Millions of individuals around the world suffer from some form of mental illness. While this can be a rather broad field, there are some conditions which are more serious than others. Barring simply feeling “down”, most illnesses are classified by their chronic nature. In other words, they will present themselves for long periods of time and interfere the with life and happiness of the sufferer. So, what are a handful of the most prevalent (and potentially dangerous) and what are their main characteristics?

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Otherwise known by the acronym of OCD, this condition is characterised by persistent and obsessive thoughts which will not go away. These can often revolve around the need to repeat certain tasks to “fulfill” a requirement or compulsive behaviours such as hand washing or the need to remain in an immaculately clean environment.

Bipolar Depression

This is actually different from severe depression, for the individual will “swing” from feelings of mania (such as elation and extreme happiness) to episodes of profound sadness. This is often very confusing and it can be very disruptive to one’s daily life. It is thought that there are chemical roots behind this illness and while medication can help to lessen its symptoms, therapeutic sessions are commonly required as well.

Schizophrenia

Due to the strangeness of the symptoms, schizophrenia is one of the most well-known mental illnesses. Unfortunately, the mechanisms behind this disease are not yet fully known. It is thought that hormones and chemicals within the brain can play a role. Also, stress could have an impact upon the development of schizophrenia within one’s lifetime. Bizarre symptoms such as hallucinations (audio or visual) as well as a detachment from reality are some of the most common. Although specific cases may be mild, others will require hospitalisation to secure adequate treatment.

These are only three of the numerous mental illnesses that are experienced by many sufferers today.