People with a mental illness
Main types of mental illnesses
Mental illnesses are separated into two main categories:
1. Psychotic illnesses
The most common forms of this illness are schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. During a psychotic episode, the person can lose touch with reality or is unable to distinguish between what is real and what is fantasy.
Common symptoms of psychotic disorders are:
The word "schizophrenia" was first used in 1911 by Eugen Bleuler, a Swiss psychiatrist. It comes from the Greek skhizo meaning "to split" and phren meaning "mind" Bleuler chose this term because he believed it described the disruption caused to the harmonious balance that usually exists between the various mental functions of the human mind. Thus, the word "schizophrenia" has always referred to split-mindedness, not to "split personality". There is no such thing as a "split personality"
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1 person in 100 will be affected by schizophrenia
1.2 Bipolar disorder
Bipolar disorder affects moods and emotions to an exaggerated extent. Moods can swing from one extreme to another and the person feels extremely "high" (mania) or extremely "low" (depression). Some people with bipolar disorder may experience only one extreme - either high or low.
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2. Non-psychotic illnesses
This group of mental illnesses used to be called neuroses and include anxiety disorders and depressive illness. They cause considerable distress to people suffering them and can affect every part of their lives including work, relationships and leisure.
Thus, the word "schizophrenia" has always referred to split-mindedness, not to "split personality". There is no such thing as a "split personality".
2.1 Anxiety disorders
Anxiety disorders include phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post- traumatic stress disorder, agoraphobia, panic disorder and general anxiety disorder.
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2.2 Depressive illness
Depressive illness or serious depression is different from the emotional ups and downs associated with everyday life. It is much more than unhappiness and is a mental illness in the clinical sense. Major depression, postnatal depression and reactive depression (reacting to a distressing situation) are the main types of depressive illness.
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Depressive illness or serious depression is different from the emotional ups and downs associated with everyday life. It is much more than unhappiness and is a mental illness in the clinical sense.
3 Personality disorders
Personality disorders are not mental illnesses. The term refers to an enduring pattern of behaviour that deviates markedly from the expectations of an individual's culture. This behaviour is often life-long and causes significant distress and difficulties for the person in their social and occupational relationships and in other important areas of their life. The causes of personality disorders generally relate to the individual life experiences of a particular person whereby the person has developed a behaviour pattern to cope with these life experiences.
4 Stress and mental illness
Everybody has a certain level of stress with which they are able to cope. When the amount of stress a person is under exceeds the level they can cope with, then adverse effects will occur, such as tension headaches, ulcers, high blood pressure, high irritability and so on. It appears that some people have a higher level of vulnerability to developing a mental illness and that stress may play an important part in triggering the illness and in determining the course of the illness. In the case of a person with a vulnerability (or predisposition) to developing psychosis, stress beyond the person's coping ability is likely to cause symptoms to appear (or worsen if they are already present). If a person understands their own stressors, then learning to avoid these or develop skills to cope with them can mean the risk of a recurrence of the symptoms of the illness is minimised.
When the amount of stress a person is under exceeds the level they can cope with, then adverse effects will occur.
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