Depression is the most common mental health concern in Scotland. It can affect anyone at any time and can have a number of causes. There also may be no clear cause.
Depressive symptoms include: tiredness, loss of confidence, hopelessness, lack of concentration, insomnia, loss of appetite, feelings of guilt or sadness, thoughts of suicide.
There are many support networks for individuals suffering from depression and it is important that if you have these feelings you talk to someone about it.
Anxiety and depression are often linked, as they can lead on from one another. Many individuals experience both.
Anxiety can manifest itself in many ways; from feelings of tension which develop over a long time to panic attacks and phobias. Anxiety is defined by the following symptoms; increase in heart rate, sweating, sense of dread, shortness of breath, dizziness, insomnia.
Anxiety and fear can be a difficult cycle to break, an individual who feels anxious about something is very likely to start fearing the anxiety itself, which can start causing problems in their daily life and routine. That’s why it is so important to get support as early as possible.
Anxiety is also linked to OCD.
Stress is something we all experience at some point, some more than others. As a student you no doubt will stress at a coursework deadline, before an exam…and a whole bunch of other reasons.
Stress is also the second most common reason for work absence (after back pain). It has both emotional and behavioural symptoms which can affect you, your academic performance and your social interactions.
High levels of stress can cause more serious mental health concerns and physical health concerns.
Many Student Association Advice centres run stress management sessions or provide information on dealing with stress – so why not visit them and find out how they can help you.
Sleep can have a big impact on your mental and physical health. Commonly, people who experience mental health illnesses will also experience problems with their sleep.
Tiredness can also make it more difficult to manage stress, anxiety and everyday tasks. A lack of sleep can impact upon existing mental illnesses so finding ways to manage your sleep can be useful. Establishing a routine, making changes to your sleeping environment, altering your diet and thinking about exercise can all help.
Sleep Hygiene practices can help you maintain a regular sleeping pattern- you can find out more by visiting the Sleep Foundation’s website.
Alcohol and other drugs could be said to have a two-way relationship with mental health. Some mental illnesses can be exacerbated by substance use and it also common for those experiencing mental illness to self-medicate with substances- whether legal, illegal or prescribed.
To find out more about substance use, access credible information, advice and support visit www.mycrew.org.uk. You can also use this site to “check out” your own or someone else substance use if you are concerned.
Self-injury is the term given when someone intentionally causes harm to themselves as a way of relieving pain or frustration. This includes self-injury, such as cutting or burning one’s self, and also things like taking overdoses.
The UK has one of the highest rates of self-injury in Europe, and it is an issue that affects people of all backgrounds and all genders.
The reasons behind self-injury are numerous, a few include low self-esteem, sexual abuse, bullying or family breakdowns. For many it can be linked to a need to feel more in control-every individual is different as are their reasons for self harming.
The most important thing is that they do not feel alone and seek support quickly. Find out more at nshn.co.uk
There are a number of eating disorders, with the most common being Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified, or EDNOS, accounting for around 50% of diagnosed eating disorders. It is also perhaps the least known about or understood. An EDNOS diagnosis is typically given to someone whose symptoms didn’t meet all of the criteria for anorexia or bulimia or where their symptoms were a mix of those for anorexia and bulimia.
The more commonly known about eating disorders are: Anorexia Nervosa, where the individual drastically reduces their intake of food in order to change their appearance and have control over their bodies; Bulimia Nervosa, where the individual tends to use binging/vomiting or laxatives as means to control their appearance weight; and Binge Eating Disorder, a serious mental illness where people experience a loss of control and overeat on a regular basis.
Eating disorders are most prevalent in women, however the number of men coming forward for support is increasing.
Eating disorders can lead to a whole host of problems, including intestinal problems, kidney and other vital organ failure, brittle bones, hair loss, tooth decay, fainting and, in some cases, death.
It is important to get as much support as possible as recovery can take some time. As a supporter, it is important to view the issue with an open mind.
If you are affected by any of these issues and would like to find support visit our Support and Links page now.