What Mental Health Disorder Do I Have?
Mental health disorders are a broad category of conditions that affect your mood, thoughts and behavior. They can be life-changing and interfere with your daily activities.
They may be caused by abnormal genes, chemical imbalances in your brain or environmental stressors. You can get a mental illness at any age.
Depression is a mood disorder that causes you to feel depressed and sad almost every day. It can affect your appetite, thinking and sleep.
People with depression also have a low energy level, a sense of worthlessness or guilt and thoughts about death. These symptoms can make it difficult to function in your daily life, work or study.
You can get treated for depression with a combination of medication and therapy. Medication increases the amount of chemical messengers called neurotransmitters in your brain that help you feel good.
Some people with severe depression need to try several medications before they find one that works. Some people also get electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). This is a type of medication that sends electric shocks to the brain.
Anxiety is a normal and healthy reaction to something you are worried about, but if it lasts for several weeks to months or causes significant impairment, it is a disorder.
A common anxiety disorder is generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), which involves excessive worry about everyday life or specific things like job responsibilities, family health, or small matters such as chores or car repairs.
People who have GAD may experience physical symptoms like a racing heart, sweaty palms, difficulty breathing or muscle tension. They may also have trouble sleeping and concentrating as well.
Treatment for anxiety disorders generally involves psychotherapy and medications. Some treatments are more effective than others, and you should work with your health care provider to determine which treatment is best for you.
People with schizophrenia have abnormal thoughts, feelings and behavior. They often hear voices, see things that don’t exist and believe people on TV or newspaper articles are talking to them.
They also may think they are being taken over by someone else, and may become agitated and shout or swear for no reason.
These symptoms can be very scary for the person with schizophrenia, their family and friends. If you think your loved one might be having a psychotic episode, encourage them to talk with their healthcare provider as soon as possible.
Treatments for schizophrenia include antipsychotic medications that reduce the most troubling symptoms, like delusions and paranoia. They can be combined with psychotherapy methods that help people manage their symptoms and achieve their personal goals.
Paranoia is a mental health condition that affects people who are suspicious and wary of others. It can cause serious problems and rifts in interpersonal relationships.
It can be triggered by experiences of childhood abuse and trauma, or exposure to media reports of crime or terrorism. It can also be triggered by substance abuse.
If you experience frequent thoughts of harm or suspicions of someone else, it may be time to seek treatment. Psychotherapy and medication can help you to manage your symptoms and develop coping strategies for everyday life.
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) happens when someone has been exposed to, or witnessed, a traumatic event – this could be a car or other serious accident, sexual assault, war, terrorism or natural disaster.
Symptoms usually start within 3 months of the trauma. They can be so severe that they keep you from living your life normally.
If you think you may have PTSD, see your doctor to talk about it. The GP can then refer you to mental health specialists.
Treatments for PTSD often include medication and psychotherapy. This type of therapy can be one-on-one, or in a group. Some therapies help you relive the traumatic event and change negative beliefs or thoughts about it. Others focus on social, family or job-related problems.