A Short Introduction to PTSD, Depression, BPAD, and OCD
Today is October 10th, which means that it’s also World Mental Health Day! The World Health Organization recognizes the importance of mental health on this day as a way to raise awareness around mental health issues, bring about de-stigmatization, and to increase overall support of global mental health improvement.
To honor the day, we would like to talk with you about a few mental illnesses and disorders that we treat here at Healthpointe – more specifically, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, bipolar affective disorder (BPAD), and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
According to the American Psychiatric Association, post-traumatic stress disorder is a psychiatric disorder that can cause people to “have intense, disturbing thoughts and feelings related to their experience that last long after the traumatic event has ended. They may relive the event through flashbacks or nightmares; they may feel sadness, fear or anger; and they may feel detached or estranged from other people. People with PTSD may avoid situations or people that remind them of the traumatic event, and they may have strong negative reactions to something as ordinary as a loud noise or an accidental touch.”
Although there are some similarities between the two, situational anxiety is not the same as PTSD; in order for PTSD to be diagnosed, a patient must have had first or second-hand exposure, or repeated exposure to an upsetting traumatic event, such as:
- A natural disaster
- A serious accident
- A terrorist attack
- Other violent personal assault
They must also meet criteria from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders (DSM-5) for a proper diagnosis.
Healthpointe is proud to offer a psychological service called EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapy at several of our locations. EMDR works to safely help individuals struggling with PTSD through utilization of bilateral stimulation to assist in the healing process. You can read more about EMDR and our program here.
To learn more about PTSD and how to aid those who struggle with it, check out these organizations:
Depression is “a common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act… [It] causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home.” Although women are more likely to be diagnosed with depression than men are, anyone of any age or background can be affected by depression.
The American Psychiatric Association also notes that in order for someone to be diagnosed with depression, their symptoms must have lasted for a minimum of two weeks. This is one of the ways that depression can be distinguished from feelings of sadness, grief, or other physical ailments such as vitamin deficiencies.
Symptoms can range from mild to severe, and not every individual may experience every one. Symptoms can include:
- Feeling sad/having a depressed mood
- Loss of interest/pleasure in activities once enjoyed
- Changes in appetite (weight loss or gain that is unrelated to dieting)
- Trouble sleeping or over-sleeping
- Loss of energy or increased fatigue
- Increase in purposeless physical activity (i.e. pacing, etc.) or slowed movements and speech (actions observable by others)
- Feeling worthless or guilty
- Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
- Thoughts of death or suicide
To read more about depression and to discover more about how to increase awareness, visit these organizations:
Bipolar Affective Disorder (BPAD)
Also known as manic-depressive illness, the National Institute of Mental Health recognizes BPAD as a disorder of the brain “that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks.” There are four different kinds of bipolar affective disorder, all of which include some variation of the shifts noted above.
In combination, these symptoms can last for different durations of time, and are referred to as mood episodes. These episodes can be manic (“up” or “high”) or depressive (“down” or “low”), and can range from mild to severe. Sometimes, mood episodes can even include both manic and depressive symptoms at the same time.
Similarly to anxiety and depression, bipolar affective disorder can also go hand-in-hand with other mental illnesses, ailments, or disorders, such as psychosis, anxiety, or attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It is also common for those with a history of substance abuse issues to struggle with BPAD.
To learn more about BPAD and other risk-factors that come along with it, check out these sites:
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is an anxiety disorder that The International OCD Foundation defines as a “…disorder that affects people of all ages and walks of life, [that] occurs when a person gets caught in a cycle of obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are unwanted, intrusive thoughts, images, or urges that trigger intensely distressing feelings. Compulsions are behaviors an individual engages in to attempt to get rid of the obsessions and/or decrease his or her distress.”
The IOCDF also notes that “most people have obsessive thoughts and/or compulsive behaviors at some point in their lives, but that does not mean that we all have ‘some OCD.’” The difference between the two, is that the cycle that occurs in OCD is so extreme that it interrupts one’s daily life, and can become so time-consuming that a person is unable to function as they normally would without having OCD.
To find more information about OCD and other OCD-related behavioral disorders, visit these organizations:
Healthpointe Wants to Help
Here at Healthpointe, we offer various forms of psychological therapy, including:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)
- Biofeedback therapy
- Cognitive rehabilitation therapy
Through each of these types of therapy, Healthpointe’s clinical psychologists are able to address and treat psychological disorders such as those listed above and more, and the psychosocial components of injuries.
To learn more about Healthpointe or to make an appointment, contact us at (888) 824-5580 or visit www.healthpointe.net.
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts or feelings, get help now. Go to the emergency room, or contact a mental health professional as soon as possible. If you are unable to travel, or need more immediate assistance, call a suicide hotline or 9-11.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has a list of numbers that include, but are not limited to:
The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (888-333-2377)
The Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255)
Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) (240-485-1001)
Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) (800-826-3632)
International OCD Foundation (617-973-5801)
To learn more about these resources, as well as other HelpLine Resources, and other associations and organizations that provide advocacy and legal help, financial assistance, and community support services to those struggling with mental illnesses, you can go here.
Medically reviewed by Dr. Levon Margolin.