Mental Health Disorders

Schizophrenia Mental Disorder

Mental Health Awareness Month|Schizophrenia: What It Is, Symptoms,Causes, Prevention

Overview

Schizophrenia is a critical disorder affecting individuals’ actions, the way of thinking, and their feelings. Schizophrenia severely affects the patients’ performances where they experience difficulties in distinguishing what is real and imaginary; they have problems when expressing normal feelings in social circumstances and at times may be withdrawn or unresponsive to a situation. Schizophrenia occasionally results in delusions, disordered thinking, hallucinations, and behaviors affecting your daily functioning. It is a chronic condition that calls for enduring treatment.

Symptoms

Schizophrenia has a wide range of symptoms that range from cognition, behavioral and emotional symptoms. When the signs and symptoms may vary, they are marked by hallucinations, delusions, failed speech coordination and impaired capability to function.

Before a person develops the advanced symptoms, they may show or experience signs of;

  • difficulties in concentrating
  • loss of motivation
  • anxiousness
  • loss of focus
  • out of sorts

They include;

1. Hallucinations

This is one of the common symptoms. May include hearing voices, though in some cases it affects all senses; feel, touch, see, taste, or even smell things that are not there at that moment.

2. Delusions

An individual with delusions strongly believes that something is true when there is no evidence supporting it. For example, a person may believe that;

  • another person is pursuing them
  • that they are very important than other people
  • they possess extraordinary abilities or powers
  • another person is trying to control them remotely

3. Confused Thinking and Uncoordinated Speech

They tend to jump from one story to another without completion making it hard for you to follow up what they are trying to say.

Other symptoms

Emotional expressions: where someone may respond in a totally different emotion, i.e., a happy emotion for a sad situation

Social life: being withdrawn out of fear

Communication: difficulties while communicating with others

Motivation: one may end up neglecting daily activities such as self-care, school, or work. They may also experience catatonia.

Causes

Though the cause of the disease is unclear, most people associate it with genetic factors trending down the family tree, brain chemistry such as imbalances of neurotransmitters, immune disorders, and viral infections, or a combination of a number of these factors.

Neuroimaging research has shown a difference in the central nervous system and brain structures among the schizophrenic individuals, thus indicating it is a disease of the brain.

Schizophrenia Risk Factors

  • Genetic heredity where some individuals inherit the tendency of developing the disorder from their parents or very close relatives. Individuals with close relatives who are Schizophrenic or a history of other mental disorders have a higher chance of acquiring the same.
  • Faulty brain circuits responsible for the control and manage moods as well as thinking
  • Immune system disorders such as infections from viruses. For instance, kids from mothers infected by flu during their pregnancies have a high risk to schizophrenia
  • Environmental stress. These are factors such as malnutrition before birth, psychosocial factors, trauma during birth, and viral infections.
  • Imbalances in brain chemicals such as serotonin, dopamine as well as glutamate. They are responsible for affecting the way an individual responds to stimuli.
  • Use of certain drugs and medications. Past studies have proven that abuse of drugs such as cannabis can trigger schizophrenic symptoms. However, schizophrenic individuals stand at higher chances of abusing cannabis.

Schizophrenia Complications

If unattended, schizophrenia may result in the effects of all areas in your life. Complications include;

  • Depression
  • Social isolation
  • Anxiety
  • Suicidal thoughts and self-harm
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorders
  • Being victimized
  • Health issues and medical problems
  • In a few cases, aggression
  • Alcohol and substance use disorders

Prevention

There are no established methods of preventing schizophrenia, however, sticking to your medication helps to manage symptoms and prevent relapse or development of other mental health disorders.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder|PTSD

Mental Health Awareness Month|Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)- What It Is, Causes, Symptoms, Prevention And More

OVERVIEW

It was once known as ‘shell shock’ in WW I and ‘combat fatigue’ in WW II. It is a mental health disorder that occurs in individuals who have gone through or witnessed traumatic events. PTSD symptoms are characterized by nightmares, severe anxiety, and flashbacks, or uncontrollable thoughts about the traumatizing events.

Most of the individuals who go through the traumatic events may have difficulties in coping in the initial days but with good self-care and support, they get better with time. However, if the symptoms fail to get better with time, let’s say in months and interferes with your daily normal life, then you may be developing PTSD and you should seek effective treatment to manage the symptoms.

What Are The Symptoms Of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?

Symptoms of PTSD vary in severity from one individual to the other. In some people they might show a few weeks after the traumatic experience while in others it may take months or several years to appear after the event. These symptoms cause variance and significant difficulties in day to day normal activities, work, social, and well as family relations. In work case scenarios, they interfere with your normal daily life.

The symptoms of PTSD are grouped into four categories;

  1. The avoidance
  2. Intrusive memories
  3. Negative changes in mood and thinking
  4. Changes in emotional and physical reactions

Avoidance Symptoms

In this stage, you may;

  • Try as much as possible to avoid thinking or discussing the traumatic events
  • Avoiding activities, people, objects and places that remind you of the traumatizing events

Intrusive Memories

In the intrusive memories stage, you may;

  • Have recurrent and unwanted memories of the traumatizing events
  • Experience nightmares or distressing dreams about the traumatizing events
  • Have flashbacks of the traumatizing events
  • Physical reactions and emotional anguish to things or people that remind you of the traumatizing events

Negative Changes In Mood And Thinking 

In this stage, symptoms may include;

  • The feelings of hopelessness about the future
  • Deprived memory capabilities and mostly remembers more of the traumatic events
  • Trust issues on other people and the life events
  • Negative thoughts about yourself and other people
  • Difficulties in keeping close relations
  • Emotional numbness
  • Lack of the ability to enjoy the present or live the present moment
  • Drastic lose of interest in things that you once enjoyed doing
  • The feeling of being disconnected from family and friends
  • Feeling emotionless
  • Difficulties in feeling positive vibes

Changes In Emotional And Physical Reactions

  • These are also known as arousal symptoms and marked by symptoms change from physical to emotional. They may include;
  • Cognitive such as challenges in concentrating
  • Overwhelming shame and at times guilt
  • Difficulties in sleeping
  • Being effortlessly frightened
  • Angry outbursts, irritability, and aggressiveness
  • Self-harming behaviors such as alcohol and substance abuse
  • Always being on watch for the threat

However, in younger children (often 6 years and below), symptoms may also include;

  • Constant nightmares that may not include the actual traumatizing events
  • Acting out the traumatizing events or showing the aspects of the traumatic events through play

Causes Of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

You can develop PTSD when;

  • you experience, go through, learn about, or get involved in a horrific incident that is life-threatening, got seriously injured, or sexual violations.
  • Some people develop PTSD symptoms while others do not after these experiences. There is no clear scientific research to explain this. However, like most mental health disorders, PTSD is attributed by a mix of:
  • Past stressful experiences which depend on the severity and the amount of exposure to these experiences in your life
  • Temperament or inherited personality features
  • Your brain response to stress and how it regulates hormones and chemicals relating to stress management
  • History of mental risks such as anxiety or depression

  Types Of Traumatic Events

  • Sexual violence
  • Physical assaults
  • Combat exposure
  • A fatal accident
  • Physical abuse in childhood

Other traumatic events can also lead to PTSD such as natural disasters, terrorist attacks, torture, chronic medical diagnosis, fire, robbery among others

Complications of PTSD

Most PTSD if it goes untreated can disorient your whole life costing you your job, relationships, or the ability to drive a happy normal life. It may increase you’re the development of mental conditions such as:

Prevention  Of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder               

In most cases after surviving a traumatic event, most of us end up experiencing PTSD- like signs and symptoms and we cannot help to stop thinking of the event. Anger, fear, guilt, anxiety, depression; which is very normal as are reactions to trauma. However, not all people exposed to traumatic events end up developing post-traumatic stress disorder.

However, when you develop these symptoms, it is wise to seek help. Turn to trusted friends and family who will lend your ears and comfort you.

You can also schedule a short course therapy session with a health professional.

If you are spiritual or have a faith that you follow, it may be helpful to join up a faith community.

Support may help you in PTSD management.

depression

Mental Health Awareness Month| Depression Disorder: What It Is, Causes, Symptoms, Prevention And More

Overview

It also referred to as clinical depression or major depressive disorder. It is mental health or a mood disorder causing constant feelings of loss of interest and unhappiness. It affects your thoughts, behaviors, and moods leading to a variety of complications in physical and emotional well being.

In most cases you may have trouble functioning daily while other times you may question your cause of existence.

Although depression requires long term periods of treatment, it is not a weakness and most people have ‘snapped out’ of it. Most people feel better through either psychotherapy, medication, or both of them.

Symptoms Of Depression

Depression is more than the unending state of feeling blue or sadness and can also cause a mixture of a variety of symptoms to develop. While it is known to affect the mood, it also affects the body and the symptoms may come and go.

The symptoms are shown by changes in;

  • Emotional
  • Physical
  • Behavioral
  • Thoughts

These symptoms express in unique ways in children, women, and men.

Children may have the symptoms related to their:

Emotional where they may have constant feelings of incompetence and inferiority, intense crying and sadness

Physical such as deprived energy, stomach upsets, and digestive problems, changes in appetite that affect the body weight

Cognitive capabilities which may affect school performances and difficulties in concentrating

Mood changes such as increased anger, and irritability

Changes in sleep patterns whereby the child might sleep more or sleepless

Women may have symptoms related to:

Emotions where they have increased levels of anxiousness, feeling sad and empty

Changes in the sleep pattern where they end up either sleeping more or sleeping for fewer hours than usual

Cognitive abilities, affecting their ability to coordinate speech normally and end up talking more slowly

Behavioral such as loss of interest in things that previously enjoyed, suicidal thoughts and self-harm, social withdrawal, eating disorders

Physical changes such as general aches and pain, increased cramps, deprived energy, fatigue, variations in appetite which affects the body weight

Men may develop symptoms related to the:

Sexuality where most lack sexual desires and record reduced sexual performance

Changes in the mood to aggressiveness, restlessness, anger, irritability, and anxiousness

Cognitive capabilities such as deferred responses while conversing, poor concentrations, failure to complete tasks

Behavioral changes such as alcohol and substance abuse, engaging in high-risk behaviors, loss of interests in favorite activities, suicidal thoughts and self-harm behaviors

Changes in sleep patterns where they end up developing insomnia, sleeping less or for longer hours

Physical changes such as constant pains and muscle aches, fatigue, digestive problems and headaches

Causes of Depression

Like all the mental health disorders, depression lacks a single cause and the causes range from circumstantial to biological factors.

  1. Genetic or family history. Members of a family with a history of depression or any other mood disorders stand at a higher risk of developing depression. They are more prone if the family member is a close relative.
  2. Brain structure. Studies have shown than individuals with a less active brain front lobe are more likely to develop depression as compared to those with a normal functioning brain front lobe. However, there is no link if the lobe is affected before or after the depression incident.
  3. Earlier childhood trauma. A significant number of depression cases are linked to past traumatizing experiences exposed for a longer period. These effects affect how you as an individual respond to fear or anxiety.
  4. Hormones. Changes in hormonal balance can trigger depression symptoms development. This is common in young women; a few weeks after pregnancy and after delivery.
  5. Medications. Certain chronic health conditions may put you at a higher risk of depression, these include insomnia, chronic pains, ADHD, etc.
  6. Drug use. Individuals with a history of alcohol or substance use can put you at a higher risk. Research has shown that an average of 21% of individuals with a history of drug and substance abuse develop depression.

Other risk factors of depression are;

  • Stressful experiences such as the loss of someone close
  • Personality traits
  • History of mental illness
  • Specific medications

If untreated, depression can develop complications such as;

  • Relationship issues or unstable relationships with your spouse, family or friends
  • Substance and drug use disorders
  • Bodily pains
  • Suicidal thoughts or even suicidal attempts
  • Panic attacks
  • Thoughts of self-harm and self-harm behaviors
  • Drastic loss or gain of weight
  • self mutilation behaviors such as self cutting

Types of Depression Disorders

Depression disorders can be split into two categories depending on the levels of the symptom’s severity. Some people experience severe and constant episodes of depression while others experience mild and irregular depressive episodes.

  1. Major depressive disorder

This is a severe type of depression. It is portrayed by persistent moods hopelessness, feelings of worthlessness, and sadness. These feelings rarely fade on their own.

  1. Persistent depressive disorder

Its a more mild but chronic type of depression. It was previously known as dysthymia.

Prevention of depression

Medically, depression is not considered preventable. This is because its hard to establish a single cause, making the preventive measures hard as well.

However, once you experience a depressive episode, you better brace yourself in preventing future episodes through making some lifestyle changes which include;Ensure you get enough sleep

Exercising regularly

Engage in stress-reducing ways

Focus on building strong relationships with others

Follow up and maintain therapies and treatments

Eating Disorders

Mental Health Awareness Month| Eating Disorders

Overview

There is a societal apprehended delusion that eating disorders are lifestyle individual choices. Often, eating disorders end up being more serious when they are not attended to where they result in fatalities and the development of severe health issues. The common severe disturbances are related to emotions, thoughts, and eating behaviors. The common eating disorders include;

1. Bulimia Nervosa

With bulimia nervosa, you tend to have frequent episodes of eating large portions of foods where you completely lack control of what you eat or when you eat. The eating behaviors are more likely to be followed by activities to compensate for the eating habits of overeating such as the use of laxatives, or vomiting. Women and men suffering from Bulimia nervosa live in constant fears of their body shapes and sizes. You can be normal weight, overweight or even underweight

2. Anorexia Nervosa

This is where you may see yourself as overweight. When you have anorexia, you end up weighing yourself more often and putting restrictions on yourself of the foods and amount of foods that you eat, enhance the excessive exercise, use of laxatives to lose weight or force yourself to vomit more often. With Anorexia, most people die of suicide or starvation

3. Binge-eating Disorder

This is where you completely lose control over your eating. Unlike in Bulimia, in Binge-eating, episodes are not accompanied by compensatory behaviors, and therefore most people suffering from binge eating disorder end up being obese, increased risk of health complications due to unhealthy eating such as cardiovascular health conditions.

Signs and symptoms of eating disorders

Signs and symptoms of eating disorders vary from one type to the other. However, like all mental illnesses, eating disorders have some common or related signs and symptoms. When suffering from eating disorders, you are likely to show the below signs;

  • Obsession with certain types of foods such as foods with high calories or fats
  • Consistent fluctuations in weight
  • Chronic dieting even after being dangerously underweight
  • Depressions stages or lethargy episodes
  • Regular switching from fasting periods to overeating periods
  • Avoiding social functions or becoming isolated or socially withdrawn
  • Development of ritualistic food patterns such as hiding food, or cutting tiny pieces while eating

What Causes Eating Disorders?

Like most mental disorders, eating disorders have more than one known underlying factors and we cannot establish a single cause.

  1. In one of the genetics studies, two twins on adoption studies showed evidence of eating disorders in both twins although having been oriented by different families. This concludes eating disorders may be hereditary.
  1. Personality traits. Some personalities are more likely to develop eating disorders than others. These personalities include impulsivity, neuroticism, and perfectionism.
  1. Perceived pressures to attain a certain body shape or size. These are more likely to be the effects of social media, peer influence, or the society description of the ‘perfect’ body.
  1. Brain structure is also established to play a vital role that may cause eating disorders. This includes the levels of brain messenger’s serotonin and dopamine might be factors.

Treatment of Eating disorders

Eating disorders are complex and at times severe. Therefore, professional treatment is fundamental in establishing healing and full recovery.

Treatment of eating disorders may include either one or more of the following which is administered by a nutritionist, a medical doctor, and therapist for complete care:

Nutrition. This may include the incorporation of individualized meal plans which will help in the stabilization of the condition. It highly focuses on guidance to normal eating

Therapy. Includes different types of psychotherapy such as group, family or individual; important in defining the underlying impacts behind eating disorders

Monitoring and medical care. The ultimate goal of treating eating disorders is addressing the health issues which results from eating disorders or behaviors

Medications. 

Bipolar Disorder

Mental Health Awareness Month| Bipolar Disorder:Myths, Facts, Symptoms, Self-Help Tips

Overview Of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder can better be described as a mental health disorder causing unusual shifts in mood, activity levels, energy, concentrations, and your ability to carry out with your daily activities. In the past, bipolar disorder was referred to as manic depression or manic-depressive illness.

There are three recognized types of disorders with all of them involving changes of moods from manic episodes (irritable and energized behaviors) to depressive episodes (indifferent, sad, or hopeless periods). The less severe maniac attack is hypomanic episodes.

Despite the bipolar condition being referred to as a lifelong condition, it is very possible to manage your mood swings and other symptoms with the correct treatment plans. Bipolar disorders are treated through both psychotherapy and medications.

Myths And Facts About Bipolar Disorder

Myth 1: bipolar disorder only affects mood

Fact: bipolar disorder affects all body systems and your daily activities. It affects your energy levels, concentration, sleep quality, appetite, judgments, self-esteem, and sex drive. In some cases, bipolar disorders have been linked to substance abuse and alcoholism, anxiety, and health issues such as heart diseases and high blood pressure.

Myth 2: People living with bipolar cannot lead a normal life

Fact: there are the majority of bipolar individuals who are leading successful careers, satisfying relationships, and happy families. While living with bipolar is a bit challenging, proper, and healthy coping skills and support give a fulfilling life and makes it easy to manage the symptoms.

Myth 3: there is nothing that a bipolar individual can do to manage the symptoms apart from the medication

Fact: even if medication is viewed as a solid foundation in bipolar treatment, psychotherapy and self-help play a vital role in managing the symptoms.

Myth 4: individuals with bipolar disorders swing moods between mania and depression.

Fact: some individuals have episodes alternating from the two extremes, some are depressed more often, some experience manic episodes more often, some have very minor mania episodes while in others the bipolar disorder symptoms might go unnoticed.

Signs And Symptoms Of Bipolar Disorder

This highly depends on the individual and the type of the bipolar disorder they have where the symptoms vary extensively in their frequency, pattern as well as severity. In some individuals, maniac episodes express more, others the depressing episodes, and in others the two alternates equally. In some people the symptoms shift more frequently and less frequently in others.

There are four kinds of mood episodes with each showing unique symptoms;

  • Mixed episodes
  • Hypomania
  • Mania
  • Depression

Mixed Episodes

Mixed episodes illustrate both symptoms of depression and mania where symptoms include;

  • Insomnia
  • Racing thoughts
  • Distractibility
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Depression

Hypomania

Hypomania bipolar individuals are likely to carry on with their daily activities without major challenges while others may only experience unusual good mood. Symptoms are;

  • Energetic
  • Poor decision making that may harm your career, or relationships
  • Feeling euphoric

Mania

  • Disrupted sleep pattern
  • Racing thoughts or hovering from one idea to another
  • Difficulties in concentrating
  • Unrealistic beliefs of one’s ability
  • Feeling highly irritable or optimistic
  • Unfair judgments
  • Hallucinations and delusions
  • Rapid talks that other people cannot stand you.
  • Recklessness without putting in mind the consequences

Bipolar Disorder Depression 

  • Feelings of guilt or worthless Failure to experience pleasure
  • Difficulties in sleeping
  • Weight and appetite loss
  • Feeling empty or hapless Suicidal thoughts
  • Deprived energy and fatigue
  • Memory problems
  • Mental and physical sluggishness
  • Irritability

Bipolar Disorders And Suicide

Past research shows that more people with bipolar disorders are at a higher risk of committing suicide as compared to those suffering from normal depression and the suicides tend to be more toxic. More suicide cases are likely to register from the individuals with a family history of suicide, depressive and mixed episodes, alcohol and drug abuse history, or onset of health complications.

Suicide warnings in Bipolar Disorder individuals

  • Self-harm and frequently talking of death
  • Feeling empty and worthless
  • Hopelessness
  • Getting affairs in order
  • Being reckless as if one has a single death wish

Triggers And Causes Of Bipolar Disorder

Like most of the mental health disorders, bipolar disorders have several triggers and there no single cause that is known to result in the condition. Of course, some cases have shown hereditary causes, though since not all cases that result from an inheritance from close kin them we cannot establish that genetic factor is the single cause.

Imaging studies have shown a difference in the physical appearance of the brain of the individuals with bipolar disorder. Other research studies have linked the bipolar disorder to circadian rhythm disturbances, hormonal imbalances, higher levels of cortisol which is the stress hormone, and anomalous thyroid function.

The external environment that can result in bipolar disorder is known as triggers. However, one can become bipolar even without these factors.

Alcohol and substance abuse- substance abuse does not always result in bipolar disorders. However, abuse of drugs such as cocaine can trigger mania while alcohol abuse can trigger depression.

Irregular sleep patterns and sleep deprivation- skipping sleep or sleeping for fewer hours can trigger mania episodes.

Stress- this is commonly experienced in individuals with genetic susceptibility which affect the mood episodes.

Medication- some medications and especially antidepressants have shown evidence to triggering mania. Other drugs causing mania include and not limited to corticosteroids, appetite suppressants, and thyroid medications. However, your physician should advise you accordingly.

Self-Help For Bipolar Disorder

1. Keep moving. This includes exercise, such as walking, running, dancing, swimming, and other exercises that keep the leg and arms moving. Aerobic exercises have a great benefit to your brain and nervous system.

2. Be educated. The more you know about the bipolar disorder, the more you can support yourself and others.

3. Seek support. Always be quick to seek support form family and friends you trust or a health professional.

4. Avoid highly stressful situations as much as you can.

5. Keep connections with friends and family.

6. Keep in check of your moods for signs swinging out of control

7. Choose more healthy choices such as regular eating and sleeping habits.

Borderline Personality Disorder

Mental Health Awareness Month| Borderline Personality Disorder

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is a psychological disorder affecting not only how you feel and think about yourself but also others thus causing problems functioning in your daily life activities. This includes difficulties while managing emotions, consistent patterns of unstable relationships with those you relate with, self-image issues. It is commonly referred to as personality disorder.

When you have BPD, you constantly experience intense fear of instability or abandonment, thus having difficulties enduring being alone. However, frequent mood swings, inappropriate anger, and impulsiveness may end up pushing people away and especially people who may not be aware of the disorder.

In most cases, BPD often starts in early adulthood, where it seems to be worse but gradually gets better with age.

If you happen to have borderline personality disorder, or you know someone with the disorder, don’t be discouraged. The majority of the people with BPD gets better with time with treatment and can live happy and satisfying lives.

How Do You Recognize Borderline Personality Disorder?

BPD can be recognized if you identify yourself with the following statements

Constant fear of being abandoned by people you care about

Intense and yet unstable romantic relationships

Consistent feeling of “emptiness”

Rapid shift of emotions and experiences of anger, anxiousness, fear, and sadness

Rapid changes of how you feel about your life form time to time; one moment you feel hopeful and all over sudden it changes to the opposite and you don’t know why.

Attempts of self-harm and suicidal thoughts

Engaging in unsafe or unhealthy behaviors such as reckless driving, unsafe sex, drug abuse, binge drinking, etc

If you identify yourself with several of the above statements, then you may need professional mental health evaluation for an official diagnosis.

Borderline Personality Disorder is Treatable

People with a borderline personality disorder can do better and even fairly rapidly with the right treatments and support. Healing involves breaking dysfunction patterns of how you feel, think, and your behaviors that are resulting in your distress. Although it is not easy to change your lifelong habits, with time you will form new habits that may help you maintain emotional balance and stay in control of your emotions and feelings.

Symptoms

Borderline personality disorder is likely to affect how you feel about yourself, how you behave, and your relationship with others. The symptoms of BPD may range from mild to severe where they emerge in adolescence or early adulthood and persist in adulthood.

Signs and symptoms may include;

  • Emotional instability– this is also known as affective dysregulation. When you have borderline personality disorder, you experience emotional shifts from one extreme to another, which also affect the people that may be close to you.
  •  Unstable but intense relations with others– with BPD, you are more likely to have short-lived relationships that are intense. You are more likely to fall in love more quickly and within a short time believing the new person is the right one for you and in turn get as quickly disappointed.
  • Impulsive, self-harming behaviors– in most cases, when upset, people with BPD seek for self-destructive behaviors seeking sensation. These behaviors may bring you to feel a good moment but eventually hurt in the near future.
  • Fear of abandonment– with BPD, one is in constant fear of being left alone and maybe clingy, track your lovers’ movements, or even block people from leaving them which is more likely to block other people away.
  • Shift of self-image– with BPD, you have instabilities of how you feel about yourself or the sense of self. At one point you may feel good about yourself and then change to self-doubt and then hate or evil. As a result, you may frequently change jobs, lovers, religions, or even sexual identity.
  • Feeling suspicious– with BPD, one often struggle with paranoia or constant thoughts of the motive of others
  • Explosive anger– short tempers and intense anger and trouble controlling yourself once the fuse is lit. However, anger is not always directed outwards, at times you may spend longer feeling angry at yourself.
  • Self-harm and suicidal thoughts– include having thoughts of committing suicide and some attempting to commit suicide. Others may engage in self-harming behaviors such as cutting or even burning.
  • A chronic feeling of emptiness

Causes

Unlike most of the mental health disorders, borderline personality disorder has no clear or established causes. Besides the environmental factors such as childhood experiences and child abuse, BPD may be linked to;

1. Brain abnormalities.

Some past research has shown brain changes in certain areas involved with aggression, regulation of impulsivity and emotions, and malfunctioning of brain chemicals responsible for mood such as serotonin.

2. Genetics

Research has shown BPD may be inherited from the family tree or strongly related to mental health disorders among family members.

Common Co-Occurring Disorders

Risk Factors

Like most of the mental health disorders have risk factors, BPD is closely related to personality development factors;

  1. Stressful childhood-majority of the cases that diagnose for BPD is linked to individuals who experienced rough and stressful childhood experiences such as sexually abused, neglected during childhood, physically abused, conflicting, and hostile relationships with family and caregivers or bullying.
  2. Hereditary predisposition- those with close relatives with BPD (dad, mom, or sibling) have a higher risk of diagnosing with BPD.

When To Seek Medical Advice?

If you are experiencing several of the symptoms of BPD, make it a priority to seek proper medication

Mental Health Awareness Month| Anxiety Disorder: Types, Risk Factors, Symptoms & Management

“It is much okay to be anxious from time to time, it is an expected part of life and everyone does.”

Shareh Wanjau

It is much okay to be anxious from time to time, it is an expected part of life and everyone does. You might experience anxiety in almost every situation; before making a critical life decision, when about to take a test, when about to see a physician, facing issues at work, financial troubles, changing jobs or when meeting new people. Such forms of anxiety come and go. Being anxious is a very normal response to stressing life events.

However, for someone with anxiety disorder, the feeling of being anxious does not go and gets worse over time. This escalates to an anxiety mental disorder when the symptoms of anxiety become larger surpassing the events that trigger them. This leads to the development of symptoms that may directly interfere with daily routine and life activities such as career, relationships or schoolwork.

What Are Anxiety Disorders?

American Psychiatric Association refers to anxiety as a normal reaction to stress that is beneficial to some life situations in the sense that it at times alerts us to red lights thus helping us in preparation and paying attention. The emotion varies from the usual feelings of nervousness to excessive fear or anxiety. Among the mental health disorders, around 30% of adults experience anxiety at some point in their lives. Anxiety disorders are very treatable, with several effective and right treatments and have helped most people get back to their normal lives.

Anxiety can be defined as the anticipation of a future concern and closely related to muscle tension and avoidance conduct.

Fear on the other hand refers to an emotional response to an immediate threat and more associated with flight or fight reactions; either escaping from the danger or staying to fight.

For an individual to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders, the fear must:

  • Hinder their ability to function normally
  • Be out of proportion to the age or situation appropriate

Types of Anxiety Disorders

Social Anxiety Disorder or Social Phobia. This is when you feel deeply affected or concerned and worried about your day to day social situations. You experience so much worry about how others see you, what they say about you, being judged or else embarrassed in your social errands. Most people with social phobia are more likely to avoid social events. Social phobia can manifest itself in many situations varying from the workplace to school environments.

Panic Disorder. Those suffering from panic disorders are likely to experience more recurrent unexpected panic attacks. These are sudden episodes of pretty intense fear that come quickly reaching their peak within very few minutes. Triggers for panic disorders are fear of a given situation or object; either from the past or imaginary. In most cases, people with panic anxiety disorders live with the fear of the next occurrence thus trying to prevent through avoiding situations, things, people places or behaviors they associate with panic attacks. The attacks can also occur with other mental disorders such as PSTD or depression. During a panic anxiety disorder, one may experience a combination of;

 

  • Shaking or trembling
  • The feeling of being out of control
  • Accelerating heartbeat rate
  • Breath shortness and smothering
  • Sweating
  • Tingling or numbness
  • Chest pains
  • Abdominal pains and nausea
  • The feeling of being detached from people and objects
  • Dizziness and light headed
  • Hot flashes
  • Feelings of imminent doom

Generalized Anxiety Disorder. You experience a feeling of unrealistic and excessive worry, and tension very little or no clear reason in most of the time for a minimum of 6 months. This anxiety and fear cause substantial problems in life such as in schoolwork, social life or work interactions. GAD symptoms include:

  • The feeling of being withdrawn and fatigued
  • Being on-edge or restless
  • Experiencing muscle tension
  • Difficulties in controlling feelings of worry or fear
  • Becoming frequently irritable
  • Insomnia and unsatisfying sleep
  • Poor concentration and mind often going blank

Separation Anxiety Disorder (SAD). Although this is mostly associated with children, there is a possibility of SAD to be diagnosed among adults. You have a constant fear of being detached from the people you are attached to.

Agoraphobia. This is the worry or fear of being in a situation where the escape may be difficult or else might not be available in the experience of panic. Agoraphobia may last longer than 6 months thus causing issues in general functionality. Diagnosis of agoraphobia is only possible when the situation is intensely terrifying and thus affecting daily routine in a big way. When you have agoraphobia you may experience the fear of at least two of the below situations:

  • Life in an open space or an enclosed space
  • Being in a crowd
  • Use of public transport
  • Being away from home alone

Specific Or General Phobias. These are common and include an intense fear of an object, an animal or a situation. Some of the examples include and not limited to: heights, blood, flying, animals, injections, etc

Risk Factors

Image illustration from Verywellmind.com

 

Currently, the causes of anxiety disorders remain un-established. However, some past research has associated anxiety with environmental, psychological, developmental and genetic factors. There is a possibility of anxiety disorders running in families. This suggests a combination of environment and genetic stress accelerating the disorder. Though factors to different types of anxiety disorders may vary, some of the general risk factors include:

  • Underlying physical health conditions such as heart arrhythmia, high blood pressure, thyroid problems, medications and or other substance such as caffeine can exacerbate anxiety symptoms
  • A history of anxiety disorders and other mental illnesses among your biological relatives
  • Behavioral inhibition in childhood or undependable traits of shyness
  • Exposure to frustrating and stressful life events in childhood and early adulthood

Diagnosis and Treatment

The first thing should be a doctor visit to confirm there is no underlying physical condition responsible for the symptoms. After diagnoses, get psychiatric who will work with you through the best treatment. Regrettably, the majority of the people that suffer from anxiety are not likely to seek the help of treatment at all. Most of them end up not realizing the illness having potential treatments.

There are two main types of treatments; medications and psychotherapy (talk therapy) they either go alone or both.

Management of Anxiety Symptoms

  • Give rest time priority. Sleep issues and anxiety go hand in hand in most cases. Plan and follow a bedtime relaxing routine
  • Reduce intake of foods that contain caffeine such as energy drinks, coffee cola, chocolate, etc. these are mood-altering foods and may worsen the symptoms
  • Practice proper eating habits while eating the right types of foods, exercise, talk to people who are close to you.
  • Seek medical advice before the purchase of over the counter drugs or any forms of herbal remedies
  • Be physically active, discover new hobbies. Physical exercise triggers the brain to release chemicals that aid in cutting stress and improving mood.