What is PTSD?
PTSD stands for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and it is a type of anxiety disorder, therefore a lot of this information will be similar to that in my “The Brain, the Body, the Behaviour – anxiety” post. However I believe that PTSD is an important mental health illness to highlight on it’s own. It is well-known for being diagnosed amongst war veterans; previously known in the two world wars as ‘shell shock’. Due to the environment and events that occur during wars, PTSD is common among veterans with at least 20% of veterans of the Afganistan and Iraq Wars and 15% of veterans of the Vietnam war living with it.
However PTSD is not specific to those in the military. PTSD can occur to anyone who has been faced by a frightening or distressing life event. Those who have been involved in serious road accidents, who have suffered from long term abuse (emotional, physical, sexual, neglect, financial, etc.), those who have been the victim of an assault (again, physical, sexual, etc.), victims of terrorist attacks and natural disasters, or witnesses to violent deaths. PTSD can develop immediately after an event, or even weeks/months/years later, depending on personal circumstances, individual levels of resiliance, and the existence of other co-morbid mental health problems.
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So, schizophrenia. It’s a complicated disorder. Therefore, following the origin of the word “schizophrenia” – where “schizo” means “split”, I’m going to split this “The Brain, The Body, The Behaviour” post into two parts.
It’s going to be a bit of a different structure compared to my other two posts on depression and anxiety, but will still cover the same content. This first part is going to be an overview of schizophrenia – I’m going to talk about what it is, what the symptoms are (the behaviours), physical problems those with schizphrenia may suffer from (the body) and I’m going to debunk a few myths about schizophrenia.
Then in the second part I’m going to talk about the brain of an individual with schizophrenia – or, at least, i’m going to try, as it’s not exactly simple, and like most areas of psychology there is no single answer to the biological insight of schizophrenia, and is probably going to be one of the most complex blog posts I ever have and ever will compose… But i’ll try my best. So, onto the first part:
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What is depression?
It is reported that globally 350 million individuals suffer from depression. There are two main types of depression;
- Recurrent depressive episodes; this is where an individual suffers from repeated depressive episodes, which can last for up to two weeks. Thier episode can be characterised as mild, moderate or severe, depending on the severity and length of their symptoms.
- Bipolar disorder; used to be known as “mania”. This is where an individual has “up and down” episodes, ranging from depressive with the common symptoms of depression, to manic which is where the symptoms are the total opposite – impulsive and reckless behaviour, elevated mood, increased need for sleep, overactivity.
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This is the first of my new series of blog posts – 3Bs; the brain, the body, the behaviour. Each post will be focussed on a mental health problem/illness/disorder and will outline what’s going on in the Brain, and how this affects the Body and the individuals Behaviour (hence, the 3Bs.) Hopefully this will help educate people about how mental health is not just “all in someones head”, and how in a lot of cases it is a neurological problem that can seriously affect someones physical health and also how they go about their daily lives. This is the first post, and as clearly illustrated above, is on anxiety.
What is anxiety?
Anxiety is a perfectly natural and normal physical reaction the body has when faced with danger, something fearful, or something worrying. For example, it’s perfectly normal to feel anxious when you’re about the sit the most important exam of your life, or if you’re faced with a pack of lions in the middle of nowhere, or if you’re faced with your parents three days after you’ve shouted at them and stormed out in the middle of the night (I know which scenario i’d prefer..). However a lot of people feel irrational anxiety on a daily basis, and it begins to take over their lives. This is what happens when someone develops an anxiety disorder.
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