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Common Mental Health Problems

A brief overview

Often our worries can be focussed on future events – “What if this happens?”,  “What if that happens?” Quite frequently, we find things are never as bad as we think but those negative thoughts have led us to feel upset, agitated, worried or anxious. They’ve taken away from us and spoilt the here and now. By contrast, when we feel low, we can find ourselves going over and over past events, trying to make sense of what’s happened – “Why did he say that?”,  “What did I do wrong?”. We can often find ourselves spending a great deal of time lost in ruminating over the past – to the detriment of living and enjoying life day to day. Therapy can help with worry and rumination, allowing us to recognise unhelpful negative interpretations and times when we are pointlessly stuck with our thoughts. It can encourage us to live more fully in the present, accepting our past experiences and our tendency to unhelpful ways of thinking about the future.

Depression – A mental health problem characterised by pervasive low mood, a loss of interest and enjoyment in ordinary things, and a range of associated emotional, physical and behavioural symptoms.  Depressive episodes can vary in severity from mild to severe.

Generalised Anxiety Disorder – An anxiety disorder characterised by persistent and excessive worry about many different things, and difficulty controlling that worry.  This is often accompanied by restlessness, difficulties with concentration, irritability, muscular tension and disturbed sleep.

Panic Disorder – Repeated and unexpected attacks of intense anxiety accompanied by physical symptoms.  There is a marked fear of future attacks and this can result in avoidance of situations that may provoke a panic attack.

Social Anxiety Disorder (social phobia) – Characterised by intense fear of social or performance situations that results in considerable distress and in turn impacts on a person’s ability to function effectively in aspects of their daily lfe.  Central to the disorder is the fear that the person will do or say something that will lead to being judged negatively by others and being embarrassed or humiliated.  Feared situatins are avoided or endured with intense distress.

Obsessive-Complusive Disorder (OCD) – Characterised by the recurrent presence of either an obsession ( a person’s own unwanted thought, image or impulse that repeatedly enters the mind and is difficult to get rid of) or compulsions (repetitive behaviours or mental acts that the person feels driven to perform, often in an attempt to expel or ‘neutralise’ an obsessive thoughts).  Usually  a person has both obsessions and compulsions.

Specific Phobias – An extreme and persistent fear of a specific object or situation that is out of proportion to the actual danger or threat.  This can include a fear of heights, flying, particular animals, seeing blood or receiving an injection.

(Credit: IAPT, 2018)