In order to determine whether you or someone you are worried about suffers from a mental disorder or illness, or whether your observations are 'only' signs of coping with a difficult phase in life, you have to know the symptoms of such illnesses or disorders.
Mood swings or unusual behaviour, which some might see as 'acting strange', for instance, are not always indicative of serious illness. On these pages, you will find information on mental illnesses in general and find out when you should seek professional help.
A general note: Crises are a part of life, and can in fact be necessary, because they motivate you to reassess your life goals or professional aims and make the changes you need. It is better to accept a crisis and work through it, rather than try to block it out.
Many students who come to our counselling centre are unsure what exactly they are suffering from. For example, they complain about occasional insomnia or bouts of anxiety and therefore believe they suffer from a mental illness. A consultation with the Psychological Counselling Service ('Psychologisch-Psychotherapeutische Beratungsstelle') can help you find out whether you are experiencing a disorder or illness, and if so, which one. It can also be the first step in treating such illnesses or disorders.
Please read on to learn about some common disorders and to find out where the boundaries lie between temporary difficulties due to emotional strain brought on by life events, and serious illness.