Understanding the Most Common Mental Health Conditions

Whether you or your loved one has experienced or is experiencing a mental health problem, life can feel almost impossible at times and you can feel as if nobody understands you. Developing your knowledge on mental health conditions can not only help you understand and help, but can make the world of difference to a sufferer; having someone who does not judge them and can understand their actions.

What Is Meant by A Mental Illness

1 in 3 of us will experience a mental health issue once in our lifetime, whether this be a recurring problem or something you experience and eventually overcome. All of us will feel the burden of mental health ourselves or through a friend, partner or relative. A mental illness is very much like a physical illness, it cannot be helped and can display symptoms. Someone with a mental illness cannot “just get over it” as many people who do not understand mental illnesses believe. Mental health conditions can be caused by a range of physical, mental, genetic and environmental factors and may be triggered by a changing life event such as a grievance. A chemical imbalance in the brain can cause mental and physical symptoms, usually an imbalance of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin or dopamine.

Understanding Depression

Depression is the most commonly known mental health condition, but how much do you know and understand about how depression affects an individual and the severity of depression? Many of us may say we feel depressed without even thinking about what it means, but depression is different than a bout of sadness that everyone experiences from time to time.

The most typical signs and symptoms include a general feeling of sadness and depression over a period, inability to sleep, loss of interest in things you used to enjoy, loss of appetite and poor concentration. There are many types of depression including post-natal and seasonal affective disorder, and there may be an obvious cause but in some cases, there isn’t. Counselling, helping an individual with daily activities and socialising and anti-depressants can all aid in helping someone overcome depression.

Understanding Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Many of us will have heard of ADHD and although it is more common in children, adults can experience ADHD too. It is usually characterised by an inability to concentrate on tasks, impulsive and uncontrollable behaviour and the need to constantly be moving or fidgeting.

Most cases in children are recognised when they start school, as they need to concentrate on school work and the signs become more obvious. Many children can have signs and symptoms of ADHD at times, but if this is often, or all of the time and over a number of months, you may want to speak to a GP.

As an adult, you may find it difficult in holding down a job if you have ADHD. Websites such as Mental Health & Money Advice can give practical support and advice regarding financial problems and benefits you may be entitled to.

Understanding Anxiety

We will often suffer anxiety over certain things in our life, whether this be a driving test or speaking in public, or for some it may be when ordering food in a restaurant. Anxiety disorder is used when an individual suffers greatly with anxiety meaning they physically cannot do everyday things such as leave the house without extreme anxious feelings and physical symptoms.

Someone suffering with an anxiety disorder may never feel fully relaxed and can display both mental and physical symptoms such as feeling restless, not sleeping and having heart palpations. There are many things you can do to reduce the feelings of anxiety for yourself or loved one including exercising, not smoking, self-help courses and cutting down on caffeine and alcohol.


Schizophrenia is a long-term mental health condition and is often one of the most misunderstood. This does not mean that the sufferer has a Jekyll and Hyde personality or that they are violent, like the media may biasedly portray. Symptoms may include hallucinations, hearing voices, muddled thoughts and behavioral changes. The earlier schizophrenia is picked up and treated, the better.

Schizophrenia can be well managed by the individual taking medications and attending therapies to address the triggers that may have caused their illness. Mental health teams and charities may assist the individual to live a normal life and overcome their schizophrenia. Although a schizophrenic will recover and can be fine for weeks, months or years, there is always a chance of a relapse and therefore it is always helpful for the sufferer and those around them to notice signs of an acute episode so that they can seek help before it gets worse.

There is a lot more to many mental health conditions than people may see from the outside. If you believe you or someone you know is suffering from a mental health condition, help is always available.

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