What are psychological disorders? How many types of mental illness are there? What causes psychological disorders? What are the symptoms? How is it treated? You can find the answers to all these questions and much more below.
What are psychological disorders?
Psychological disorders , also called mental illnesses , are mental abnormalities that result in persistent behavioral patterns that can seriously affect your function and life. Psychological disorders include eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, mood disorders such as depression, personality disorders such as antisocial personality disorder , psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia, sexual disorders such as sexual dysfunction, and others. A person may also have more than one psychological disorder.
The specific causes of psychological disorders are unknown. But contributing factors to psychological distress include chemical imbalances in the brain, childhood experiences, genetics, diseases, prenatal exposures, and stress. Some disorders, such as borderline personality and depression, are more common in women. Others, such as intermittent explosive disorder and substance abuse, are more common in men. Other disorders, such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, also affect men and women in roughly equal proportions.
When a person has mood or cognitive or behavioral problems for a long time, a psychological evaluation may be helpful, followed by a diagnosis of a psychological disorder. Treatment often includes psychotherapy to work on behaviors, skill development, and thought process. A person may be hospitalized for co-existing medical problems, serious complications, serious disorders, or substance abuse. Medications can be very helpful for some psychological disorders.
When properly treated, people with psychological disorders usually recover; however, recurrences are possible. If left untreated, some psychological problems can lead to academic, legal, social and job problems. Alcohol poisoning, drug overdose, suicide, and violent behavior are other potential complications of psychological disorders.
Psychological disorders can have serious, even life-threatening, complications. For the inability to meet their basic needs (food, water, shelter) or for threatening, irrational or suicidal behavior, it is recommended to seek immediate medical attention. If you think you may have a psychological disorder or are being treated, but the symptoms recur or persist, a doctor’s control is still essential.
What are the symptoms of psychological disorders?
Symptoms of psychological disorders vary with the particular disorder, but mood and behavioral symptoms are common. Symptoms can be chronic and recurrent. They can interfere with your ability to interact in society. Some psychological disorders can also cause physical symptoms. For example, panic attacks associated with anxiety disorders can trigger symptoms that look and feel like a heart attack. Somatoform disorders (conditions where symptoms suggest a medical cause but none are found) often include symptoms of aches or pains.
Psychological disorders can cause a variety of symptoms; common symptoms include:
- agitation, hostility or aggression
- Alcohol or drug use
- Changes in energy levels
- Anxiety and anxiety
- Disorganized behavior and speech
- irritability and mood changes
- Perception or thought process disorders such as hallucinations and delusions (psychoses)
- Persistent or sudden mood changes that may affect daily life
- Issue rejection
- social withdrawal
Psychological disorders may also be associated with physical symptoms, including:
- unexplained physical problems
- drowsiness or weakness
- Sleeping disorders
- Weight and appetite changes
In some cases, psychological disturbances can be life-threatening. You should see a doctor if you or a loved one has any of the life-threatening symptoms, including:
- pose a danger to self or others, including threatening, irrational or suicidal behavior
- Inability to meet basic needs
- Traumas such as bone deformity, burns, eye injuries and other injuries
What causes psychological disorders?
Although the causes of psychological disorders are unknown, it is thought that there are a number of factors that affect their development. These factors include chemical imbalances in the brain, childhood experiences, genetics, diseases, prenatal exposures, and stress. Gender plays a role in some, but not all, psychological disorders.
Risk factors for psychological disorders
A number of factors increase the risk of developing psychological disorders. However, not all people with risk factors experience psychological disorders.
Risk factors for psychological disorders include:
- Childhood abuse or neglect
- Childhood issues related to temperament
- Family or personal history of mental illness or substance abuse
- below normal intelligence
- low birth weight
- low socioeconomic status
- Parental absence, criminal activity or substance abuse
- Prenatal exposures, such as alcohol or drugs
- Major medical conditions such as cancer , chronic pain, and hypothyroidism
- Social disadvantages
- Stressful or traumatic life events
- substance abuse
How are psychological disorders treated?
The first step in treating psychological disorders is acknowledging that a problem exists. Often times, people with mental disorders deny their problems and do not seek medical attention for their symptoms. Regular medical care can be helpful as it allows your doctor to provide early screening tests. Regular medical care also provides an opportunity for your doctor to immediately assess your symptoms and your risks of developing psychological disorders.
Treatment for mental illnesses often includes psychotherapy to work on behaviors, skill development, and thought processes. Short-term hospitalization may be necessary for co-existing medical problems, serious complications, serious disorders, or substance abuse. Medications can be quite helpful for some personality disorders. With appropriate treatment, significant improvements can occur.
Common treatments for psychological disorders
Common treatments for psychological disorders include:
- antianxiety medications
- antidepressant medications to improve mood
- antipsychotic medications to treat disrupted thought patterns and altered perceptions
- cognitive behavioral therapy to work on thought patterns and behavior
- family therapy to help develop support and understanding
- group therapy
- Hospitalization for co-existing medical problems, serious complications, serious disorders, or substance abuse
- Identification and treatment of co-existing conditions
- individual therapy
- mood stabilizer drugs
- psychodynamic therapy to work on exploring and understanding past problems and their relationship to current thoughts and behaviors
- support groups
- speech therapy
What you can do to heal your psychological disorders
In addition to seeking and receiving treatment, you can improve your symptoms and reduce your risk of recurrence by doing the following:
- avoiding alcohol or illegal drug use
- avoiding caffeine or other stimulants
- Eating on a regular schedule
- do regular exercise
- get enough sleep
- Taking medications as directed
What are the possible complications of psychological disorders?
The complications of untreated or poorly controlled psychological disorders can be serious and in some cases even life-threatening. However, you can help minimize your risk of serious complications by following the treatment plan set by your doctor.
Complications of psychological disorders include:
- Adverse effects of treatment
- Difficulties in law, work, social situations, relationships and finances
- Increased risk of injury
- Medical complications specific to behaviors associated with psychological disorders
- Self harm
- Social Isolation
- strained family relationships
- substance abuse
- Suicide or violence