MENTAL HEALTH INFORMATION

Looking for information on a specific mental illness, be it symptoms or stats?Find the facts here.

 
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STRESS

Stress

 

DESCRIPTION (CAUSE, SYMPTOMS, DURATION, ETC)

Stress is the body’s reaction to pressure in its environment. These pressures can range from dangerous situations to comforting a friend to the math homework sitting on the counter. Short-term stress triggers the body’s fight, flight, or freeze response; this occurs even when we know such a response is unnecessary, like nervousness before giving a speech. One may feel dizzy or experience tunnel vision because the blood rushes from the head to the areas needed to run or fight, and they may feel shaky since their muscles tense to meet the perceived threat. According to Harbor Psychiatry & Mental Health, hormones from the adrenal gland will speed up heart and breathing rates, raise blood pressure, and increase metabolism. When stress is longer-term, some symptoms include anxiety, irritability, change in appetite, change in sleep schedule, forgetfulness, loss of concentration, fatigue, indigestion, and headaches.

 
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PHOBIAS

-phobia, -phobic, -phobe

 

DESCRIPTION (CAUSE, SYMPTOMS, DURATION, ETC)

Phobias are a type of anxiety disorder where someone experiences an irrational fear of something of little to no danger to themselves. When one has to face the source of their phobia, they may experience panic, a sporadic heartbeat, shortness of breath, nausea, and a fight, flight, or freeze response.  When it comes to having a phobia, people tend to avoid the source of their fear at all costs.

 

STUDENT VIDEO TESTIMONIES

Sometimes it is easier to talk then type

 

JOSHUA OGAWA

This is my story

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PANIC DISORDER

Panic Disorder (a classification of anxiety disorder)

 

DESCRIPTION (CAUSE, SYMPTOMS, DURATION, ETC)

According to Mayo Clinic, “not everyone who has panic attacks has panic disorder.” The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), published by the American Psychiatric Association, lists the symptoms of Panic Disorder. According to them, this disorder consists of frequent, unexpected panic attacks; at least one attack followed by a month or more of ongoing worry about having another attack; continued fear of the consequences of an attack such as losing control, having a heart attack or "going crazy"; and/or significant changes in behavior, such as avoiding situations that may trigger a panic attack. The aforementioned panic attacks are not caused by drugs or other substance use, a medical condition, or another mental health condition, such as social phobia or obsessive-compulsive disorder. Mayo Clinic also states “if you have panic attacks but not a diagnosed panic disorder, you can still benefit from treatment. If panic attacks aren't treated, they can get worse and develop into Panic Disorder or phobias.” Some symptoms of panic attacks include a sense of impending doom or danger, fear of loss of control or death, rapid or pounding heart rate, sweating, trembling or shaking, shortness of breath or tightness in one’s throat, chills, hot flashes, nausea, abdominal cramping, chest pain, headache, dizziness, lightheadedness or faintness, numbness or a tingling sensation, and a feeling of unreality or detachment.

 
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ANOREXIA

Anorexia, Anorexia Nervosa 

 
 

DESCRIPTION (CAUSE, SYMPTOMS, DURATION, ETC)

Anorexia is an eating disorder that consists of abnormally lower body weight, intense fear of gaining weight, and having a distorted perception of weight. Those with anorexia will try and lose weight in unhealthy ways such as restricting calorie intake, excessive exercise, and the use of laxatives, diet aids or enemas. A person with Anorexia will continue to obsess over their weight and fear weight gain, no matter how much weight they have lost. Those who suffer from Anorexia may have many different motives. Some may feel a need to “perfect” their appearance and believe that that will come by losing weight, some may feel the need to be in control, so may want to start by controlling their weight. Although some may appear extremely underweight, weight can differ for each person, so not everyone with anorexia will appear the same. Those who suffer with anorexia may be in denial of their low body weight and will want to continue to lose more. The physical signs and symptoms of anorexia are similar to those of starvation. The symptoms include extreme weight loss, fatigue, insomnia, dizziness/fainting, discoloration, thin hair, losing menstrual cycles, constipation or abnormal pain, intolerance of cold, dehydration, and low blood pressure. Some emotional symptoms may include refusing to eat or frequently skipping meals, denial of hunger, eating a few “safe” foods, not wanting to eat in public, and social withdrawal. Anorexia at its most severe can be fatal. Complications that come with anorexia may include anemia, heart problems, bone loss, gastrointestinal problems, electrolyte abnormalities, and kidney problems.

STUDENT WRITTEN TESTIMONIES

Sometimes it is easier to type then talk

 

My story is not that different from most people with an eating disorder. My struggle with bulimia and being anorexic fits the dictionary.com definition and similarities between my story and others are to a T. Personally, however, I feel that my journey through my illness is different and extremely personal. My road to recovery has been everything but glamorous and easy but it is something I am extremely proud of. I just turned 16 years old and have dealt with body image issues and body dysmorphia from sixth grade, when I was 11 years old. I would stand in the mirror before school and look over my presence. “Damn your thighs look huge right now”. “Your cheeks are getting bigger every day”. I couldn’t stop myself from letting these degrading thoughts easily slip into my mind. I had an immense number of problems with my appearance but never really took a course of action to change that. A day in ninth grade, however, changed that. I went into Lulu Lemon with a friend from volleyball practice to get new shorts. The sales rep looked at my friend, who was wearing the same clothing I was and said you have the perfect build for volleyball. She then looked me up and down, turned away, and continued to talk to my friend. That day I went home and I made myself throw up. I continued to binge and purge daily. When my throat got sore from throwing up, I turned to limiting my food consumption to less than 600 calories a day. I knew this wasn’t normal but I wanted to be able to look in the mirror again, to be able to wear cute clothes and be comfortable getting in the pool with my friends. So I kept purging and not eating. While I was slowly degrading, I couldn’t find the courage to tell my parents because they were dealing with other issues and didn’t need me to pile on. I felt alone and afraid. This was until I read a reality check article that made me realize it’s okay to ask for help. If you can’t ask your parents, it’s okay to reach out to other adults or even your friends for support. I have been clean from purging for six and a half months now and I nourish my body with the proper nutrients it needs. Don’t get me wrong, I slipped up all the time in the beginning. But, as time went on, I was able to look at myself and realize that my body was beautiful and I didn’t need to be under 120 pounds to be confident in my figure.

Anonymous 2

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BINGE-EATING DISORDER

Binge-Eating

 
 

DESCRIPTION (CAUSE, SYMPTOMS, DURATION, ETC)

Binge-eating disorder is an eating disorder where one frequently consumes and binges unusually large amounts of food, with a feeling of being out of control and unable to stop. While almost everyone overeats on certain occasions, binge-eating disorder is a serious condition where it happens repeatedly without control. Behavioral and emotional symptoms of this include eating even when one feels full, feeling out of control of one’s eating habits, eating rapidly while bingeing, eating alone or in secret, feeling disgusted and ashamed about one’s eating, and frequently dieting. Unlike bulimia, one with a binge-eating disorder will not try to get rid of the calories they consumed after binging, but rather may try to diet to restrict calorie consumption after. After feeling like they lost control after their binge, they may want to regain back that control and attempt to restrict their calories. However, restricting may lead to a bigger binge later on. Binge eating disorder can cause those who suffer from it to cause significant distress and feel out of control with their habits.

Disclaimer

Cats to Cats is a peer-to-peer organization. The students on staff are not qualified to give advice or assist directly with any of the mental health issues presented. All informational and educational content is from widely-accepted sources and the testimonies of individuals featured and interviewed. More information on any of the sources or individuals can be found on this page or on our website. The information cited does not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or policies of the Cats to Cats Team or Los Gatos High School. 

Students can seek on-campus professional help from our contracted mental health provider CASSY, or view our Cats to Cats Therapy Information page for information on outside organizations. In addition, crisis hotlines are listed on our website.

In addition, if we receive any information involving potential or real harm to self or others, we are legally required to report the incident, which can lead to potential intervention by school or other authorities. The person who contacted us and/or the person's parents will be contacted to verify that the student's parents are aware of the situation and/or that the student is under the care of a professional.

In case of a criminal report, or when in doubt, please contact WeTip at 1-800-78-crime. WeTip receives anonymous and confidential reports and follows up with potential crimes. We encourage all students to be upstanders instead of bystanders when they witness or are the victims of wrongdoing.

 

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