There is a wide range of mental health conditions, the impact of which will vary significantly: schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, and poorly understood conditions referred to as personality disorders. Some conditions are associated with substance abuse, or with other impairments. In the university environment depression and various anxiety disorders are the most common mental health conditions.
Mental health conditions may be transitory or long standing, with symptoms ranging from mild and episodic to severe and ongoing; students may require academic accommodations at some times but not at others.
The impact of these "invisible" disabilities might not be apparent immediately, but students may experience anxiety, panic attacks, limited attention span, fluctuating motivation, disorganisation, and unpleasant physical manifestations – rises in temperature, sweaty palms, palpitations. Students taking prescription medication may experience drowsiness, persistent thirst, vision difficulties, and problems with coordination. Some students will withdraw from interaction with others, be unusually interactive in class, or behave in an erratic manner.