We understand that deciding to seek support for your mental health can be daunting and with so much information out there, it's difficult to understand why you may need support.

At NCS we are committed to #DebunkingMentalHealth so we have put together a library of short, simple explanations about some of the mental health conditions that we can help you with, through the client/therapist relationship.

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If you are looking for additional resources, we recommend: BACP, Mind and the Mental Health Foundation where you will find well researched information on their websites.

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Anxiety is common in today’s society and is a natural human response to situations we feel worried, fearful or afraid of.  It can be experienced as mental illness or as a response to a stressful event or period in your life.  It may cause feelings of unease and worry and can often be experienced alongside symptoms like changes to thought patterns and behaviours including:

  • Sleep issues
  • Feelings of dread
  • Irritability
  • Inability to concentrate

Physical symptoms may be experienced such as:

  • Palpitations
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Headache

If your Anxiety is ongoing and starts to affect your daily life, you may need support.  There are many types of anxiety disorder and medical diagnosis can help to pinpoint the type you are experiencing. 


Everyone experiences anger and this is a completely normal emotion to have.  But, if it starts to escalate and have an adverse effect on relationships with family, friends and colleagues and starts to create problems, then support may be needed to manage it.

Often, those who experience ‘Anger’ issues have trouble expressing how they feel, and this can lead to suppression which may lead to other issues such as self-harm and eating disorders.

Anger issues may prevent you from thinking clearly, could make you aggressive, act impulsively, and sometimes display violence towards other people.


There are two types of Attention Deficit Disorder. 

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) - with hyperactivity and Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) - without hyperactivity.  Whilst ADD and ADHD are not mental health conditions themselves, those diagnosed with either can be more prone to Mental Health conditions.  The symptoms shown by people with these disorders can often mean that clients are initially misdiagnosed with a mental health condition such as depression, anxiety or OCD

Both disorders usually start in childhood but can continue into adulthood.  They can show with a number of symptoms that can include:

  • Impatience
  • Lack of focus in school
  • Lack of attention to detail
  • Easily distracted
  • Overactive and/or display impulsive behaviour
  • Difficulty paying attention

Each person can experience a disorder differently and the cause not fully known but genetics and brain function are thought to contribute.

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Bereavement is the feeling of loss and grief following the death or loss of someone we loved or cared about.

Whilst it can show as a whole range of different emotions such as anger, guilt, sadness, loneliness and anxiety, there is no exact way to experience it, we are each unique in our process.

Working with a therapist who specialises in Bereavement therapy will help you process your feelings and help move you move forward, through any of the grief stages you may experience, and on to acceptance..


Bipolar disorder is an issue that mainly affects one’s mood.  Symptoms can include manic episodes and/or depressive episodes, as well as psychotic symptoms.  Each person experiences their own, unique version of the disorder.

Depressive episodes can include feelings of sadness and hopelessness, a lack of energy, a lack of appetite and difficulty concentrating. Feelings of emptiness and helplessness may occur, as well as a difficulty with sleeping and possibly hallucinations or illogical thoughts.

Manic episodes can include feelings of bursting with energy, self-importance, becoming easily distracted or irritated.  A lack of appetite and an ability to sleep may occur alongside hallucinations and illogical thoughts.


Body Dysmorphic Disorder is a body related anxiety disorder. Those who suffer often experience obsessive worries about perceived flaws that others do not see (or are very slight). These thoughts may develop compulsive behaviours and routines to deal with these worries.

The obsessions and behaviours may cause emotional distress and could have a big impact on daily life, work life and relationships.  It is a disorder that is very similar to OCD and each case is unique.

As well as symptoms such as anxiety and intrusive thoughts, BDD can present as skin picking, obsessive and often extreme daily routines and could cause feelings of shame and guilt, depression, isolation, self-harm or suicidal thoughts.

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Depression is a long-term low mood that affects day-to-day life. There are different types of depression and they can be brought on for different reasons.

Throughout our lives we will often experience low mood but it will not affect our daily lives.  When low mood extends beyond a couple of weeks and begins to impact work and relationships, this could be a sign of depression.

The symptoms of depression include feelings that don’t go away like sadness and tiredness, loss of self-confidence, anxiety, sleep issues, low appetite and sex drive, physical aches and pains and feelings of helplessness.  The symptoms will vary from person to person and in strength.


Dementia is a condition that causes loss of memory and problems with thinking and concentration.  It is caused when brain cells naturally die or there is damage to the brain by trauma like a head injury, tumour or lack of oxygen. It affects the areas of the brain that control thought processes.

People living with Dementia can experience confusion, depression, disturbed sleep patterns and may experience aggression.  There are different types of Dementia, including Alzheimer's.  In some types of dementia, symptoms can get worse over time and some do not and therefore a medical diagnosis is important to establish the type of treatment needed. 

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There are many types of eating disorders, the most well-known are Anorexia and Bulimia. Eating disorders are usually not simply about food.  They are complex and the focus on food can be a way for the sufferer to deal with an underlying issue. 

Some eating disorders can show themselves physically as well as mentally, through severe weight-loss and hair/tooth issues but some of them do not manifest physically.  If you are suffering with this, you may feel a loss of control, depressed and anxious, exhausted, reactive and sensitive to comments about food, experience feelings of shame and guilt about eating.

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Hypomania is a condition that can affect daily life through episodes of over-activity and excited behaviour. It can last for a few days and is often experienced alongside other mental health conditions like Bipolar or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). 

A person experiencing Hypomania may feel over-excited, full of energy or anxious and easily irritated and behaviour may become more extreme. They may be more active than usual, talk very quickly, sleep less and lose inhibitions.  Once the episode is over, they will likely feel low and ashamed, feel very tired and not have much memory of what happened during the episode. 

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Loneliness affects most people at some time in their lives. It can affect anyone.  Loneliness itself isn't a mental health disorder but it can be the starting point for a mental health issue such as depression, social anxiety and stress. 

Loneliness can be caused by an event in your life or because of a change in circumstances such as retirement or loss that change your social situation and leads to feelings of isolation.

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Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a combination of obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviour.  The obsessions are unpleasant or unhelpful thoughts, and the compulsions are actions to correct the obsessive thought.  It is normal to have occasional obsessions like worrying a door has been left unlocked, but with OCD, the thoughts and actions become repetitive and start to impact on daily life.

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A panic attack creates feelings of intense fear and can cause physical symptoms like fast breathing, sweating, feeling sick and dizzy, and being either very hot or very cold.   It's a response to fear and is a magnified version of the normal response to fear.  Most people will experience a panic attack in their lives and they can be caused by stress.  However, if repeated panic attacks are experienced the person may be suffering from a type of anxiety or panic disorder.


Paranoia is a feeling or thought of being under threat in some way, without reason or evidence to support the feeling.  It can cause the sufferer to feel people are talking about them or people are trying to steal from them and other intrusive or suspicious thoughts.  It is possible to feel like this all the time or it can be as a result of stressful situations.  Paranoia affects everyone differently from mild suspicious thoughts to extreme delusions and is a symptom of other mental health issues, such as paranoid schizophrenia, delusional disorder or paranoid personality disorder.


Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder.  Being pregnant can trigger Perinatal OCD which can happen during pregnancy or in the first year after birth. Obsessions are normal unpleasant or unhelpful thoughts and compulsions are actions that make the obsession 'right'.

Perinatal OCD means these obsessions and compulsions are related to your child and start to affect your daily life.  An example of the kinds of obsessions related to perinatal OCD are thoughts about hurting or abusing your child and the compulsions will be an action to counteract those obsessive thoughts.


Maternity related depression can happen either during pregnancy (Ante Natal) or in the first year after birth (Post Natal). Some women can experience both and this is called Peri Natal depression. They may have low mood and self-esteem, critical thoughts, poor sleep patterns, feel hostility towards their partner or child, or both and may feel empty and numb.  It is completely normal to feel some or all of these feelings during and after pregnancy but if it doesn't go away, they may be suffering with one of the maternal related depressions.


Post-Partum Psychosis is a combination of depression, mania and psychosis and is a serious mental health condition experienced after birth, by some women.  The emotions you may feel can be confusing, ranging from severe depression, fast mood changes and feeling excited, to feeling confused or disoriented.   As well as these feelings you may struggle to sleep, suffer from strong delusions and hallucinations and be unable to concentrate. If you see, hear, smell, taste or feel things that don't exist in the real world, this is an Hallucination.  Delusion is an inability to distinguish between false & real.


Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a type of anxiety that can develop after experiencing a traumatic event or events. There are a number of types of PTSD which will manifest differently in each individual. Symptoms can include re-living the traumatic experience through flashbacks and nightmares and panic attacks distress and insomnia.  It was first recognised in veterans of war, but is not limited to soldiers and can originate from a wide range of traumatic experiences.


Psychosis is a symptom of mental health conditions rather than a mental health diagnosis itself.  It can be experienced as part of extreme depression, bipolar or delusional disorder & schizophrenia, amongst others.   Psychosis is when a person interprets the world and reality differently from others and is often accompanied by delusion and hallucination. Hallucinations are when you see, hear, smell, taste or feel things that don't exist in the real world.  Delusion is an inability to distinguish between false & real. Some people live with psychosis and others can experience one or more psychotic episodes during their lives. Psychosis can cause feelings of exhaustion, feel overwhelmed and with an inability to trust certain people or organisations. It can feel hurtful when others struggle to understand or believe the delusions or alternate reality.  

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Each case of Schizophrenia is unique but it's usually diagnosed if a combination of symptoms are experienced.  Those symptoms range from difficulty concentrating due to delusions and hallucinations such as paranoia about people talking about you or hearing voices, a feeling of wanting to avoid other people and not wanting to look after yourself.   Schizophrenia can stop you from being able to continue with your daily life in a safe way and you might feel worried to seek help.


Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression but it's a depression that is limited to a particular time of year/period.  Those suffering with SAD may find that sleeping patterns change and mood is affected, during certain seasons.  It's not limited to winter although this is the most common period that people experience it.

Symptoms experienced can include irritability, low self esteem


Self-Harm is a way of hurting yourself in order to deal with upsetting or difficult thoughts and feelings.  It is often used as a form of expression in circumstances where it is difficult to communicate or deal with the pain and hurt or as a punishment for thoughts or feelings. Self-harming will likely provide a very short lived relief from the reason but that reason won't go away.  You may feel guilt and shame after self-harming, pushing you into a continuous cycle of self-harm, relief and guilt.  There are many ways to self-harm and often, without intervention, the method can evolve over time potentially becoming life threatening.


Stress is a response from the body to situational pressures or events. Some stress can be helpful, for example in dangerous situations where the body to activate the fight or flight response.  However, when the body is subjected to continual stress, it can show itself physically through feelings of exhaustion and headaches. It can cause sleep issues and a lack of motivation to take care of ourselves, particularly through diet. Everyone's stress triggers are unique with emotional resilience playing a big role, but some common triggers include low self-esteem, the work environment, family worries, bereavement or anticipation of a future event.


Suicide is the act taking of your own life.  There is no simple explanation of why people are driven to suicide but there will likely be a number of complex reasons, including but not limited to mental health, cultural and societal pressures and problems.  If you are considering suicide or close to considering suicide, please know you are not alone.  Seek support from family or friends, or a crisis support group such as:

  • Samaritans  call 116 123
  • Papyrus – call 0800 068 41 41
  • Shout UK – text 85258 


Abuse doesn't have to be purely physical; it might also include being spoken to in a sexual manner, made to look at images or it could be being made to watch explicit sexual activities.  The impact of sexual abuse in childhood can continue into adulthood and it is common to be diagnosed with mental health conditions such as depression & anxiety amongst many others.  Childhood sexual abuse is a complex trauma and can cause long-term emotional distress.  Victims may find it difficult to trust and have meaningful relationships as adults.

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Trauma refers to a situation or event that is distressing or frightening and leaves us with either with psychological or emotional damage.  That trauma may be from the event itself and its lasting effects.  Trauma is a very personal experience and what may be traumatic to you may not be traumatic to someone else. It is not a mental health issue in itself and is generally classed as something that leaves you feeling frightened, humiliated, abandoned or trapped.  Other feelings may be that of feeling unsafe, ashamed and powerless.  If you experience trauma with lasting effects, it could directly trigger a mental health problem such as PTSD.

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