Depression is a common mental disorder which is characterised by the presence of sadness, a loss of interest or pleasure, feelings of guilt or low self-esteem, sleep or eating disorders, a feeling of tiredness and lack of concentration. Depression can become chronic or recurrent and significantly impair performance at work or school, as well as the ability to face daily life. In its most serious form, it can lead to suicide.
Schizophrenia is a serious mental disorder which affects more than 21 million people throughout the world. It is characterised by distortions in thought, perceptions, emotions, language, sense of self and behaviour. Some of the most common experiences include hearing voices and delirium. Schizophrenia is associated with considerable disability and may affect educational and occupational performance. People with schizophrenia are 2 to 2.5 times more likely to die at a young age.
Bipolar disorder, or manic depressive disorder, is a mental illness which is characterised by the alternation of depressive and euphoric (mania) phases, and tends to become chronic. When a patient goes from one phase to another, they are said to be in a mood swing. Episodes may also be precipitated by medication, weather changes, social disruption, etc. Bipolar disorder affects men and women equally, unlike depression, which is more common among women. The illness usually manifests for the first time between the ages of 10 and 24.