Debunking Common Mental Disorders

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Mental illnesses or disorders is a topic that many of us shy away from. A taboo topic to approach, someone diagnosed with manic depression may not get the same reaction as someone who’s suffering from diabetes or heart disease. Lack of social support and in some countries; health systems has made those suffering from mental disorders reluctant to seek help or treatment.

So what is mental disorders? A common misconception is mental illness is not quite a medical condition and people who suffer from it are just “crazy”. Mental illnesses are health conditions involving changes in emotion, thinking or behavior (or a combination of these). American Psychiatric Association associate mental illness with distress and/or problems functioning in social, work or family activities. Hence, it is a medical condition like any such as diabetes or heart disease. Furthermore, it is a condition that is highly treatable.

Mental disorders vary in its forms and severity. It impacts a person’s ability to function with their daily lives as well as how they relate to others. Be it at work, at home, in school – mental disorders do not discriminate and can affect anyone regardless of age or gender. It is crucial to acknowledge and know when to seek help. Below are some of the common mental disorders and their related symptoms.

Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety is an ordinary emotion we all feel at some point or another. However, when anxiety becomes out of control and causes extreme distress it’s a call for concern. Anxiety disorder is one of the most common mental illness. Its when a person experience continuous and excessive anxiety that impairs them from doing their everyday activities. This may include avoiding school, work or in some cases the general public. They live in constant fear and panic of the worst-case scenario, that in most instances doesn’t really represent actual danger. Anxiety disorder is also associated with physical discomfort such as palpitations, shortness of breath or giddiness.


Depression affects 264 million people globally according to WHO. It is a type of mood disorder, when someone is perpetually feeling sad and a lack of interest. Symptoms can range from relatively mild to severe that could lead to suicidal thoughts and attempts.  Depression usually surfaces over time as a result of a string of events and factors. A variety of reasons can cause depression, including genetics. Childhood abuse, substance misuse and death or a loss are just some of the factors that could lead to depression, among others.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder (or manic depression) is a brain disorder when a person experience bouts of depression symptoms or intense mood swings (that’s also called mania). Called mood episodes, it can occur intermittently, lasting from days to weeks. Categorized as manic or depressive, the former makes the person either extremely happy or irritable and the later extremely sad. Someone with bipolar disorder can also have a period of absolutely neutral mood. Bipolar disorder can be treated with effective treatment.

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