Updated: Nov 28, 2020
Looking after our mental health matters more than ever before. Fear, worry, and stress are normal responses to perceived, real or uncertain threats. So, it is normal and understandable that people will be experiencing fear more during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are all experiencing significant changes to our daily lives as our movements are restricted in support of efforts to contain and slow down the spread of the virus. Faced with new realities of working from home, temporary unemployment, home-schooling of children, and lack of physical contact with other family members, friends and colleagues, it is important that we look after our mental health, as well as our physical health.There are nearly 300 mental disorders listed in the DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), so we decided to outline the 10 most common disorders to help you stay in the know and help put a smile on your face knowing whatever's on your mind, we're here to support you and anyone you love who could potentially be suffering from mental health.
Some of the main groups of mental disorders are: -
Mood disorders (such as depression or bipolar disorder)
Psychotic disorders (such as schizophrenia)
Trauma-related disorders (such as post-traumatic stress disorder)
Substance abuse disorders
We all experience the feeling of being worried, fearful and tense at some point. These responses are normal in reaction to certain situations. The difference with someone who has an anxiety disorder is these normal feelings of fear, nervousness or being scared and in danger can be ongoing and make the person feel anxious all or most of the time. This will impact their ability to live a full life. These feelings can cause physical symptoms such as a racing heartbeat but if help from a doctor is sought they can offer treatment and support the person to recover from anxiety.
Depression is a long-lasting low mood disorder which can include feeling bad about yourself and not wanting to do things. It affects a person’s ability to do everyday things, feel pleasure or take interest in activities. It’s different from feeling sad or down, the truth is anyone can experience depression. Depression can be caused by anything, from family history, upbringing, stressful events and a person’s lifestyle. Professionals describe depression as ‘mild’, ‘moderate’ or ‘severe’ therefore treatment will depend on how it is described.
If you feel low, try to get enough sleep and eat well. It is important to try and keep active, even if you don’t feel like it.
Bipolar disorder was previously named manic depression. It is also sometimes known as a bipolar affective disorder. Everyone experiences changes in their mood but bipolar disorder can change a person’s mood dramatically, it causes sufferers mood to change from manic highs to extreme lows which can affect every part of a sufferers life. These extreme highs and lows can sometimes last for months at a time. Symptoms of mania can include excitement, impulsive behaviour, increased energy and agitation. Symptoms of depression can include lack of energy, low self-esteem and suicidal thoughts. Sufferers can also experience psychotic symptoms with bipolar disorder. There are many different causes such as genetics and environment and each case would need to be dealt with differently.
4. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder which is usually caused by experiencing a serious traumatic or frightening experience such as an assault, violence, accident or natural disaster; even witnessing an assault, childbirth or being bullied can cause PTSD. Many people have some symptoms of trauma after a traumatic event. But for most people, these go away with time and do not develop into PTSD. Symptoms can include having traumatic memories or dreams, avoiding things that remind them of the event, not being able to sleep and feeling anxious. PTSD sufferers may also feel isolated and withdrawn. PTSD can be treated with therapy.
5. Eating Disorder
When someone has an eating disorder they use food to manage their feelings. They will have a difficult relationship with food and weight. They may eat too much or too little food. Anyone, regardless of age, gender or weight can have an eating disorder. Having an eating disorders can lead to serious physical health problems. There are different types of eating disorder the three common ones are: -
Binge eating disorder (BED)
Eating disorders aren’t just about food. They can be about difficult or painful feelings which someone is finding hard to face. Focusing on food can be a way of masking these problems, even from themselves.
Psychosis is a medical term used to describe when someone experiences reality in a different way to others. Someone experiencing psychosis might see, hear or believe things that others may not; believing that people are trying to harm them. They may believe their experiences are real. Some people describe it as a ‘break from reality’. Psychosis can be a one-off experience or linked to other conditions such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. There’s no one single cause of psychosis, but researchers believe genes and your environment can play a part along with factors such as drug use, extreme stress or brain injury.
Schizophrenia affects the way you think and cope with daily life. Someone living with schizophrenia may experience hallucinations, delusions, disorganised thinking and lack motivation for daily activities. There are positive and also ‘negative symptoms’. The common negative symptoms suffered from people with schizophrenia are lack of motivation or becoming withdrawn.
Below is a list of different types of schizophrenia: -
The cause of schizophrenia is unknown and there are different causes of schizophrenia, but it is usually a combination of the following factors below: -
Complications at birth
Some people develop schizophrenia following a stressful event, such as the death of a loved one or the loss of a job. Experiences like growing up in a town or city, stressful life events and moving to a new town or country can also trigger symptoms of psychosis and schizophrenia. If medical help is sought sufferers can get medication and psychological treatments for schizophrenia.
8. Personality Disorder
Our personalities are made up of the way we think, feel and act. A personality disorder might be diagnosed when parts of our personality cause problems in our lives. There are different types of personality disorder which are grouped into 3 clusters: A, B and C: -
Cluster A personality disorders - Having a cluster A personality disorder means that a person finds it difficult to relate to other people. They might be viewed by others as odd or eccentric.
Paranoid personality disorder
Schizoid personality disorder
Schizotypal personality disorder
Cluster B personality disorders - Cluster B personality disorders are grouped based on those who find it difficult to control their emotions. They might be viewed as unpredictable by others.
Antisocial personality disorder (ASPD)
Borderline personality disorder (BPD)
Histrionic personality disorder
Narcissistic personality disorder
Cluster C personality disorders - People with cluster C personality disorders have strong feelings of fear or anxiety. They might appear withdrawn to other people.
Dependent personality disorder
Avoidant personality disorder
Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder
BPD is an illness that affects the way you think and feel about yourself, as well as your emotions and relationships with other people. It's also known as an emotionally unstable personality disorder (EUPD). When someone suffers from BPD it means that they feel strong emotions which can be difficult to cope with. They may feel angry or upset very often. Around 1 in 100 people have BPD.
Biological factors – When it is passed on through genes
The environment around a person and where they grow up
Trauma – These can include neglect, physical, emotional or sexual abuse
When we are growing up, we learn to cope with emotional changes and make relationships with other people. Children who are abused or neglected often don’t learn these things, so they may find it more difficult to manage how they feel when they are adults. This does not mean that all people who experience trauma will develop personality disorders, but they may be more likely to.
9. Schizoaffective Disorder
Schizoaffective disorder is a mental illness that affects someones moods, thoughts and behaviour. Schizoaffective disorder has symptoms of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
There are 3 main types of schizoaffective disorder: -
Manic type - This means someone has symptoms of schizophrenia and mania at the same time during an episode
Depressive type - This means someone has symptoms of schizophrenia and depression at the same time during an episode.
Mixed type - This means someone has symptoms of schizophrenia, depression and mania during an episode.
Schizoaffective disorder doesn’t have one clear cause, however anyone with the condition will have a chemical imbalance in their brain. Research has shown that genetic and environmental factors can increase a person's risk of developing the illness.
Genetics – Schizoaffective disorder is more likely to develop if other members of the same family who have schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder or bipolar disorder
Environment – Stress can contribute to a schizoaffective episode. Childhood trauma is shown to make the development of the condition more likely
10. Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
BPD is an illness that affects the way you think and feel about yourself, as well as your emotions and relationships with other people. It's also known as emotionally unstable personality disorder (EUPD). When someone suffers from BPD it means that they feel strong emotions which can be difficult to cope with. They may feel angry or upset very often. Around 1 in 100 people have BPD.
There are many different causes of BPD, but it is common for people with BPD to have had a traumatic childhood.
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What Should You Do?
If you or someone you know are feeling any symptoms from anything we have written about or are finding it difficult to manage any mental health issues, below we have listed places in the UK where you can get advice and seek professional help: -
Charity providing support if you have been diagnosed with an anxiety condition.
Phone: 03444 775 774 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 5.30pm)
A charity helping people living with manic depression or bipolar disorder.
CALM is the Campaign Against Living Miserably, for men aged 15 to 35.
Phone: 0800 58 58 58 (daily, 5pm to midnight)
Men's Health Forum
24/7 stress support for men by text, chat and email.
Mental Health Foundation
Provides information and support for anyone with mental health problems or learning disabilities.
Promotes the views and needs of people with mental health problems.
Phone: 0300 123 3393 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm)
Voluntary charity offering support for sufferers of panic attacks and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Offers a course to help overcome your phobia or OCD.
Phone: 0844 967 4848 (daily, 10am to 10pm). Calls cost 5p per minute plus your phone provider's Access Charge
Support for people with OCD. Includes information on treatment and online resources.
Phone: 0845 390 6232 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 5pm). Calls cost 5p per minute plus your phone provider's Access Charge
A charity run by people with OCD, for people with OCD. Includes facts, news and treatments.
Phone: 0333 212 7890 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)
Young suicide prevention society.
Phone: HOPElineUK 0800 068 4141 (Monday to Friday, 10am to 5pm and 7pm to 10pm, and 2pm to 5pm on weekends)
Rethink Mental Illness
Support and advice for people living with mental illness.
Phone: 0300 5000 927 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 4pm)
Confidential support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair.
Phone: 116 123 (free 24-hour helpline)
Emotional support, information and guidance for people affected by mental illness, their families and carers.
Textcare: comfort and care via text message, sent when the person needs it most: www.sane.org.uk/textcare
Peer support forum: www.sane.org.uk/supportforum
Information on child and adolescent mental health. Services for parents and professionals.
Phone: Parents' helpline 0808 802 5544 (Monday to Friday, 9.30am to 4pm)
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