MENTAL ILLNESS

Mental illness or mental health disorders encompass several health conditions which affect one’s thinking. These disorders may arise due to various factors, depending on the specific disorder type. Some of the causes include biological factors (family history, genes, chemical imbalances in the brain) or environmental factors (abuse, traumatic brain injuries, isolation, or diagnosis of a serious illness) (“Mental Disorders”).

 

STATISTICS

  • One in every eight people live with a mental illness (WHO).

  • There was a 26~28% increase in mental illness in 2020 from the pandemic (WHO).

  • In the U.S., nearly half of all adults (46.4%) will experience mental illness in their life (Mental Health First Aid USA, 2019)

  • In the U.S., only 41% of those with mental health disorders receive professional care and services (Mental Health First Aid USA, 2019)  

 

TYPES OF MENTAL ILLNESSES

Credits to the Mayo Clinic - for more information, check out their website

 

ANXIETY

A disorder characterized by experiencing obsessive, persistent stress and fear over everyday tasks.

  • Symptoms

    • Hyperventilation

    • Nervousness, tense, restless

    • Sweating 

    • Perception of danger, panicking

    • Gastrointestinal problems 

    • Difficulty sleeping

    • Purposefully avoiding things that trigger these responses

 

DEPRESSION

A mood disorder characterized by feelings of persistent sadness, hopelessness, and general apathy.

  • Symptoms

    • Outbursts over small matters

    • Apathy for normal activities (ex. hobbies)

    • Lack of energy, fatigue

    • Feelings of worthlessness & hopelessness

    • Recurring thoughts of death & suicide

 

ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER (ADHD)

  • Symptoms

    • Trouble focussing on tasks 

    • Making careless mistakes

    • Not listening to teachers even while being spoken directly to

    • Difficulty with organization 

    • Easily distracted

    • Restlessness (squirming feet, fidgeting, tapping)

    • Talking too much (blurting out answers, interrupting when people speak)

A chronic condition characterized by difficulty paying attention, hyperactivity, and impulsive behavior

 

BIPOLAR DISORDER

A disorder characterized by extreme mood swings with highs (hypomania) and lows (depression)

  • Hypomania

    • Abnormally upbeat, excited, exaggerated self-confidence, extremely talkative, poor decision making (ex. expending large sums of money) 

  • Depression

    • Loss of interest, feeling sad/empty/hopeless, fatigue, sense of worthlessness, difficulty with concentration, considering suicide  

 

BORDERLINE PERSONALITY DISORDER

A disorder that impacts the way you think and views yourself/others, making it difficult to function daily.

  • Symptoms

    • Stress paranoia and intense fear of abandonment (going to extreme measures to avoid this)

    • Unstable relationships 

    • Rapidly changing self-identity / self-image (ex., shifting goals and values)

    • Suicidal behavior

    • Risky behavior

    • Intense anger (ex., losing temper, physical altercations, etc.)

 

SCHIZOPHRENIA

A disorder where people interpret reality abnormally, meaning hallucinations, delusions, and disordered thinking that may be crippling.

  • Symptoms

    • Delusions (false beliefs not based on reality)

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

    • Disorganized thinking (difficulty communicating and articulating. Responses to questions may be unrelated) 

    • Disorganization

    • Abnormal motor function 

    • Lack of function (disregarding hygiene, no emotions, not making eye contact) 

 

POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER

  • Symptoms

    • Intrusive / Recurring memories (flashbacks, nightmares, severe psychological stress/anxiety)

    • Avoid thinking, talking, or any association with the event

    • Emotional numbness

    • Detachment from friends/family

    • Difficulty remembering the past 

    • Feelings of hopelessness (lacking any positive emotions)

A disorder triggered by a traumatic event that can be recalled through flashbacks which induce uncontrollable emotions regarding the event.

 

EATING DISORDERS

A disorder characterized by persistent eating patterns which negatively impact health and ability to function as a person. Includes, bulimia, anorexia, binge-eating disorder, rumination disorder, etc.

  • Symptoms (general - depends on the type of disorder)

    • Skipping meals (finding excuses for not eating)

    • Obsession with healthy eating

    • Frequent check-ups to the mirror to perceive flaws

    • Loss of tooth enamel (sign of repeated vomiting) 

    • Eating alone (secretly)

    • Dietary supplements 

    • Eating large quantities of high-sugar / high-fat foods

    • Expression of shame and guilt for eating habits