Mental illnesses

Psychiatric and psychological conditions cover a broad range of conditions and symptoms and it is impossible to discuss all of these under one heading. However, there are some common features and experiences. Psychiatric and psychological conditions can impair an individual’s ability to think, feel and behave in a manner that is considered “normal” in day-to-day life. Some individuals will experience a single or several one-off episodes (episodic), while others may experience ongoing symptoms. Episodic conditions are most common. Symptoms can range from mild to severe. The majority of psychiatric and psychological conditions are “invisible” and attract a high level of stigma. Consequently, a high number students with psychiatric and psychological conditions choose not to disclose their conditions for fear of being treated differently, labelled, and feared. Information is given on the following

psychotic mental illness

 • non-psychotic mental illness

 • schizophrenia

• bi-polar depression

• major depressive disorders

 • anxiety disorders

Psychotic mental illness

 When acutely psychotic, some individuals lose touch with reality. Their thoughts, feelings and perceptions are significantly affected. They may hear, see, taste or feel (emotionally and perceptually) things that are not experienced by others around them (hallucinations). They may believe they are someone else or have extraordinary powers or insight (delusions). They may experience false and extreme feelings of persecution (paranoia), fear and guilt. Most individuals who are acutely psychotic lack insight into the inappropriateness of their behaviour and will be extremely embarrassed when the psychosis has passed. Most episodes of psychosis are short-lived and are effectively treated with medication. If you suspect that a student is acutely psychotic, or if you are ever faced with an irrational student, it is important to keep calm and not argue or disagree with the student. Contact the campus health centre, campus counsellor or Disability Liaison Office immediately.

 Non-psychotic mental illness

 Many mental illnesses affect feelings and emotions and may significantly affect dayto-day functioning. Most symptoms will not be evident to other people and can include:

 • feelings of extreme stress • feelings of sadness • irrational or exaggerated feelings of fear

Obsessive Compulsive Disorders, anxiety disorders, phobias and some forms of depression are all non-psychotic conditions. Most non-psychotic disorders are treated with medication or counselling or a combination of both. The majority of students with these disorders are able to continue working, studying and lead fully functioning lives.


 Schizophrenia does NOT mean having a split personality. Schizophrenia is a disorder characterised by disorganised thought processes, perceptions and behaviours. It is a broad term incorporating a range of (psychotic) symptoms including:

• delusions

 • hallucinations

 • paranoia

 • disorganised or distorted thought processes

• disorganised speech

 • loss of motivation

 • extreme changes in emotional affect (fluctuations in emotion, e.g. crying at jokes, laughing at serious matters such as a death, or almost total loss of emotion altogether)

 • social withdrawal

• inability to learn new things

 • lack of insight

 Students with schizophrenia can experience episodes of acute psychosis. However, most of the time they will tend to be stable under treatment. Schizophrenia is treated with medication, counselling or a combination of both. Hospitalisation may be required during severe acute psychotic episodes.

Bi-polar depression

Formerly known as “Manic Depression”. Bi-polar depression is a disorder which is characterised by episodes of either mania (“high-highs”) or depression (“low-lows”), often for no apparent reason. Many individuals with this condition will experience long periods of stability, while others may fluctuate regularly. Psychotic symptoms can be apparent at both the manic and depressed stages of the illness. Manic episode symptoms can include:

 • euphoria or frustration

 • decreased need for sleep

 • elevated levels of energy

 • pressure of speech – more talkative than usual

 • “grasshopper” thought processes – thought processes which race from one idea to another

distractibility and attention deficits

 • increased involvement in goal-directed activities

 • excessive involvement in pleasurable activities with a high potential for painful consequences, such as unrestrained buying sprees or taking on unrealistic workloads.

 Depressed episode symptoms can include:

 • increased need for sleep and/or difficulty sleeping

• increase or decrease in appetite

 • weight loss or gain

 • flat emotional affect (not feeling emotions)

 • extreme lack of motivation

• difficulty concentrating and paying attention

 • feelings of hopelessness and despair

 • suicidal thoughts and expression.  As with schizophrenia, students who have bi-polar depression can experience episodes of acute psychosis. However, most of the time they will tend to be stable under treatment. Bi-polar depression is treated with medication, counselling or a combination of both. Hospitalisation may be required during severe acute psychotic episodes.

Aishwarya Says:

I have always been against Glorifying Over Work and therefore, in the year 2021, I have decided to launch this campaign “Balancing Life”and talk about this wrong practice, that we have been following since last few years. I will be talking to and interviewing around 1 lakh people in the coming 2021 and publish their interview regarding their opinion on glamourising Over Work.

If you are interested in participating in the same, do let me know.

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