Depression

Depression is more than feeling sad or fed up for a few days. We all can experience financial problems, work problems or relationship problems which may impact our mood for a few days before bouncing back to our normal selves.

People who are clinically depressed will feel persistently sad for weeks or months. Typical additional symptoms may include but are not limited to poor sleep, change in appetite or weight, memory and concentration problems, lack of enjoyment, feelings of guilt and hopelessness or increased isolation. Family or friends are likely to notice a change in communication or engagement. If you or someone you know is experiencing persistent low mood you should speak to your GP. Remember depression is not a sign of weakness. With the right treatment and support most people with depression can make a full recovery.

Anxiety

Anxiety is your bodies normal reaction to feelings of fear or uncertainty. Some anxiety can be positive and help us focus and take extra time when needed such as planning for an exam or an interview.

Sometimes anxiety can become overwhelming which can impact our daily lives and dominate our thoughts. Luckily there are positive steps we can take that really work on reducing levels of anxiety. The first step is to recognise if stress or anxiety is building up, talk to your family or trusted friend and take time to refresh. Find ways to switch off, exercise and connect with people to distract yourself. For more information on anxiety search every mind matters.

 

Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

People with this condition are likely to have experienced a traumatic event such as assault, sexual abuse, serious road accident or war conflict.

PTSD is a severe form of anxiety. Signs and symptoms can include flashbacks to traumatic incidents, feelings of isolation, irritability or guilt. Specialist counselling such as eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) can be very effective in treating PTSD and medication can also help in some circumstances.

Bi-polar disorder

Bi-polar is a condition that leads to significant fluctuations in mood. This is quite different to normal mood swings we can all have when we have good or bad experiences.

People with Bi-polar will experience symptoms of depression for a number of weeks and then fluctuate to symptoms of mania where people become overactive, easily get annoyed, become distracted or feel excessively high in mood. The depressive and manic episodes of Bi-polar can have an impact on relationships and everyday life. Its important to get help from your GP if you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms. Medication known as mood stabilisers can really help reduce the intensity of fluctuations in mood. Counselling and lifestyle changes can also have a really positive impact on recovery. Remember if someone is experiencing active suicidal thoughts to call 999 and ask for the Ambulance service.

Psychosis (Also known as schizophrenia)

Psychosis is a condition that leads people to experience things differently to others and have a distorted sense of reality.

The main symptoms of psychosis are hallucinations where people may see or hear things others don’t and delusions where people have distorted fixed beliefs with a common example being that someone is going to harm them or they are part of a conspiracy. Psychotic symptoms can be very frightening and shouldn’t be dismissed. Its important that someone experiencing psychotic symptoms gets help quickly through there GP and specialist mental health services as early intervention provides the best opportunity for recovery.

Personality Disorder

People with this condition often struggle to regulate emotional distress. They can think, feel, behave or relate to other very differently to the average person.

People with personality disorders often but not always will have experienced physical, emotional or sexual abuse. Understandably this often leads to difficulties with trust in relationships and unresolved anger. They may be at higher risk of self-medicating with alcohol or substance misuse to block out emotional distress. The main form of treatment for people with personality disorders is talking therapies. This can help people understand and process differently their thoughts, feelings and behaviours. Safety planning and understanding triggers to distress can help people change.

Dementia

This is an umbrella term for a number of conditions such as Alzheimer’s related to decline in brain functioning.

Symptoms often include memory loss, impaired understanding, movement difficulties and affect daily activities. Unfortunately dementia is progressive and regressive meaning that over time the condition deteriorates further impacting levels of functioning. There is no cure for Dementia but early diagnosis can delay deterioration and enable support. Its important to remember that with the right support people can live well with Dementia and that nursing or residential homes are not always the best place for people with dementia.

Learning Disability

People with a learning disability might have difficulty in processing information, developing new skills or perhaps in some cases need supported housing.

Its important to remember there is a broad spectrum on how well a person with a learning disability will be able to function and that every person is different with different needs. Lots of people with a learning disability can work, have relationships, live alone or gain qualifications. Some more profound learning disabilities may impact difficulties with speech, hearing, seeing and moving. This can impact some more complex decision making and independence. Some people may need help with eating, washing and other personal care. Lots of people with learning disabilities will still be able to make decisions about themselves, preferences and do things they enjoy. Its important to get to know the person, preferences and adjustments they need to realise their potential.

Autism

Autism is a lifelong developmental condition which affects how people communicate and interact with the world.

People with autism can get anxious or upset about unfamiliar situations or unexpected social events. Autism is not an illness or learning disability. It means your brain works differently from other peoples.

Neurodiversity

This is a broad term for a range of people who experience and interact with the world differently than neurotypical people.

There is no right or wrong way of thinking, learning and behaving. People who are neurodiverse may have Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or Autism. None of these imply reduced intellectual ability but more of a different way of processing information and communication.

Addictions

This is broad term for dependance on alcohol, drugs or gambling.

Many people who are dependent will describe difficulties with mental health problems, social problems or past traumatic experiences. Some people may use drug or alcohol as a form of “learned self-medication” to unconsciously block out difficult emotions or circumstances. Its important to have a holistic non-judgmental approach to people with dependencies and offer compassionate support or signposting. People with addictions are more likely to self isolate and develop feelings of hopelessness or helplessness.

 

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