About Mental Health Disorders
- Approximately 90% of people who have died by suicide suffered from at least one mental health disorder
- Most mental health disorders are a result of a combination of genetics, individual biology and environmental factors, there is not a single cause for any disorder
- Every mental health disorder is unique to the individual suffering from it
- But, you are not alone. Around 26% of American adults are diagnosed with a mental health disorder in any given year, and 20% of Canadians will experience a mental illness during their lifetime.
- Treatment and remission is possible for most disorders, and many people living with mental health disorders can lead normal lives
- This information does not cover all types of mental health disorders and is meant as an overview for those listed
Major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder are classified as mood disorders. They are characterized by extreme emotional states, depression (lows) and mania (highs). An estimated 8%-20% of the population has or will experience a depressive episode in their lives. Of those with symptoms severe enough for hospitalization, 15% die by suicide.
Common symptoms of major depression:
- depressed mood
- loss of pleasure (anhedonia)
- significant weight loss or gain
- insomnia or hypersomnia
- lack of energy
- feelings of worthlessness
- difficulty thinking or concentration
- suicidal ideations or attempts
Common symptoms of bipolar disorder (type 1):
- abnormally expansive elevated mood
- inflated self esteem
- diminished need for sleep
- need to keep talking
- racing thoughts
- distracted attention
- increase in goal directed activity
- over indulgence in pleasurable activities
Mood disorders are treated with a combination of different medications, such as antidepressants for major depression and mood stabilizers for bipolar disorder. They are also treated through counselling, such as cognitive-behaviour therapy and support groups.
Anxiety disorders can include phobias (intense fears of certain things or situations), panic disorders, social anxiety, and generalized anxiety. About 18% of the US population have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, and 1 in 4 Canadians will experience an anxiety disorder in their lifetime. Nearly a half of those diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. It has been shown that the rate of suicidal ideation or attempt is higher for individuals with an anxiety disorder as well as a mood disorder compared to a mood disorder alone.These disorders are normally treated with a combination of cognitive-behaviour therapy, medication, support groups, and self help strategies.
Schizophrenia is a disorder that affects the way you understand and interact with the world. Approximately 1 in 100 people develop schizophrenia. More than 40% of those with schizophrenia attempt suicide, and 10-15% of them die by suicide. Symptoms of schizophrenia fall into two different categories, positive and negative. Positive symptoms are behaviours that those with schizophrenia experience and those without schizophrenia do not. Negative symptoms are traits or behaviours that are absent or diminished in those with schizophrenia. Schizophrenia is treated with a combination of medication and psychosocial therapy.
- delusions (fixed, false beliefs that are not consistent with the person’s culture, and have no basis in fact)
- hallucinations (hearing, seeing, tasting, smelling, or feeling things that don’t exist)
- disorganized thoughts (unable to communicate clearly with others)
- disorganized moods (inappropriate feelings; lack of emotion)
- disorganized behaviour (unable to complete simple, everyday tasks)
- changes in sensitivity (more sensitive and aware of other people; or withdrawn)
- slowing of physical activity levels
- reduced motivation (problems finishing tasks or making long-term plans)
- loss of interest in the feelings and lives of others
- less concern for personal appearance
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
OCD is comprised of obsessions and compulsions, and those that suffer with the disorder can experience either or both. Obsessions are unwanted repetitive thoughts, urges, and images. They are not thoughts that a person would normally focus on. Compulsions are actions performed that are meant to reduce the anxiety of the obsessions. These can take the form of washing, cleaning, and ordering things in a specific way. Often people who suffer from OCD repeat an action or a phrase a certain number of times. OCD can take up a lot of time and prevent people from leading their normal lives. Different studies have suggested that anywhere between 5%-25% of those who suffer from OCD attempt suicide. It is often treated with counselling and medication.