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What Are Some Mental Health Disorders?

Mental health conditions are highly prevalent in the United Kingdom. If left untreated, these mental health disorders can impact your quality of life in a variety of ways, interfering with your work, school, or home life.

Learning about some of the more common mental health concerns and mental health symptoms can help you to determine what particular disorder you or a loved one may be experiencing — and how to find effective mental health treatment options to guide you toward recovery.

How to Know if You Are Experiencing a Mental Health Diagnosis

Accurately identifying mental health disorders typically requires the help of a professional, such as a psychologist, psychiatrist, or licensed mental health professional. But you may have an idea of which mental health symptoms you may be experiencing.

Take a closer look at some of the most common mental health problems in the U.K. If you identify with any of these mental health disorders, it might be time to start looking for ways to get your mental health back on track.

Depressive Disorders

Often known simply as “depression,” depressive disorders actually include a wide number of different mental health disorders, each with a unique set of causes, symptoms, and treatment options. This includes diagnoses such as:

  • Persistent depressive disorder
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
  • Seasonal affective disorder

And while each specific disorder has its own causes and symptoms, there is a core thread that connects each type of disorder.

Causes

Depression can be caused by a number of different internal and external factors. The presence of these factors doesn’t guarantee that you will develop depression; instead, it can increase your risk of depression. These factors may include:

  • Adverse childhood experiences
  • Trauma
  • Genetics
  • Taking certain medications
  • Major life changes
  • Chronic stress

As people experience more of these potential causes, their risk of developing a depressive disorder increases.

Symptoms

Depression is characterised by a few key mental health symptoms, such as:

  • Low mood most of the day, most days of the week
  • Lack of motivation
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Brain fog, or trouble concentrating on tasks
  • Unintended weight changes
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Thoughts of death

When these symptoms don’t resolve on their own and start to interfere with your daily life, it’s likely that you’ve met the criteria for a depressive disorder.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder has symptoms that can directly overlap with depression. Yet unlike depression, bipolar disorder is characterised by periodic swings between depressive states and manic or hypomanic states, which typically include a sudden burst of energy, motivation, and elevated mood.

Causes

There is no single cause for bipolar disorder. Leading researchers believe that bipolar disorder is caused by a combination of social conditions, physical components, and the environment you live in.

While there is a clear genetic link in bipolar disorder, childhood trauma, neglect, or stressful life events can all contribute to developing bipolar disorder as well.

Symptoms

Bipolar disorder has two main sets of symptoms. The first set includes depressive symptoms. But depressive symptoms alone aren’t enough to be diagnosed with bipolar disorder. You must also experience manic or hypomanic symptoms, which include:

  • Insomnia, or feeling like you don’t need sleep for days on end
  • A sudden boost in mood and energy levels
  • Rapid speech
  • Having flights of ideas, or making important plans
  • Agitation or irritability
  • Delusions or hallucinations

In severe cases, people experiencing a manic episode may require hospitalisation in order to prevent harming themselves through their actions. Manic episodes are typically short in duration — lasting about a week — whereas depressive episodes can last much longer.

Hypomania is essentially a milder form of a manic episode, sharing all the same symptoms, but to a lesser degree.

Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders are another relatively broad category of mental health disorders. Different anxiety disorders can have different triggers, different symptoms, or differing severities, but all have the core experience of anxiety tying them together. Common anxiety disorders in the U.K. include:

  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Generalised anxiety disorder
  • Specific phobias

Any of these disorders can be debilitating, leading to severe disruption if left untreated.

Causes

The cause of an anxiety disorder often differs between the different diagnoses. Generalised anxiety disorder, for instance, is thought to be primarily genetic. In contrast, a social anxiety disorder may be a learnt behaviour, where people develop anxiety in social situations due to past experiences when they have been embarrassed.

Symptoms

Anxiety is an overwhelming sense of fear, dread, or nervousness. This experience often comes in response to specific situations. In social anxiety disorder, it’s often caused by fear of embarrassment or judgement in social situations, while with specific phobias, the anxiety is brought on by a specific object, animal, or situation.

In the case of generalised anxiety disorder or panic disorder, there often isn’t a clear trigger. Anxiety or panic attacks may happen at any time.

But there are a number of other physical and psychological symptoms of anxiety disorders as well, including:

  • Hyperventilation
  • Muscle tension
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Feeling like your thoughts are running out of control
  • Restlessness
  • Trouble with decision-making

Determining which type of anxiety disorder you are experiencing is best accomplished by seeking help from a mental health professional, who can provide targeted assessments and diagnostic procedures to help guide you on the path to recovery.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is the condition used to describe when people feel the effects of trauma well after the event has occurred.

Trauma is exceptionally common, with the World Health Organization estimating over 70% of the world population experiencing a traumatic event in their lifetime, but a PTSD diagnosis is much rarer.

Causes

PTSD is caused by living through catastrophic or highly distressing situations. Common sources of trauma leading to PTSD include:

  • Intimate partner violence
  • Emotional or physical abuse
  • Combat experience
  • Living in a war zone
  • Natural disasters
  • Unexpected death of a loved one
  • Sexual assault or rape
  • Repeated exposure to traumatic experiences, such as through kidnapping, chronic abuse, or torture, can often result in a condition known as complex PTSD (CPTSD).

Symptoms

After experiencing a traumatic event, it’s completely normal for people to feel numb, shocked, or experience sudden mood swings. But when symptoms continue for weeks, months, or years, it’s likely a sign of developing PTSD. Common PTSD symptoms include:

  • Intrusive thoughts or memories of the traumatic event
  • Hypervigilance, or feeling constantly on guard
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Inability to experience positive emotions
  • An exaggerated startle response
  • Mood swings
  • Avoiding people, things, or situations that remind you of the traumatic event
  • Nightmares about the traumatic event

PTSD can be a devastating mental health disorder — but it is treatable, provided you seek out evidence-based mental health treatment.

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is often referred to as a developmental disorder, which means that it typically begins in childhood and continues throughout your life. Adults with ADHD will typically show signs of struggling with repetitive tasks, focusing for extended periods, or staying organised and remembering important events.

In children, ADHD is sometimes easier to observe, due to the more readily apparent hyperactivity symptoms.

Causes

ADHD is thought to be caused by a lower-than-usual amount of dopamine receptors within the brain. This reduction in receptors is due in part to a specific gene that is responsible for producing these receptors.

Dopamine is the brain’s primary reward neurotransmitter. Without the normal level of dopamine receptors, it can be difficult for people with ADHD to feel rewarded during certain activities, and often leads them to seek out more stimulating or inherently rewarding tasks instead.

Symptoms

The symptoms of ADHD fall into two main categories: inattentiveness and hyperactivity/impulsiveness. Inattentive symptoms may include:

  • Having a very short attention span, or being easily distracted
  • Constantly shifting between different tasks
  • Difficulty listening or taking instruction
  • Forgetfulness
  • Making careless mistakes

Inattentiveness may also include having trouble staying organised.

Hyperactivity and impulsiveness symptoms include:

  • Difficulty sitting still
  • Constant fidgeting
  • Talking fast and excessively
  • Interrupting others while they are speaking
  • Taking impulsive actions

In general, adults are less likely to show signs of hyperactivity and impulsiveness, though they may have experienced these symptoms when they were younger.

How Do I Deal With Mental Health Problems?

If you think you may be experiencing one of these mental health issues, finding effective treatment can provide you with substantial symptom relief — and in some cases, total remission. But you first need to find a treatment provider who offers the services you’ll need in order to recover.

Going through the NHS for a diagnosis and subsequent treatment is a common option, but this process can be long and exhausting, and it can leave you living with debilitating symptoms while you wait for a spot to open up.

With private healthcare providers like APN London, you can make a call today to start the formal assessment process, get a diagnosis, and schedule effective treatment options straight away.

And unlike the services offered at the NHS, our programme offers a multitude of different therapies and treatment techniques that can be used simultaneously, giving you the best possible chances of recovery.

Traditional Treatment Approaches

While each mental health diagnosis has a different set of effective treatments, the traditional approach is a combination of talk therapy and medication management. A number of different talk therapy approaches treat a variety of mental health disorders, including:

  • Cognitive-behavioural therapy
  • Behaviour therapy
  • Interpersonal therapy
  • Dialectical behaviour therapy

And while these therapies are effective on their own, their effects are typically enhanced when combined with targeted medicines provided by a psychiatrist. The success rate of these therapies is dependent on many factors, such as the person’s current environment or specific mental health concerns.

What if Therapy Isn’t Working for My Mental Health?

The traditional approach has been studied for decades and works for a great many people. But the fact is, there is a significant portion of the population that won’t experience the benefits they hope for from medication and therapy alone.

At APN London, we focus on providing a more holistic, comprehensive approach to mental health treatment by incorporating exciting and innovative new treatment methods in tandem with time-tested approaches.

Some of the innovative treatments offered at APN London include:

These approaches go a bit further than traditional treatment options, looking at the person as a whole, rather than focusing on problematic symptoms in isolation.

In many cases, treatments such as dTMS or ketamine-assisted healing can even produce results for people with treatment-resistant mental health disorders, providing new hope for those who haven’t found success in the past.

Start Treatment at APN London Today

Our skilled team can support you along every step of your recovery journey. When you’re ready to start getting the effective mental health treatment you need to start the path to recovery, call us at 0203 984 7699 or fill out our confidential online contact form for more information.

References

  • Blum, Kenneth et al. “Attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder and reward deficiency syndrome.” Neuropsychiatric disease and treatment vol. 4,5 (2008): 893-918. doi:10.2147/ndt.s2627
  • Kessler, Ronald C et al. “Trauma and PTSD in the WHO World Mental Health Surveys.” European journal of psychotraumatology vol. 8,sup5 1353383. 27 Oct. 2017, doi:10.1080/20008198.2017.1353383
  • “Overview: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).” NHS Choices, NHS, www.nhs.uk/conditions/attention-deficit-hyperactivity-disorder-adhd/. Accessed 11 Feb. 2024.