When to seek help.
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Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses that individuals struggle with. It can affect both adults, adolescents and children, however the presenting symptoms might differ. It can take on many different forms in that it can be short-term and episodic or present over a prolonged period of time. Common symptoms of depression include having a low/ depressed mood most days, changes in your appetite and sleeping patterns, excessive feelings of guilt, feelings of worthlessness and thoughts, plans or attempts of killing yourself. Depression may influence various areas of your life significantly, especially with regards to work, relationships and personal functioning.
Everyone feels anxious now and then. It’s a normal emotion. Many people feel nervous when faced with a problem at work, before taking a test, or making an important decision.
Anxiety disorders are different in that they can cause such distress that it interferes with your ability to lead a normal life because it is overwhelming and disabling.
Anxiety is a worry about future events and fear is a reaction to current events.
There are a number of anxiety disorders including generalized anxiety disorder, specific phobia, social anxiety disorder, separation anxiety disorder, agoraphobia, and panic disorder.
The disorder differs by what results in the symptoms.
See full discussion on Anxiety
BIPOLAR MOOD DISORDER
Bipolar disorder, formerly called manic depression, causes extreme mood swings that include emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression). When you become depressed, you may feel sad or hopeless and lose interest or pleasure in most activities. When your mood shifts in the other direction, you may feel euphoric and full of energy. You may be irritable, do things impulsively and talk much more than usual. Mood shifts may occur only a few times a year or as often as several times a week.
A personality disorder is a type of mental illness where you have a rigid and unhealthy pattern of thinking, functioning and behaving. A person with a personality disorder has trouble perceiving and relating to situations and people. This causes significant problems and limitations in relationships, social activities, work and school. Those diagnosed with a personality disorder may experience difficulties in their way of thinking, emotional regulation, relationships and impulse control. This behavior can result in maladaptive coping skills, which may lead to personal problems that induce extreme anxiety, distress, or depression. Personality disorders can only be diagnosed in adults 18 years or older.
Relational problems often occur among anyone as we are all different and may have different ways of being. These relational problems may at times become excessive, having a significant impact in our everyday functioning. Relational problems may include relating to someone with a mental illness, parent-child relational problems, partner relational problems or sibling relational problems. Common issues encountered within relationships include communication, conflict resolution, threat of separation, over involvement, emotional abuse or one/both partners' mental illness.
BEREAVEMENT & LOSS
Bereavement and grief is a process that occurs when an individual loses someone or something significant in his/her life. When one loses someone, most often to death, there is a process of bereavement that takes place. The process may differ for each person and comprises of different stages. Thus there is no way to predict how long your process will take and in what order the different stages may come. While this process is normal to go through, some individuals may have difficulty understanding and coping with the process.
It is common for all individuals to go through some adjustments in their lives. Some of these might be very stressful and difficult in particular, and thus may have a significant impact on one's psychological functioning. Common adjustment difficulties that people experience include separation or divorce, moving house / cities, changing of job or career, changing school, chronic health conditions and bereavement.
TERMINAL / ACUTE ILLNESS SUPPORT
Being diagnoses with a terminal or acute illness can be a major life stressor to deal with for many individuals. It can directly affect your mood in terms of depressive symptoms and heightened anxiety. There might also be some relational stressors as loved ones may have difficulty coping as well. Terminal or acute illnesses also have a direct impact on your occupational and financial functioning, which is often very overwhelming.
Emotional dysregulation may be described as the inability to manage the intensity and duration of negative emotions such as fear, sadness, or anger. If you are struggling with emotion regulation, an upsetting situation will bring about strongly felt emotions that are difficult to recover from. The effects of a prolonged negative emotion may be physically, emotionally, and behaviorally intense. Emotional dysregulation is often associated with other psychiatric disorders such as major depression, PTSD, personality disorders and substance abuse. Those suffering with emotional dysregulation may experience difficulty with interpersonal relationships, resolving conflicts as well as physical health.
One's psychological functioning can impact your sexual functioning significantly, which may not be due to any underlying physical illness or disease. Factors that play a great role is stress, drug use, alcohol consumption, trauma, mood disorders, relational difficulties or low self-esteem.
Body image related difficulties can often occur comorbidly to a range of mental health problems such as mood disorders, eating disorders, body dysmorphia, etc. This is listed as a separate entity though as one does not have to fit the criteria for a disorder for this to affect your functioning. Common difficulties can include severe negative self-talk, self-destructive behaviors and emotional and social isolation.
LGBTQIA+ individuals face many emotional and psychological challenges, which is often overlooked or minimized by society in general. One of the biggest challenges to work through is overcoming the stigmas attached as it might lead to negative internalized feelings and beliefs as well as a greater risk for depression, anxiety, substance abuse and suicide. There are also common relational difficulties as family, friends and the greater community often does not accept you for who you are.
Victims of any form of abuse, be it physical, emotional, verbal or sexual may experience both short and long-term psychological effects. Common emotional and psychological effects of abuse include PTSD, depression, sleep disturbances, relational problems, anger, feelings of helplessness and inner conflicts.
Eating Disorders describe illnesses that are characterized by irregular eating habits and severe distress or concern about body weight or shape. Eating disturbances may include inadequate or excessive food intake which can ultimately damage an individual’s well-being. Individuals may use different methods to control weight ranging from restrictive behaviors and excessive excercise to purging. The most common forms of eating disorders include Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, and Binge Eating Disorder and affect both females and males.
SELF / IDENTITY
Our sense of self or identity is something that develops over years, literally from the day we are born. While this is a very broad area of focus, it can be something that cause many individuals significant distress. Self / identity related issues can range from career choice, to gender and relationship roles, to sexuality. Therapy can provide a space to reflect on yourself, finding who you are, what you value and re-evaluate how your environment is supporting or prohibiting that from happen.
Trauma is an emotional response to a terrible event like an accident, armed robbery or natural disaster where your own life or someone else's life was at risk. Immediately after the event, shock and denial are typical. Longer term reactions include unpredictable emotions, flashbacks, strained relationships and even physical symptoms like headaches or nausea. While these feelings are normal, some people may experience these symptoms on a level that debilitates their functioning.
While most individuals consider therapy when they are in a very overwhelming state, it can also be a process of growth and personal development to consider even when there is no "major" issues present. Therapy can help you understand how you relate to yourself and others, why you behave in certain ways and to develop ways of living that promotes optimal functioning.
Somatic related disorders are mental health disorders characterized by an intense focus on physical (somatic) symptoms that causes significant distress and/or interferes with daily functioning. Most mental health disorders are characterized by mental symptoms, however here underlying psychological issues presents itself in a physical manner. Different types of somatic disorders include conversion disorder, factitious disorder, illness anxiety disorder or somatic symptom disorder.
Bullying is defined as unwanted, aggressive behavior, most commonly among school children, however can also occur among adults or in the workplace. There exists a real or perceived power imbalance between individuals that allows for bullying to occur. The bullying is often repeated over time. Both parties - the one bullying and the one being bullied - may experience serious psychological problems. Bullying can be both emotional and physical, of which some examples may include name calling, teasing, spreading rumours, hitting or physical harm, taking or damaging your belongings or threats and intimidation. This might threaten a person's sense of safety and also their personal integrity and self-worth.
Academic performance is often one of the most telling reflections on how children are doing emotionally or psychologically. Parents and teachers might notice a lack of motivation, poor performance regardless of good preparation, poor concentration and poor memory. Problems, such as bullying, depression, anxiety, parental conflict and family stress may all impact on a child's emotional functioning, which might present itself in a sudden decline or change in their academic performance. It might also be that a child suffers from a learning disability and may need a formal assessment.
ENURESIS & ENCOPRESIS
Enuresis is a pattern of discharge of urine by a child age 5 or older. Although it can be considered as normal for many children, it is distinguished by the urination being involuntary or unintentional, occurring at least twice a week for three months in a row and causes significant distress to the child and is not attributed to another medical condition. It can be distressing and a source of embarrassment for a child but is not physically harmful.
Encopresis is the repeated passage of feces in inappropriate places by a child. It is distinguished from normal occurance in children in that it is involuntary or on purpose into clothing, on the floor or other inappropriate places, at least once a month for three months and the child is at least 4 years old.
The level of impairment that results from enuresis or encopresis can vary based on such factors as its effect on a child's self-esteem and social activity and the degree of negative response from caregivers.
Disruptive behavior is often symptomatic of other underlying issues such as developmental disorders, mood disorders, ADD/ ADHD or as a response to a conflicting environment at home. At times this disruptive behavior can develop into an oppositional defiant disorder. Behavioral symptoms might include being uncooperative, defiant, and hostile toward peers, parents, teachers, and other authority figures.
While parenting can be very rewarding and fulfilling, it is often also very challenging on an emotional level. Parental guidance might be necessary for parents who has a child with problematic behaviors, who has been through traumatic experiences or have difficulty adjusting to a new situation/ environment. Parental guidance can either be a standalone intervention or in addition to a child's individual therapy.