HealthONE - August 02, 2019

About 44 million people in the U.S. 18 years and older have a diagnosable emotional disorder. One in every five Coloradans faces a mental health or substance use issue in their lifetime.

Here are some of the most common diagnoses family and friends may be dealing with in their lives.


The Mayo Clinic describes depression as ranging in seriousness from mild temporary episodes of sadness to the severe and persistent clinical form of the disorder. It isn't the same as depression caused by a loss, such as the death of a family member, or a medical condition, such as a thyroid disorder.

Symptoms include:

  • Feeling anxious or irritable
  • Continually feeling sad
  • Lack of interest in things that previously brought happiness
  • Not able to perform the normal daily activities, that may include getting dressed or going to work
  • Suicidal thoughts

Bipolar Disorder

The National Institute of Mental Health classifies bipolar disorder as a brain issue that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. There are four basic types of bipolar; all of them involve clear changes in mood, energy and activity levels. These moods range from periods of extremely "up," elated and energized behavior (known as manic episodes) to very sad, "down," or hopeless periods. (known as depressive episodes) Less severe manic periods are known as hypomanic episodes. Onset is usually from late adolescence to early adulthood.

Symptoms include:

  • Very unpredictable mood swings that can go from extremely low to extremely high
  • Excessive happiness, being restless, and having a lot of energy
  • Fast speech
  • Very reckless thoughts and/or behavior (this can include high-risk sexual activities or impulsive spending)


Occasional anxiety is a part of life. The National Institute of Mental health states anxiety disorders involve more than temporary worry or fear. The anxiety does not go away. It can get worse over time. Anxiety disorders include: generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorders and various phobias.

Generalized anxiety symptoms include:

  • Feeling restless, wound-up or on edge
  • Getting tired easily
  • Difficulty concentrating, mind can go blank
  • Being irritable
  • Having muscle tension
  • Difficulty controlling feelings of worry
  • Having sleep problems

Panic disorders symptoms include:

  • Heart palpitations, pounding heartbeat
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Shortness of breath or sensations like choking
  • Feelings of impending doom
  • Feelings of being out of control

Phobia symptoms include:

  • Irrational or excessive worry about encountering the feared object or situation
  • Take active steps to avoid the feared object or situation
  • Experience intense anxiety upon encountering the feared object or situation
  • Endure unavoidable objects and situation with intense anxiety
  • With all of these conditions, extreme feelings, will affect our ability to function in daily activities.

"Most mental health conditions are treated with medications, therapy, or a combination of the two," says HealthONE Behavioral Health Center psychiatrist, Dr. Erin Smith. "In general psychiatric medications are well tolerated and effective at reducing symptoms to a degree where life becomes more manageable."

Smith adds: "It is important for a patient's support system to recognize that mental illness is like any other medical illness. It is not the patient's fault, and it often requires treatment for him/her to feel better. Being a non-judgmental ally is the best thing you can do."

If you or someone you know needs help, we have a 24-hour walk in center at our hospital at 700 Potomac Street in Aurora. Or you can call the HealthONE assessment team at: (844) 556-2012.