eaten. Anorexia leaves people feeling they look fat, even if they're very thin.

People with bulimia binge (eat lots of food at once) and then get rid of the food (usually by making themselves sick).

Both conditions leave people worrying about their weight or body shape. They will also be anxious about gaining any weight. 

Anorexia and bulimia are types of eating disorders and can affect both girls and boys. Get help with anorexiabulimia or binge eating

 

Anxiety and Panic Attacks

Anxiety is an uncomfortable tense feeling that can make you feel tired, upset, worried, shaky or light-headed. For most people, it’s normal to feel anxious from time to time. But regularly feeling this way can make some people struggle to enjoy their life. If that’s happening, it’s important to get support or to visit your doctor

Anxiety can also cause panic attacks. A panic attack is when you get a sudden rush of fear and feel less in control. It can make you feel like your heart is beating really fast, give you shortness of breath and feeling faint. A panic attack can be scary but it won’t physically hurt you.

Read more about managing your anxiety and controlling panic attacks.

 

Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Someone with ADHD has a lot of energy and might find it hard to concentrate on something for a long time. They'll also find it difficult to control their behaviour. ADHD affects around 1 in 100 young people and is more common in boys than girls.

Visit the YoungMinds website for more information on ADHD.

 

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a disorder in which your mood become extremely high or low, with episodes lasting for days or weeks on end.

It affects 1 in 100 people and tends to begin later in adolescence with symptoms usually starting between the ages of 15 and 19 in young people.

However, even if you’re affected by it, with the right treatment you can get on with life and continue doing the things you enjoy.

The symptoms of bipolar disorder can come and go – they won’t necessarily be present all the time. The symptoms to look out for include:

  • Extreme mood swings
  • Manic episodes such as taking a lot, racing thoughts, over confidence, increased activity
  • Difficulty with concentration
  • Low mood
  • Decreased energy
  • Disturbed sleep - feeling like you hardly need sleep (mania) or having difficulty sleeping (depression)
  • Reduced appetite
  • Thoughts of self-harm
  • Psychosis - if manic this might consist of beliefs that you have special powers or abilities

Just because you experience one or more of these symptoms, it doesn’t mean you’re definitely affected by bipolar disorder. It’s important to talk to your GP to get a full diagnosis.

Depresion

We all feel low or down at times but if your negative emotions last a long time or feel very severe, you may have depression.

Depression is a mood disorder where you feel very down all the time. Depression can happen as a reaction to something like abuse, bullying or family breakdown, but it can also run in families.

Depression often develops alongside anxiety

It's not the same as manic depression, which is another term for bipolar disorder

Depression is one of the most common types of mental illness. Although it's hard to feel optimistic when you're depressed, there is lots of support available to help you feel better.

The symptoms of depression:

Depression affects different people in different ways. Symptoms can include:

• not wanting to do things that you previously enjoyed

• avoiding friends or social situations

• sleeping more or less than normal

• eating more or less than normal

• feeling irritable, upset, miserable or lonely

• being self-critical

• feeling hopeless

• maybe wanting to self-harm

• feeling tired and not having any energy

Just because you experience one or more of these symptoms, it doesn’t mean you’re definitely affected by depression. It’s important to talk to your GP to get a full diagnosis.

 

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a type of anxiety disorder. It can be serious, but it's very treatable.

People with OCD have repeating thoughts, images or feelings that are distressing (obsessions). They carry out rituals or habits (compulsions) to temporarily feel better.

OCD rituals can be obvious to other people (like checking door locks) or they can happen inside your head (like counting or trying to counteract negative thoughts with positive ones).

OCD thoughts come in all shapes and sizes, but they often revolve around things like danger, dirt and contamination, or worries around sexuality or religion.  

The symptoms of OCD:

You might feel: 

• your mind being 'invaded' by horrible thoughts repeatedly

• scared, disgusted,  guilty, tearful, doubtful or depressed

• a powerful urge to do something to stop the feelings

• temporary relief after rituals

• a need to ask for reassurance or get people to check things for you

Just because you experience one or more of these symptoms, it doesn’t mean you’re definitely affected by OCD. It’s important to talk to your GP to get a full diagnosis.

 

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) happens after you experience something extremely frightening, like violence, abuse, rape or a life-threatening situation.

It can also affect you if you witnessed something terrible happening, such as a serious accident.

Most people take time to get over a traumatic event, but in PTSD, you can't move past the event and carry on having dreams, flashbacks or upsetting thoughts about it.

Complex PTSD is a more serious reaction to a long-lasting traumatic experience, for example abuse, neglect or frequent violence.

The symptoms of PTSD:

Symptoms can appear straight after a traumatic experience, or later on. They're usually noticed within 6 months of the experience.

The main symptoms of PTSD are:

  • flashbacks or nightmares about what happened
  • avoidance and numbing, where you try to keep busy and avoid thinking about it or doing things that might trigger memories of the traumatic event
  • being tense and on guard all the time in case it happens again

You may also experience:

  •  anxiety
  • anger or irritability
  • problems sleeping or eating
  • survivor's guilt, where you feel bad because others suffered more than you
  • depression
  • problems with alcohol or drug abuse
  • diarrhoea
  • muscle aches
  • difficulty remembering all of the traumatic event

Just because you experience one or more of these symptoms, it doesn’t mean you’re definitely affected by PTSD. It’s important to talk to your GP to get a full diagnosis.

 

Psychosis

Psychosis can be a symptom of serious mental illness like bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. 

In a psychotic episode, a person loses touch with reality as other people see it. They might hear voices, see or feel things that aren't there, feel paranoid or believe things that don't rationally make sense. These symptoms are there for most of the time for several weeks.

Although it can be scary, psychosis is treatable. Some people have one episode of psychosis and never have another one, while others might need ongoing treatment.

The symptoms of psychosis:

Other people might notice symptoms before you do, because psychosis can make you feel like things are normal when they're not. Symptoms include:

  • hallucinations where you see, feel, smell or hear things that aren't there
  • delusions, where you 'just know' things that seem unreal to other people e.g. paranoid beliefs that there is a conspiracy against you
  • feeling that you're being followed or your life is in danger
  • muddled thinking and difficulty concentrating
  • a feeling that you're being controlled by something outside yourself
  • feeling like time speeds up or slows down

Just because you experience one or more of these symptoms, it doesn’t mean you’re definitely affected by psychosis. It’s important to talk to your GP to get a full diagnosis.

 

Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a condition where your experience does not match up with reality as other people see it, a symptom called psychosis. In schizophrenia you may have developed 'psychotic' symptoms. 

For example, you might see, hear or believe things that for other people are not true. You can also feel muddled, low or withdrawn.

Schizophrenia is a serious illness, but it can be treated. It usually appears between the ages of 15 and 35. The cause is unknown, but you're more likely to experience it if a parent has it, or if you've had brain damage, drug and alcohol problems, or difficulties at home.

Having schizophrenia does not mean you have a 'split personality' or that you are violent.

The symptoms of schizophrenia:

Other people might notice symptoms before you do, because the condition means you don't always know what's real. Symptoms include: 

  • hallucinations where you see, feel, smell or hear things that aren't there
  • delusions, where you 'just know' things that seem unreal to other people, e.g. paranoid beliefs that there is a conspiracy against you
  • muddled thinking and difficulty concentrating
  • a feeling that you're being controlled by something outside yourself
  • not feeling up to normal activities like washing, dressing or seeing friends.

See also symptoms of psychosis

Just because you experience one or more of these symptoms, it doesn’t mean you’re definitely affected by schizophrenia. It’s important to talk to your GP to get a full diagnosis.

 

In addition of the conditions listed above, a more comprehensive list about conditions about mental health can be also accessed through the provided link at the below:

A-Z of Mental Health (Mind)

 

 

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