Mental Health ADD/ADHD Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental health disorder most commonly diagnosed in children. Adults can also have this disorder. People with ADD/ADHD often find it difficult to focus, pay attention to detail or stay organized. Their heightened activity levels (hyperactivity) and sometimes tendency to behave impulsively make it difficult to operate in normal social situations such as classrooms or offices. ADD/ADHD treatment is often a combination of medication and individualized therapy to help people monitor their behavior and learn the appropriate ways to behave in everyday situations (especially in children with the disorder). Anxiety Disorders People with anxiety often experience fear in response to specific objects or situations, so much so that it negatively impacts their daily life. Anxiety disorders are typically diagnosed when a person’s reaction to a circumstance is considered abnormal for that situation or they cannot control their response. Physical symptoms like panic attacks are common, and can make it difficult to function in normal society. Treatment programs often include both therapy and medication to help people cope with their extreme fears and avoidance behaviors. Bipolar Disorder Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder in which sufferers experience alternating periods of mania (feeling “high” or “wired”) and depression (low mood, low energy and motivation). Depending on the type of bipolar disorder, a person might experience manic episodes severe enough that they must be hospitalized. Switching between extreme mood changes can affect someone’s daily life to the point where they cannot keep a job or take care of themselves. A mental health evaluation performed by a health professional is often the first step toward beginning treatment. Depression Depression is also a mood disorder. Unlike bipolar disorder, depression is characterized by feelings of hopelessness, persistent sadness or “emptiness,” decreased energy or fatigue, difficulty concentrating and/or thoughts of death or suicide. There are no periods of mania as there are in cases of bipolar disorder. Symptoms last two weeks or more. Individualized treatment, including therapy and medication, is often used to treat depression. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a type of anxiety disorder characterized by thoughts that a person can only deal with by performing certain behaviors. Their fears may be rational, but their responses to those fears are not. Someone with OCD might be afraid of a home invasion, so they spend more time than necessary making sure all their doors and windows are locked at night – often checking again and again “just to make sure.” Their thoughts – obsessions – are often recurring, as are their responsive behaviors or rituals – compulsions. People with OCD often require treatment to cope with their life-altering anxieties. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that often develops after a traumatic event such as an accident or assault. People with PTSD experience avoidance behaviors – staying away from the places or people associated with the traumatic event – and often must deal with terrifying memories of the event, including nightmares and, in extreme cases, flashbacks. There are often problems with mood, as someone with PTSD may experience negative emotions such as anger or guilt as a result of experiencing or witnessing trauma. Treatment for PTSD is a combination of therapy and medication to help relieve symptoms and come to terms with past trauma and its effects.