About Mental Illness

Mental illness does not discriminate.

It affects individuals of all ages, races and economic levels. 

Mental illness affects one in five people (over 200,000 Nova Scotians) and includes the following:

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ADHD +
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a disorder in which there are significant problems of attention, hyperactivity, or acting impulsively that are not appropriate for a person's age.
Alcohol and Substance Abuse +
Alcohol and Substance Abuse (also known as drug abuse) is a patterned use of a substance in which the user consumes the substance in amounts or with methods which are harmful to themselves or others. Substance abuse might start out as a bad habit but when and if addiction develops it manifests as a chronic debilitating disease.
Alzheimer's Disease +
Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia. There is no cure for the disease, which worsens as it progresses, and eventually leads to death. Most often, this disease is diagnosed in people over 65 years of age. Early symptoms are often mistakenly thought to be 'age-related' concerns, or manifestations of stress.
Anxiety +
Anxiety is a feeling of fear, worry, and uneasiness, usually generalized and unfocused as an overreaction to a situation that is only subjectively seen as menacing. It is often accompanied by muscular tension, restlessness, fatigue, and problems in concentration. Anxiety is not the same as fear, which is a response to a real or perceived immediate threat.
Autism +
Autism is a disorder of neural development characterized by impaired social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication, and by restricted and repetitive behavior. Another disorder in the autism spectrum is Asperger syndrome, which lacks delays in cognitive development and language.
Bipolar Disorder +
Bipolar disorder, also known as bipolar affective disorder (and originally called manic-depressive illness), is a mental disorder characterized by periods of elevated mood and periods of depression. The risk of suicide among those with the disorder is high. Other mental health issues such as anxiety disorder and drug misuse are commonly associated.
Dementia +
Dementia refers to a broad category of brain diseases that cause long term loss of the ability to think and reason clearly that is severe enough to affect a person's daily functioning. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer's disease. Dementia becomes more common with age and there is no cure.
Depression +
Depression is a state of low mood and aversion to activity that can affect a person's thoughts, behavior, feelings and sense of well-being. Depressed people may lose interest in activities that were once pleasurable, experience loss of appetite or overeating, have problems concentrating, remembering details or making decisions, and may contemplate, attempt or commit suicide. Depressed mood is not always a psychiatric disorder. It may be a normal reaction to certain life events or a symptom or side effect of some drugs or medical treatments.
Eating Disorders+
Eating disorders are psychological illnesses defined by abnormal eating habits that may involve either insufficient or excessive food intake to the detriment of an individual's physical and mental health. Bulimia nervosa, an unhealthy cycling of binging and purging food and anorexia nervosa, self-starvation, are the most common specific forms of eating disorders.
Gender Identity Disorder +
Gender identity disorder (GID) or gender dysphoria is the formal diagnosis used by psychologists and physicians to describe people who experience significant dysphoria (discontent) with the sex they were assigned at birth and/or the gender roles associated with that sex.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder +
Obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder characterized by intrusive thoughts that produce uneasiness, apprehension, fear or worry (obsessions), repetitive behaviors aimed at reducing the associated anxiety (compulsions), or a combination of such obsessions and compulsions. Symptoms include excessive washing or cleaning, repeated checking, extreme hoarding, preoccupation with sexual, violent or religious thoughts, or relationship-related obsessions.
Panic Disorder +
Panic disorder is an anxiety disorder characterized by recurring panic attacks. It may also include significant behavioral changes. Whereas anxiety is preceded by chronic stressors which build to reactions of moderate intensity that can last for days, weeks or months, panic attacks are acute events triggered by a sudden, out-of-the-blue cause: duration is short and symptoms are more intense.
Personality Disorders +
Personality disorders are a class of mental disorders characterized by enduring maladaptive patterns of behavior regardless of context and culture. These patterns develop early, are inflexible and are associated with significant distress or disability. Common forms of personality disorder are paranoia, narcissism, sadism, passive-aggression and psychopathy.
PTSD+
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) involves exposure to a traumatic event involving death or the threat of death, serious injury, or sexual violence. Many people have vivid nightmares, flashbacks, or intrustive thoughts regarding the event. Symptoms include but are not limited to panic, sleep difficulties, night terrors, irritability, anger management issues, and thoughts of suicide. Such symptoms often lead to avoidance and isolation.
Schizophrenia +
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder often characterized by abnormal social behavior and failure to recognize what is real. Common symptoms include false beliefs, unclear or confused thinking, auditory hallucinations, reduced social engagement and emotional expression, and inactivity.

Many people avoid seeking treatment in order to avoid being labelled unreliable, unproductive, untrustworthy. However, things are changing. Every day we work to eradicate stigma and improve mental health for all.  

Learn more about mental illness and mental health through the wide variety of CTV Atlantic Mental Health Minutes.

If you need help, please reach out.