There are four common mental illnesses that are most frequently diagnosed and treated worldwide.
Depression – It is estimated that above 17% of the population will experience an episode of depression at some point in their lives, and as many as 35 million people experience depression which is severe enough to require treatment, or have it recommended. Depression is a severe emotional or physical state of unhappiness, most commonly associated with a loss of interest in activities and a lack of energy combined with an inability to concentrate. It can be treated through therapy, pharmaceutical and holistic means and does not have to be a life-long condition.
Anxiety Disorders – These are also very common, especially in the high-intensity and high-stress, faced paced life of modern society. While the term “anxiety disorder” is most commonly known, it covers several forms of different mental illness that all relate to abnormal fear or anxiety and stress. Anxiety disorders can cause panic attacks, and are most typically associated with difficulty breathing, obsessive worry or fear and irrational phobias. Anxiety disorders can also be treated either medically or through medication or other forms of holistic medicine, and can be maintained once diagnosed without lingering effects.
Bipolar Disorder – This disorder is becoming a more commonly known mental illness and is being treated far more frequently than it was previously. Bi-polar disorder is characterized by extreme mood swings from happy to depressed with no known cause for the switch. So named by its symptoms, sufferers of bipolar disorder often cannot control or regulate their moods without medication, and often go from one extreme to another completely unprovoked. There may be a period of “normal” in between mania and depressive states, but in episodes called “rapid cycling” these normal periods no longer exist. Formerly known as “manic depression”, people in a manic state, for which this disorder is most well-known, can feel a sense of elation or euphoria which is exhibited by increased energy and excitement, while the depressed pole of this disorder can sometimes barely function. Bipolar disorder is typically treated with medication which includes both a mood stabilizer, to balance the roller coaster of emotion, and an added anti-depressant for the lower end of the polar swing.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – This disorder is known as a spin-off from a more general diagnosis of an anxiety disorder, but it’s becoming more prevalent and more frequently diagnosed in the present age. Sufferers of OCD are plagued by repeated or unwelcome thoughts or ideas and those continual thoughts drive them to repeat a compulsive behavior, such as turning a light switch on and off for a certain number of times, or compulsively washing their hands. These repeated compulsive behaviors become second nature to people suffering from OCD, and they are often not conscious of performing them. If prevented from performing a compulsive action, the cycle of anxiety can spin out of control and trigger a panic attack until it is corrected. OCD is most often treated by medication combined with cognitive behavioral therapy to understand the cause of the anxiety, and treat it so the compulsive behaviors are no longer necessary.
Mental illness comes in many forms, although many types seem to be inter-connected. With more and more research on the subject being constantly evaluated and tested, finding better and more effective treatments for mental disorders is always in process. For the millions world-wide who suffer from these disorders or many others, a normal life can be achieved through therapy or medication or both, as well as meditation or faith-based practices to calm the mind and reunite it with the body. As with anything that effects our minds and bodies, it’s good to get an examination by your general physician to rule out physical factors.