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Summary of Mental Health Issues

Updated: May 23, 2023

Summary of MH issues

Mental illness is a general term for several different types of illnesses that can impact a person’s behaviour, feelings, thoughts or perceptions.

This is not an exhaustive list but a selection in alphabetical order to give an overview of each to give the reader some insight so as to empathise with the person who may be suffering from one of these.

While it can be sometimes difficult for someone who is not suffering to comprehend these feelings, it is very real for the sufferer and, in some cases, they may be unaware that this is anything other than “normal”

Mental health illness should be diagnosed and treated by medical professionals and specialists in this field of medicine.

Anxiety disorders

A group of mental health disorders which can include social phobias (extreme fear or dislike for certain things or situations) such as agoraphobia, open or crowded places, and claustrophobia, enclosed places.

Generalised anxiety disorders, panic disorders, post traumatic stress disorders and obsessive compulsive disorders.

Any of these can have a significant negative impact on people's daily lives.

A person with a generalised anxiety disorder may also have physical symptoms such as restlessness, fatigue and muscle tension and irritability.

They can also have trouble sleeping or concentrating.

Behavioural and emotional disorders in children

Common behaviour disorders in children include attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) and conduct disorder (CD)

Bipolar affective disorder

Bipolar affective disorder is a type of mood disorder, formerly known as ‘manic-depression’.

A person with this disorder can experience periods of depression and elation (mania).

While it can be genetic, its exact cause is unknown, however, environmental stressors can trigger episodes.


Depression is not just a feeling of sadness.

It is a mood disorder which is characterised by lowering of mood plus loss of enjoyment and interest in things previously enjoyed, as well as reduced energy.

There are different levels and severities of depression as well as different signs and symptoms some of which can lead to suicidal thoughts or behaviour.

Common symptoms include tiredness or irritability most of the time. Sleeping, concentrating or memory problems and changes in appetite.

People with depression often have feelings of guilt, negative thoughts and worthlessness and lack confidence and can be very self critical.

Dissociation and dissociative disorders

Dissociation is a process where a person disconnects from their own thoughts, identity, memories or feelings.

These can include dissociative amnesia, depersonalisation disorder and dissociative identity disorder

Eating disorders

Eating disorders include anorexia, bulimia nervosa and other binge eating disorders.

These can affect males or females and can have severe physical and psychological outcomes.

Obsessive compulsive disorder

Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder.

The person may be having thoughts, images or impulses that keep coming into the mind and are difficult to get rid of (called obsessions), and a strong feeling that the person must carry out or repeat certain physical acts or mental processes (called compulsions).

Common obsession include fear of germs, dirt, safety as well as wanting things arranged in a specific order and thoughts or fears of harming someone else.

Common compulsions include constant tidying, cleaning, washing, repeatedly checking, counting and arranging. Hoarding can also be an obsession.

Panic disorder

The main symptoms of panic disorder are recurring and unexpected panic attacks as well as constant worry about having another panic attack.

This may happen because a particular situation has presented which the person feared or wanted to avoid. Sometimes there is no obvious cause.

People who have panic attacks often change their behaviour because of the attacks which can then develop into phobias, such as agoraphobia, to try to avoid the situation which leads to the attack recurring.


Paranoia is a persistent feeling and irrational feeling that other people are “out to get you”.

It may be a symptom of other conditions such as paranoid personality disorder, delusional (paranoid) disorder or schizophrenia.

Post-traumatic stress disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a condition that can develop as a response in people who ha experienced a distressing, threatening or traumatic or event such as serious accident, physical or sexual assault, war events or natural disasters.

Common symptoms of PTSD include repeated distressing memories of the event (flashbacks), nightmares or constantly reliving the event while physical reactions often include sweating and shaking.


People experiencing psychosis are subject to confused thinking, delusions or hallucinations.

These can occur in several different types of mental illnesses, including schizophrenia, mood disorders, or drug-induced psychosis.


Schizophrenia is not a split personality.

It is a complicated psychotic disorder. It is often demonstrated by disruption to emotions and thoughts as well as a distorted perception of reality.

Symptoms can include thought disorder, social withdrawal, delusions, lack of motivation and memory.

People with schizophrenia may also experience hallucinations and are at a high risk of suicide.

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