Conditions Explained

This page provides examples of some of the most common forms of mental health issues, giving details of their symptoms and information on the most effective forms of psychiatric treatment.

Dr Gary Jackson has close links with highly trained therapists of all kinds who assist him in providing the appropriate treatments for his patients. Dr Jackson endeavours to ensure any therapist included in the treatment of his patients is approved by the patient’s private health insurer.

Dr Gary Jackson specialises in the private assessment and treatment of a wide range of adult mental health issues. To make an appointment please see your GP for a referral or alternatively telephone 01245 244717

On this page you will find information about:



 

Depression

depression

Typical symptoms of depression include:

  • Low mood much of the time (often worst in the morning)
  • Poor sleep
  • Disturbed appetite
  • Poor concentration and memory
  • Lack of motivation and drive
  • Loss of interest in pleasurable activities
  • Reduced confidence and self esteem

The symptoms need to be present most of the time for two weeks or longer to warrant treatment.

Treatment for Depression

Mild or moderate depression may respond well to cognitive behavioural therapy or other appropriate psychotherapy. Monitoring by the psychiatrist is desirable.

Antidepressant drugs may help in moderate to severe depression cases. Drugs can take a few weeks to begin working and if effective, the course of treatment usually lasts for around six months. Those suffering with recurring severe depression may benefit from longer term drug treatment.

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OCD

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is an anxiety disorder and occurs in about 2 to 3 % of the general population. It can be inherited. It involves thoughts, impulses or pictures in the minds eye, that the person finds very upsetting, against their nature but which keep coming back despite the persons efforts to banish them. OCD can also or alternatively, involve actions the person feels he/she needs to undertake, which he knows are silly and illogical, but which he must do otherwise he would feel intolerably anxious. Compulsive hand washing or checking fall into this category.

OCD is treated with cognitive behavioural therapy and/or medication. The medications used are non addictive or dangerous in any way. Treatment is usually undertaken on an outpatient basis with weekly therapy and Consultant reviews as required. Outcomes are usually good with the majority of patients gaining mastery over the symptoms even if the symptoms are not altogether got rid of.

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Self Esteem, Confidence and Assertiveness Problems

selfesteem

Many of us struggle with problems in these areas. These are not necessarily psychiatric conditions but can significantly impair coping capacity and enjoyment of life and lend vulnerability to anxiety and depression developing. The usual treatment is cognitive behavioural therapy, delivered in a group (skills development courses) environment or 1:1, depending on the patients preference. Outcomes are usually very good and make a substantial different to the individuals quality of life. If there are concurrent anxiety or depressive symptoms, medication may be recommended.

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Addictions

Certain substances are inherently addictive. These include cigarettes, alcohol, benzodiazepines (like valium), morphine like painkillers (including neurofen plus and codeine containing compounds). If they are used enough, the body develops tolerance of them and higher and higher doses are needed to get the original effect. If the body is then starved of the substance, it goes through withdrawal symptoms, which differ according to the substance addicted to and which can be mild or severe and even dangerous. For example sudden withdrawal from heavy consistent alcohol use can lead to seizures.

We treat addictions by working out the best withdrawal strategy, using medications if necessary to achieve a safe and comfortable withdrawal and then provide as much psychological therapy as is required to help the patient stay abstinent from that substance for the future. Therapy can be undertaken on an out patient basis or as an inpatient. Inpatient treatment is usually required when a problematic detox is anticipated and if the patient is going to need intensive therapy and support.

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Anxiety Disorders and Phobias

anxious man

Anxiety can be general or more specific. Generalised anxiety symptoms can involve feeling ‘on edge’ and unable to relax, worrying a lot, sweats, tremors, palpitations, mild low mood and fear of the future. These anxiety symptoms are present much of the time for long periods.

More specific forms of anxiety include, for example, panics and phobias. A common specific form of anxiety is agoraphobia. In this condition, the sufferer is fearful of having a panic attack somewhere where they would not feel safe, mostly somewhere away from home. The fear may be that the sufferer could have a heart attack, stroke or just collapse or make a fool of themselves. The individual begins to avoid going to places they fear might bring on such a panic.

Treatment for Anxiety

The psychiatric treatment of generalised anxiety and more specific anxiety mostly relies on cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), although drug treatments can be helpful in some cases.

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Bipolar Disorder

bipolar

Bipolar Disorder is much less common than depression and occurs in about 2% of the population. It can run in families. It involves the occurrence of two types of abnormal mood states – depression (see description of depression elsewhere on this page) and mania/hypomania, a mood state in which the individual has some of the following symptoms - high in mood or irritable or both, is over energetic with sleep disturbance, acting out of character, risk taking, over spending, sexually more active and these symptoms may be interspersed with depressive symptoms.

Bipolar disorder usually requires treatment with medications (mostly what are known as mood stabilizer drugs) and cognitive behavioural therapy to help the individual recognise the mood disorder symptoms and signs and manage the mood more effectively and take actions to avoid substantial mood swings. Therapy is usually delivered 1:1 on an outpatient basis. Severely ill people will need hospitalisation initially.

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ADHD

This is a disorder of childhood which usually remits spontaneously in late childhood but can continue into adulthood. It is characterized by difficulty concentrating for extended periods, difficulty sitting still, difficulty paying attention to details and completing tasks, fidgeting, forgetfulness, poor organisation and impulsiveness. This disorder can cause severe impairment in education and work. It requires therapy to help the individual and those around him, manage the symptoms better. Medication is available and can be very effective.

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Eating Disorders

tape measure

Anorexia Nervosa is characterised by substantial or rapid excessive loss of weight through restriction of food intake. In women, this is often accompanied by loss of menstruation, a distorted image of one’s own body shape and size, a desire to be thinner and resistance to putting on weight. Bulimia Nervosa may share some of these features though low weight is not always a feature and bingeing and purging (inducing vomiting, using laxatives, or both) may be.

Treatment for Eating Disorders

The treatment for anorexia and bulimia usually involves blood tests, setting targets for weight adjustment, setting meal plans to achieve those targets, and medical monitoring until a medically safe weight is maintained. Guidance from a dietician and nutritionist on meal plans and regular weighing also plays a vital role, as does counselling to support and help the patient work through any life difficulties they may have. Sometimes medication also forms part of the eating disorder treatment, for example there are drugs that can reduce the desire to binge.

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Aspergers Syndrome / Autism

These conditions which share similarities, occur in childhood and involve difficulties developing and maintaining social relationships, understanding other people’s perspectives, not wanting closeness, awkwardness, not understanding social rules, not being interested in other peoples views, odd communication (verbal) style, impaired communication, few normal type gestures as part of communication and interests which are narrow such as collecting things or remembering facts.

These conditions require specialist psychological treatments and sometimes, though infrequently, medications.

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