PTSDPTSD is a very difficult condition to live with. PTSD stands for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and it is characterized by ongoing feelings of panic due to a traumatic event. Commonly, people think of ex-soldiers as the typical person afflicted with PTSD because they come home from war so traumatized by what they have witnessed. It is true that many former soldiers return from war and suffer PTSD, but it is a condition that can strike people from any demographic and any walk of life. Trauma is relative to the coping abilities of those it affects, and a range of adverse situations can be traumatic to people.

When a traumatic event takes place a person’s brain is flooded with cortisol as a stress response. They receive adrenaline and their heart races. They have an extreme, negative emotional response. This traumatic event may be something as severe as an animal attack or a violent crime, or it may be something more minor, such as a pattern of fighting in a relationship. As mentioned previously, trauma has more to do with the individual’s ability to process and overcome trauma than it does the scale of the trauma.

As time moves forward and the traumatic event moves into the past, the average traumatic event begins to fade from a person’s memory and they begin to experience relief from it. But in the case of PTSD, the person does not forget the traumatic event, the memory of it stays vivid and they constantly relive it, complete with the rush of cortisol and adrenaline. This means they are living life with feelings of dread and panic just below their surface. These feelings can be triggered by anything startling or reminiscent of the traumatic event. This pattern will continue until the individual receives help in the form of counseling or clinical treatment. PTSD is treatable for those who are willing to apply hard work and critical thinking to their condition.


OCDOCD stands for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. People often think of OCD as merely a quirk, but actually, it is a very serious disorder that can drastically interfere with a person’s life. Many hundreds of thousands of people in the United States and Canada live with OCD. Some lead functional lives and some do not. When OCD is mild or a person knows how to manage it, they can lead perfectly functional lives. When OCD is severe or mismanaged, it can be like living in a prison.

OCD is characterized by obsessive and compulsive behavior. A person with OCD will fixate and become worked up over the details, coordination, cleanliness or order of any given thing. OCD frequently expresses itself as a fixation on cleanliness and germs. The sufferer imagines that germs are on every surface that is not immaculately clean and will not be calm until every surface near them is cleaned. OCD also takes the form of an obsession with symmetry, coordination, organization and order. OCD people have very precise, exact systems in place in their life. If those systems are disturbed, it is a major cause of stress to them.

The underlying causes of OCD can vary. They are typically associated with a person’s environment, chemistry, psychology and behavior. Often, OCD will be passed down generationally. There is usually more than one case per family. Often a parent teaches a child to fear germs, clean compulsively or keep their belongings in perfect order, and it becomes a lifelong pattern. There is treatment for OCD for those who are willing to be patient and put in a considerable amount of work. Because OCD is literally a compulsive behavior, the person exhibits it automatically and subconsciously. Learning to reverse it takes a lot of work and intense critical thinking. The triggers of OCD remain with a person their whole life, but they can learn how to manage them so that their control reflex over them is as automatic and effortless as the trigger itself.


depressionThe mental disorder with the most awareness surrounding it is depression. This was the first mental disorder that was identified as widespread and prevalent. In the 1990s, depression received a great deal of publicity and society grasped together that depression was something of an epidemic. Since then, depression has been the most commonly diagnosed mental disorder of all of them. It affects nearly one in four people in North America. Depression is characterized as prevalent, reoccurring low moods, or ongoing low moods that last for an extended period of time. It is not the same thing as being sad, as everyone feels sad from time to time. Instead, it is a heavy darkness that robs a person of their joy, energy and productivity.

Depression is considered to be the most easily recognized mental disorder, but diagnosing it can be complicated. There are many other mental and personality disorders that come with symptoms that mimic depression. For example, a condition like borderline personality disorder often comes with risk taking tendencies that resemble suicidal behavior. For this reason, borderline personality disorder is frequently misdiagnosed as depression. Depression also frequently accompanies other disorders because the individual is struggling to cope with the ramifications of their disorder. For example, depression is found frequently in people afflicted with adult ADHD because it is common for ADHD sufferers to be rejected due to their lack of organizational skills.

Depression is commonly treated with medication and counseling, which can both be very effective. Depression can be one of the most harmful mental disorders because it stops a person from being able to move toward their goals and ambitions. It isolates a person in despair and lethargy away from the rest of the world. It is important that people who suffer from depression receive the treatment they need because people with depression are at a higher risk of suicide and self mutilation. Having said that, depression can also be one of the easiest disorders to live with when it is managed correctly and treatment is taken seriously.

Depression is sometimes one of two co-occurring disorders. Addiction and substance abuse can greatly enhance the symptoms of depression and requires specialized treatment. If someone you know is struggling with depression and addiction, the best resource are addiction, drug and alcohol rehab centers.


anxietyThe mental disorder anxiety is one that is very prevalent in our society. Anxiety conditions are very present within our cultural fabric. Many people mistakenly assume that an anxiety disorder can be described simply as someone who gets scared a lot, in the same way other people get scared but more regularly. This is not an accurate description of anxiety. The attacks and episodes that a person experiences when they have anxiety are debilitating. They may hyperventilate and feel like they are going to have a heart attack. In fact, many people who have an anxiety attack go to the hospital, thinking they are having a medical emergency. The symptoms are severe and alarming.

Anxiety is a condition that sets in over time. It can have a variety of underlying causes but the symptoms are very similar between people diagnosed with it. They have an exaggerated sense of danger and an overactive fear response. The reaction that would be typical of a person meeting a bear in the woods strikes a person with anxiety at random in every day situations. They will frequently interpret someone or something as threatening even if the person or thing poses no real threat to them. Their fear response is very extreme. Their brain becomes flooded with cortisol and they are no longer able to interpret stimuli rationally. Physical responses include shortness of breath, racing heart, tightness in the chest and feelings of faintness.

Treatment for anxiety includes medication and counseling, both of which are very important to the management of this condition. Medication helps stabilize the brain chemicals that become out of control during an anxiety attack. Counseling helps teach a person with anxiety how to cope with its symptoms and how to identify when their anxiety is affecting them. Living with anxiety can be challenging, but its symptoms are manageable for those who take their treatment seriously. If you or someone you care about is struggling with anxiety, reach out to the services of a mental health professional today.


ADHDOur understanding of ADD and ADHD has grown immensely in recent years. Over the past 20 years, ADD and ADHD have gone from being challenged as an unreal mental condition to discovering nine different varieties and variations of them. Psychologists and psychiatrists very much acknowledge the reality of ADD and ADHD in the present time. There are many statistics available to illustrate what living with one of these conditions is like. There are many treatment options available to people with ADD or ADHD, which focus on medication and counseling. The type of medication prescribed to people with this condition needs to prescribed very carefully, given that there are so many varieties of it. One type of medication may be very successful for one variety of this disorder while another type of medication may be detrimental.

ADD is considered to be a lesser condition than ADHD. The symptoms are not as strong or pervasive. ADD is characterized as a general inability to focus or a tendency to bounce around between focuses often. The impetus for the lack of focus may vary, as may the expression of the broken or scattered focus, but ADD serves as a blanket term for the general dysfunction. People with ADD frequently do not medicate or seek counseling because many find that they can manage their ADD and lead successful lives. Many people diagnosed with ADD are found “quirky” because of their condition, but often not dysfunctional.

ADHD, on the other hand, can prove more difficult to live with if the individual does not receive treatment. ADHD typically requires medication and counseling in order to manage properly. This form of the condition is much more pervasive than its close relative ADD. It is a more serious executive function disorder because it results in much more scattered concentration and immense difficulty organizing. A person with ADHD typically has a lot of trouble accomplishing tasks and executing activities because of their inability to manage their own thought process. Medication is extremely helpful with ADHD because it increases focus enough to allow the person to function.


bipolarThe mental disorder bipolar used to be something that was swept under the rug in our culture, but in modern times, we are all discovering together how common it is. Some elements of our culture still wish to turn a blind eye to it and stigmatize it, but with the availability of mass media, we are identifying that people who are bipolar are our friends, family members, neighbors and coworkers. We are also learning that there is no need to stigmatize a condition like bipolar because people are able to manage it and live with it very functionally when they take their treatment for it seriously. Bipolar is a challenging condition to live with, but millions are doing just that and having success.

Bipolar is identified by its two distinct extremes in mood. A person with bipolar will be in a very high, energetic mood for a period of time, then will slip into a depressed, lethargic mood for a period of time. Though they can also come into even, steady moods, they are usually short lived. The highs a bipolar person goes through are often referred to as mania. They are not like a good mood the average person experiences. They are unstable and not grounded in reality, frequently featuring delusional thinking and unrealistic goal setting. The lows a bipolar person experiences are deep and dark, sapping them of energy and clear thinking, paralyzing their effectiveness.

These cycles can last days, weeks, or even months in some cases. Bipolar is closely related to manic depression, which is characterized by general mood instability and deep depressive periods of extremely low function. Bipolar is typically treated with medication and counseling. There is no curing bipolar, but there are many success stories of living with it and managing it. Medication brings a bipolar person’s brain chemicals under control to curb the extremity of the mood cycles, while counseling gives the person tools to cope with their disorder and resources for identifying when their disorder is in effect. They also receive resources to turn to in times of crisis, such as support groups, sponsors and mental disorder support services.