Bipolar disorder is also known as “manic depression”. This is where the person may have periods of feeling extremely low, showing the symptoms mentioned above, but then they may also show signs of mania on other days, where they display excessively high moods. These moods are not necessarily positive behaviour, such as extensive gambling, spending uncontrollably or even having multiple sexual partners.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is also known as “winter depression”.  This is where the sufferer usually develops depression in the winter months.

Eating disorders

Eating disorders are shown via the abnormal relationship someone may have with food.  A person with an eating disorder may be excessively focussed on their body shape and appearance.

There are three main types of eating disorders:

  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • Bulimia
  • Binge eating

Anorexia nervosa is when someone tries to keep their weight as low as possible.  They may describe themselves as being overweight, even though evidently, they are very thin.  They may skip meals, diet excessively or exercise too often.

Bulimia is when someone binge eats (eats excessively) followed by  deliberately making themselves sick.  they may also use laxatives to get rig of the excessive food they have eaten.

Binge eating is when someone feels compelled to overeat uncontrollably.

It is often claimed that both biological and social factors can influence the development of eating disorders. Doctors sometimes the following questions to check for an eating disorder.

  • Do you ever make yourself sick because you feel uncomfortably full?
  • Do you worry you have lost control over how much you eat?
  • Have you recently lost more than one stone (six kilograms) in a three-month period?
  • Do you believe yourself to be fat when others say you are too thin?
  • Would you say that food dominates your life?

If “yes” is answered to two or more of these questions, it may be that someone has an eating disorder.

It is often difficult to recognise someone with an eating disorder, as they hide their symptoms quite well. However, the following are some symptoms:

  • Missing meals often/claiming they’ve eaten
  • Feeling fat, though they have a normal weight or are underweight
  • Repeatedly weighing themselves and looking at themselves in the mirror
  • Eating little amounts
  • Excessive calorie counting/eating very low calorific foods (such as salads)
  • Feeling uncomfortable or refusing to eat in public places, such as a restaurant
  • The use of “pro-anorexia” websites

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Individuals with this disorder exhibit a lack of ability to empathize with others and an inflated sense of self-importance.

Definition

The hallmarks of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) are grandiosity, a lack of empathy for other people, and a need for admiration. People with this condition are frequently described as arrogant, self-centered, manipulative, and demanding. They may also concentrate on grandiose fantasies (e.g. their own success, beauty, brilliance) and may be convinced that they deserve special treatment. These characteristics typically begin in early adulthood and must be consistently evident in multiple contexts, such as at work and in relationships.

People with narcissistic personality disorder believe they are superior or special, and often try to associate with other people they believe are unique or gifted in some way. This association enhances their self-esteem, which is typically quite fragile underneath the surface. Individuals with NPD seek excessive admiration and attention in order to know that others think highly of them. Individuals with narcissistic personality disorder have difficulty tolerating criticism or defeat, and may be left feeling humiliated or empty when they experience an “injury” in the form of criticism or rejection.

Symptoms

Narcissistic personality disorder is indicated by five or more of the following symptoms:

  • Exaggerates own importance
  • Is preoccupied with fantasies of success, power, beauty, intelligence or ideal romance
  • Believes he or she is special and can only be understood by other special people or institutions
  • Requires constant attention and admiration from others
  • Has unreasonable expectations of favorable treatment
  • Takes advantage of others to reach his or her own goals
  • Disregards the feelings of others, lacks empathy
  • Is often envious of others or believes other people are envious of him or her
  • Shows arrogant behaviors and attitudes

Causes

Causes of narcissistic personality disorder are not yet well-understood. Genetic and biological factors as well as environment and early life experiences are all thought to play a role in the development of this condition.