Signs of mental disorders
Thursday, August 31st, 2017 | Blog
One in four people in the UK are currently living with health problems each year. Each week one in six people are likely to experience common mental health problems (such as anxiety and depression). Despite this, many people are unaware of the amount of people struggling with their mental well-being and may not know how they can support them.
Organisations such as Mind and the Mental Health Foundation are excellent resources for those struggling or if you think someone you know may be living with poor mental health. They provide tips to help support give advice on how to spot some key signs if you are worried about a friend or relative.
Some of the most common ways mental health can present itself are depression, anxiety and bipolar disorder. Below we’ve summarised some of the symptoms for each.
Everyone experiences unhappiness, often in relation to a specific event that has happened in their lives. Depression differs when someone experiences intense negative emotions over a prolonged period, such as; guilt, sadness, lack of self-esteem and struggling to find pleasure in life or things they usually enjoy. It is not uncommon that people who are feeling symptoms of depression sometimes keep it to themselves. If you are worried this may be the case, we have outlined some of the signals you may be able to look out for.
When someone is living with depression, they may struggle with sleeping - either too much or too little. Naturally, trouble sleeping can contribute to an individual’s emotions. Being mentally and physically tired can increase stress levels which contributes to a state of depression.
An unexpected change in an individual's’ personality can also be a sign of depression. A drop in self-esteem, a more introverted attitude and less participation in social activities can be common if someone is feeling depressed. Smaller signs such as a slouched posture, speaking slowly and quietly, even keeping their arms crossed with closed body language can all be tell-tale signs someone is not feeling their usual self.
Although anxiety is more commonly recognised today than ever before, it is still under the radar for many, not everyone knows what it really is or the symptoms that people may display.
Anxiety can be stress-related, it isn’t the same for everyone's anxiety. Some people's anxiety may get worse when socialising, whereas others may become anxious when faced with a challenge that they don't feel ready for.
This can trigger the ‘fight or flight’ response, which can result in an increase in breathing and even panic attacks. Often, when people are anxious their tolerance levels are much lower, so the ‘flight’ response is much more common. Often just asking if someone is okay can help to make positive difference.
Bipolar disorder is common when someone is suffering from depression. It is an illness that can severely affect an individual's mood and emotions, with both extreme highs and extreme lows. We all experience mood changes, which is why bipolar disorder often goes unnoticed. Those living with bipolar often find their differing mood states can have a negative impact on their lifestyle and be very distressing.
Look out for someone saying or doing things out of character; talking faster than usual or not making much sense; disrupted sleep pattern; and anti-social behaviour (including alcohol abuse, making dangerous decisions or lack of social inhibitions).
As awareness of the importance of mental health grows more famous people chose to express their experiences of living with their own mental health disorders. To help grow understanding celebrities such as Ellen DeGeneres and J.K Rowling have expressed their experience living with mental disorders through their work. J.K Rowling used her Dumbledore character in the Harry Potter books to express the ways good mental health can be achieved, even at the worst of times. A famous quote from Dumbledore, “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn to the light”.
If you have concerns about your mental well-being please visit your GP, who will provide professional advice on what you can do to help.