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The science behind the most common mental illnesses that affect young people - why they develop, what's going on inside our bodies and what we can do to treat them.

Anxiety, a small bout of depression or an obsessional thought - all of us can have these feelings at some time but what if these persist and take over our life? In the UK, one in four people will suffer from some form of mental health problem every year. What causes it differs for every one of us: our genes, lifestyle or events from the past can all play a part. But whatever the trigger, mental illness can happen to anyone, at any time.

Using computer graphics to travel inside the body, this film explores the science behind mental illness. We'll discover the social, biological and psychological changes that happen to five people suffering from different mental health disorders and unravel the treatments that are helping them overcome their conditions.

We meet Wayne, a 24-year-old who 10 years ago was diagnosed with Social Anxiety Disorder and lives in fear he'll suffer incontinence whenever he goes out. As we hear from his psychiatrist we discover how the body reacts to certain stimuli and why in some, these mechanisms overreact. One in 20 adults in the UK suffer from some kind of an anxiety disorder.

We follow Ross, a 27-year-old diagnosed with schizophrenia - a mental illness that affects feelings, thinking and behaviour. He shows us videos and excerpts from his diary that he recorded during a manic period of his life. We also hear from his father how mental illness affects not just the sufferer but their family too.

We also meet Ffion, a 23-year-old living with anorexia nervosa. She is trying to gain enough weight to be healthy enough to go university. We observe her participation in a cutting edge research project which uses TMS - magnetic brain stimulation to try and alter her perception of food.

We also delve into the science behind OCD and bipolar disorder and hear from young people who are suffering from these illnesses and trying hard to overcome them.

1 hour

Last on

Wed 14 Aug 2013 03:00


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Read more on BBC Science


Role Contributor
Narrator Rebekah Staton
Producer Sue Learoyd
Director Sue Learoyd


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