10 Common Mental Illnesses Crash Course video

10.07.2020

Almost 300 million people suffer from depression worldwide, making it one of the most common illnesses . And despite this, as with all other disorders related to the mind, it is difficult to talk about it.

Mental health continues to be a taboo subject in society, since it is still difficult for us to understand and accept that the brain is still another organ of the body and that, therefore, it can make people sick. Our mind is susceptible to suffering from different disorders, in the same way that we can have intestinal, dermatological or muscular problems.

Given their high incidence and the urgent need to end the stigma that surrounds them, in this article we will talk about some of the most frequent mental illnesses in society.

What do we understand by mental illness?

A mental illness is any disorder that affects mental health, that is, conditions that alter mood, behavior and thought.

All of us suffer some alteration of our mental health from time to time, either due to a traumatic event or going through a difficult time. However, "mental illness" is only spoken of when this involvement in our brain becomes permanent and affects the person's ability to lead a normal life.

In other words, "being sad" is not having depression. Just as "being nervous" is not suffering from anxiety or "having manias" is not having obsessive-compulsive disorder. All these diseases are serious issues that require acceptance by society , since many of them are preventable and, if there were no stigma, many cases would be avoided.

What are the most frequent mental disorders?

Once we understand what a mental illness is, we will now present some of the most common ones, detailing both its causes and symptoms , as well as the available treatments.

1. depression

Depression is a serious mental illness and, moreover, common. In fact, more than 300 million people suffer it with a greater or lesser severity . It has nothing to do with "being sad" for a few days, because the feelings that a person with depression experiences are much deeper and interfere with the performance of daily activities.

The causes that lead to suffering from this brain disorder are very complex, including the person's genetics, as well as biological, social, economic, environmental and psychological factors. It can appear at any age, with women being the main affected.

The most frequent symptoms of depression are the following: sadness and emotional emptiness, insomnia (in some cases sleeping more than normal), loss of interest in activities, loss of appetite (in some cases increase), headache, tiredness , irritability, feelings of guilt, loss of hope ... Even thoughts of suicide can come.

Antidepressant medication treatments and / or psychological therapies help resolve many cases of depression.

2. Anxiety

Anxiety is a mental illness in which those affected experience very intense worries and fears in everyday situations , something that can lead to panic attacks and that ends up affecting the person's daily life.

The causes are not too clear, although it is believed that there are people with a greater genetic tendency to suffer from this disorder, which wakes up when experiencing traumatic events or going through painful experiences.

The most frequent symptoms of anxiety are the following and they wake up in situations that do not have to be a real danger: nervousness, agitation, tension, hyperventilation, pressure in the chest, increased heart rate, tremors, sweating, gastrointestinal problems, weakness, tiredness, etc.

Treatments with antidepressant medications or some specific ones for anxiety and / or psychological therapies help to solve many cases of anxiety.

3. Phobias

A phobia is an anxiety-related mental illness in which a very strong and irrational fear of something that does not represent any (or very low) real danger to the person is experienced .

Although its causes are not too clear, there are many different phobias: to open spaces, to insects, to closed spaces, to heights, to flying ...

Those people with phobia avoid exposing themselves to what creates fear, but when they have to face it they experience the following symptoms: panic, fear, fear, increased heart rate, irrepressible desire to flee, shortness of breath, tremors, sweating, etc.

Medication treatments and / or psychological therapies help resolve many cases of phobias.

4. Eating disorders

Eating disorders are serious mental illnesses and should be treated as such. Those affected have serious problems developing eating habits, and may even refuse to eat .

The causes are very complex, since genetic, behavioral, social factors (wanting to have a specific body to please), biological, psychological... come into play. Despite being able to appear at any time, they are especially common in women during adolescence.

Antidepressant medication treatments and / or psychological therapies help resolve many cases of eating disorders.

The two best known disorders are bulimia and anorexia. Although they are sometimes confused, it is important to highlight the differences.

4.1. Bulimia

Bulimia is an eating disorder in which the person binge-eats but then vomits. In the long run, this has the following symptoms: chronic sore throat, inflammation of the salivary glands, gastroesophageal reflux disease, severe dehydration, tooth enamel wear, caries development, electrolyte imbalance ...

4.2. Anorexy

Anorexia, on the other hand, is an eating disorder where the person directly avoids eating, since he continues to be overweight despite being dangerously thin. Anorexia causes the following symptoms: severe weight loss, anemia, low bone density, weakness, fatigue, tiredness, infertility, low blood pressure, dry skin, very fine hair, damage to the heart ... It can end up causing death.

5. OCD

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a mental illness in which those affected have a series of irrational obsessions that cause them to carry out compulsive and repetitive behaviors . Although its severity varies, this disorder can affect daily life, as it generates a lot of anguish for the person.

The causes are still not fully understood, although it is known to be a mixture of genetic, social, environmental and biological factors, which are increased by traumatic events in life.

There are many different forms of OCD: stress when objects are out of alignment or perfectly symmetrical, fear of being contaminated by objects touched by others, constantly checking to see if the door is closed, unwanted thoughts, etc.

The main symptom, in addition to having to repeatedly perform these actions, is the anxiety and stress generated by not being able to avoid obsession. Fortunately, drug treatments and psychotherapy help reduce the impact that this disease has on daily life.

6. Bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder is a mental illness in which the affected person suffers sudden changes in mood, going from emotional highs to low moods of depression in different phases that can last weeks or even months.

It is caused by both genetic and biological factors. Going from being euphoric to being invaded by sadness ends up affecting the person, who develops the following symptoms: weakness, tiredness, insomnia, loss of the ability to think clearly, problems in personal relationships, etc.

Despite the fact that bipolar episodes will continue to appear more or less frequently, drug-based treatment and / or psychotherapy is very useful in reducing the impact of this disease on a day-to-day basis.

7. Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness in which the person affected hears voices in his head, sees things that are not there, thinks that other people want to harm him , says meaningless things, etc., affecting his life so much on a personal and professional level.

The causes are not too clear, but it is known that it usually appears between the ages of 16 and 30. The symptoms are as follows: hallucinations, delusions, strange movements, speaking alone, saying nonsense, isolation, trouble paying attention, difficulty socializing ... Despite the false belief, people with schizophrenia are not violent.

Despite the absence of a cure, drug treatments and / or psychotherapy greatly reduce symptoms, allowing the person to lead a practically normal life in many cases.

8. Alzheimer

Alzheimer's is a mental illness and is the leading cause of dementia in the world . It is characterized by a progressive degeneration of brain neurons, which slowly deteriorate to death.

The causes are not too clear. It usually affects people over 65 and causes a slow but continuous decrease in mental capacity, causing the person to lose social skills and aptitudes to the point of not being able to live independently.

Over time, a serious deterioration of memory appears and, already in advanced stages of the disease, ends up causing the death of the person due to brain damage.

There is no cure, although medications temporarily relieve symptoms and slow the progression of the disease as much as possible so that the person maintains independence as long as possible.

9. ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a mental illness suffered by millions of children worldwide and, although it is not common, it can continue into adulthood.

Children with ADHD often have trouble maintaining attention and often have impulsive hyperactive behaviors. This often leads to troubled relationships with other children, low self-esteem, and poor school performance.

Although it usually resolves before entering adulthood, some effects persist. Therefore, it is important to treat ADHD during childhood, since, although there is no cure, medications and / or psychotherapy help a lot to alleviate the symptoms, making the child concentrate better and not present as much hyperactivity.

10. Borderline personality disorder

Borderline personality disorder is a mental illness in which the affected person experiences turbulent and unstable emotions, which translates into impulsive behaviors and difficulty in maintaining social relationships.

Those affected suddenly change their interests, tend to see situations in an extreme way, their opinions about people change without notice, they go from euphoria to sadness quickly, they have manifestations of anger, they can self-harm, they do not tolerate loneliness, they can have a tendency to consume addictive substances, etc.

Psychotherapy treatments and group therapies are often helpful. In this case, medications are not as widely used, although they can help reduce emotional ups and downs and prevent complications from appearing.

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