While the stigma surrounding mental health is lessening, there is still plenty to learn about the various conditions people suffer from on a day to day basis. You may identify with one or more of the following conditions, and whether you have been diagnosed with a mental health condition or not, the validity and complexity of each one remains.
Untreated mental health conditions affect every part of our well-being – they damage our interpersonal relationships and make us less productive at work. Effective treatment can help you develop healthy coping strategies and give you a vital support network.
The Revoke Programme delivers highly specialised integrated outpatient mental healthcare in the heart of Central London. Our schedule is compatible with people in full-time employment or who have family responsibilities, but still require high-quality treatment.
Anxiety is an extremely common mental health condition, affecting more than eight million people in the UK today. Everyone experiences anxiety to some degree – it is in our nature as human beings to recognise threats in any given situation. If, for example, you found yourself face to face with a lion, your body would recognise the life or death danger. The level of threat would cause your body to go into fight or flight mode, and you would experience the physical symptoms that go alongside anxiety, including racing thoughts, heart palpitations, sweating and an overriding sense of fear.
These are all very normal and rational reactions for someone facing a real threat to life; however, when an individual develops an anxiety disorder, they struggle to separate real threats from situations that pose no danger at all. Someone suffering from anxiety might experience all the same symptoms; racing thoughts, heart palpitations, sweating and panic attacks in what might seem like very ordinary situations.
There are several types of anxiety disorders, including:
- Social anxiety – when an individual finds socialising and social environments particularly difficult.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – when a particularly distressing event causes an individual to remain ‘stuck’ in a moment of time, unable to process the event and move forward.
- Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) – the most common type of anxiety disorder that causes excessive worry about everyday events with no apparent reason.
As well as being a mental disorder, anxiety is recognised as having very physical side effects, including sleep issues, weight loss or gain, sweating, trembling and headaches.
Although stress is not a psychiatric diagnosis, we recognise it plays a huge part in our mental well-being and in extreme cases, can contribute to the development of other mental health conditions.
Everyone experiences stress, and as humans, we are designed to adapt and respond to it as we navigate our way through life. Stress can give us the motivation to find solutions to problems, complete a project or task at work, resolve tension in a relationship and help us to learn new ways of coping in future situations. However, stress can become a problem for some people as severe and prolonged episodes can lead to mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety and burnout.
Many people who suffer from existing mental health problems find the day-to-day management of their condition leads them to experience stress as well. This vicious cycle can make stress difficult to manage. Physically, stress can cause headaches, tiredness, weight loss or gain and stomach problems, and can pose long-term health issues if left untreated.
Depression is the most predominant mental health issue in the world and like anxiety, has both physical and psychological symptoms. People suffering with depression may have feelings of hopelessness, despair, guilt and worthlessness, and it can commonly coincide with anxiety. Along with the emotional aspects of depression, there are many physical aspects, including exhaustion, sleep problems, loss of appetite, weight loss and loss of libido.
As with any mental health condition, there are varying degrees of depression ranging from mild to severe. Many people are able to manage their symptoms and it does not stop them from leading a normal life. However, for some people, completing regular tasks can be extremely difficult and they may be unable to find the motivation to function normally on a day to day basis. In the most extreme cases, depression can cause suicidal thoughts and in very tragic cases, death.
As with anxiety, there are different types of depression, including antenatal and postnatal depression (which occurs during or after pregnancy) and seasonal affective disorder, which tends to be present during the winter months. However, in some cases there may be no immediate or recognisable cause for depression and, therefore, extra support may be required to help the person concerned find positive ways to cope.
Previously known as manic depression, bipolar disorder largely affects an individual’s mood. This mental health condition is identifiable by episodes of extreme highs and lows that can swing erratically from one extreme to the other.
Someone suffering from bipolar disorder may feel very low and lethargic one moment and then switch to feeling very high, happy and overactive. Episodes of extreme highs and lows can last for many weeks, which is why it is important to note the difference between having mood swings – which we all do – and having bipolar disorder.
As with all mental health conditions, the effects and severity of bipolar disorder differ from person to person. Many people are stable for most of their lives and have just one or two episodes, but for some, it can be a more frequent pattern that is a hindrance to their day-to-day lives.
Eating disorders may seem on the surface to be a physical illness, but the root cause of the problem goes much deeper. For many sufferers of eating disorders, mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, stress and bipolar disorder can co-occur, making life even more difficult to navigate.
The most common types of eating disorders are bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa.
In bulimia nervosa, we typically see an individual who experiences episodes of eating a significantly large amount of food (binging) and subsequently feeling a huge degree of shame, causing them to make themselves sick (purging). The side effects of this condition include dehydration due to the loss of vital nutrients when purging, irregular or no periods, and tooth erosion. The feelings of shame and guilt surrounding bulimia nervosa are large contributors to the ongoing cycle of this condition, and therefore require specialist support in overcoming the condition and finding healthier ways to cope.
A diagnosis of anorexia nervosa is essentially down to an individual’s weight being too low as a result of not eating enough food. However, it is more than a physical condition, as it is often caused by extremely low self-esteem, a skewed self-image and extreme feelings of distress. Sufferers of anorexia nervosa often report feelings of not being good enough and have a constant obsession with food and worthlessness.
Closely linked to anxiety and depression, eating disorders are complex and debilitating conditions that require professional attention and treatment.
Burnout usually occurs in the workplace, and generally results in reduced accomplishment and loss of motivation in an individual. When we’re stressed for long periods it exhausts us emotionally, physically and mentally, and leaves us feeling overwhelmed and emotionally drained.
Burnout doesn’t just harm people’s productivity within the work environment – it bleeds into every aspect of their lives. It’s impossible to function socially when you’ve had all of your energy sapped and some people are left feeling like they have nothing to give in any situation, leading them to socially withdraw.
Burnout also wears away at our physical health. Our bodies weren’t designed to be under stress for long periods and this depletes our immune system and leaves us more vulnerable to illnesses.
Burnout doesn’t happen overnight. Initially, it might seem like you can cope with the signs and symptoms, but they will get worse over time. If you’re noticing any of the signs of burnout, the best time to act is now. With the right coping strategies it’s possible to manage your work/life balance healthily.
Join Our Community
Revoke offers a specialist programme that is able to provide therapeutic support for the management of mental and behavioural health issues.
Please contact us for more information, to ask any questions, or to schedule an assessment and start to reclaim your life today.
We are here to help
You are not alone. Reach out to us today if you would like to find out more about The Revoke Programme.