In General Knowledge for the Family, Physical & Mental Health

An Encompassing List of Mental Disorders

Mental disorders, which are sometimes called psychiatric disorders or mental illness, are patterns in behavior or a mental process that causes suffering or an inability to function normally in daily life. There are dozens of mental disorders, with many having various sub-categories. The following is a list of mental disorders that people frequently suffer from.
1. Anxiety

Anxiety is one of the most common mental disorders in our modern society. Anxiety disorders can range from mild, general anxiety to intense panic attacks. Milder forms of anxiety can include worrying about the future and feeling a high level of stress. Social anxiety is a common from of anxiety. Socialanxietyinstitute.org defines social anxiety as the fear of interaction with other individuals. This fear brings on feelings of great self-consciousness and of being judged. Cognitive behavorial therapy has been one of the most successful treatments for this type of disorder. Panic disorder is one of the more intense types of anxiety and can result in extreme fear. The person may even fear that he or she is having a heart attack or dying. A combination of therapy and medication can be used to effectively treat panic disorders.<

2. Bipolar

The Mayo Clinic defines bipolar as a disorder in which the individual experiences a wide variety of mood swings that range from depression to periods of mania. It’s sometimes called manic-depressive disorder. This disorder is further categorized into Bipolar I disorder, Bipolar II disorder, and Cyclothymic disorder. During the manic phase an individual may display symptoms such as racing thoughts, rapid speech, overall increased physical activity, and even exhibit risky behavior and poor judgment. Sleeping less and an increased sex drive are also sometimes symptoms. The depressive phase includes symptoms of decreased appetite, sadness, hopelessness, guilt, and sometimes thoughts of suicide. An inability to concentrate and unexplained pain are sometimes associated with the depressive state.

3. Depression

According to beyondblue.org there are several different types and levels of depression. Major depression is sometimes referred to as clinical depression. Symptoms include a loss of interest in usual activities, inability to concentrate, reliance on alcohol or drugs, and feeling worthless and frustrated. Helpguide.org states that there are several treatment options available for those suffering from depression. The frist step in treating depression is to rule out any underlying medical conditions that may be causing or contributing to the depression.

Treatment usually involves a combination of medication and therapy. Some types of therapy that are often used include cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy. There are four major types of drugs that are used to treat depression. These general types of drugs include trycyclic antidepressants, monoamine oxidase inhibitors, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors. Within these four categories there are dozens of specific medications that may be used to treat the depression. It may take a while for a person to find the right combination of medication and therapy that works for his or her particular situation.

4. Eating disorders

There are several disorders that fall under the category of eating disorders. A few include Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia, and Binge Eating. According to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), Anorexia Nervosa is defined in simplest terms as consuming an inadequate amount of food which leads to a weight that is obviously too low. Those suffering from Bulimia consume large quantities of food followed by some form of purging. The purging may involve vomiting, using laxatives, excessive exercise, or a combination of methods. Binge Eating Disorder is when a person consumes a large amount of food but does not engage in methods to purge.

5. Munchausen’s Syndrome

The Cleveland Clinic defines Munchausen’s Syndrome as a type of mental illness in which a person pretends to have a physical or mental disorder. This person will fake or cause the symptoms they have. People suffering from this disorder are willing to go through risky and painful procedures to gain attention or sympathy from others. An individual who suffers from Munchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy will exaggerate or make up symptoms regarding another person, usually a small child in their care. The adult will fabricate symptoms or even cause symptoms in the child. This is considered a form of medical child abuse. People engage in this behavior not only for the attention but the satisfaction of being able to deceive individuals they see as more powerful or important than themselves.

6. Obsessive-compulsive disorder

According to the Mayo Clinic, people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), have unreasonable fears and thoughts that lead them to perform repeated, compulsive behaviors. OCD causes great anxiety in those who suffer from this disorder. Some specific obsessions and compulsions related to this disorder include an excessive fear of germs, extreme fear of saying or doing something inappropriate in public, counting in certain patterns, silently repeating phrases or prayers, and an inability to tolerate anything disorderly or out of place. People who suffer from this disorder usually know that their thoughts or behavior are excessive and irrational. The obsessions and compulsions are so powerful, however, that the person caves into them and continues in their rituals. Cognitive behavior therapy and exposure and response prevention are two types of therapies used to treat OCD.

7. Phobias

On the list of mental disorders, phobias are probably some of the most extensive. The number of phobias that human beings can suffer from list in the hundreds. Helpguide.org describes a phobia as an intense fear of something that reaches the point it interferes with our daily lives. The fear actually poses very little or no danger to us. Some of the more common phobias include Arachnophobia, which is the fear of spiders; Acrophobia, the fear of heights; Mysophobia, the fear of germs, and the fear of flying which is called Pteromerhanophobia. Some of the lesser known phobias include Numerophobia, which is the fear of numbers; Xerophobia, the fear of dryness, and Euphobia, the fear of hearing good news. To overcome a phobia it’s often recommended that an individual gradually and repeatedly face their fears in a safe and controlled way. When taking the initial steps to face the fear a professional may also prescribe anti-anxiety medications for the individual.

8. Post-traumatic stress disorder

Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a disorder that follows either witnessing or experiencing a terrifying or traumatic event. People with PTSD often relive the traumatic event by recalling the event consciously or having nightmares. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, flashbacks, bad dreams, and frightening thoughts are all symptoms of PTSD. Those suffering from this disorder may also attempt to avoid places or situations that will trigger their symptoms. These individuals may also be constantly “on edge” and have trouble sleeping. Psychotherapy, and in particular Exposure therapy, may be used to treat people with this disorder. Stress inoculation training may also be used as a form of treatment. This type of treatment helps people reduce their anxiety by looking at their memories in a more healthy way. The United States FDA has approved two medications that can be prescribed for adults who are suffering from PTSD. These medications include Zoloft and Paxil.

9. Schizophrenia

Of all the psychiatric problems on the list of mental disorders, this is perhaps one of the most frightening and least understood. Schizophrenia is characterized by an inability to distinguish between what is real and what’s not. Individuals with this disorder often exhibit abnormal behavior in social situations, have confused thinking patterns, and sometimes experience hallucinations. The disorder is believed to primarily affect the way a person thinks but can also affect emotions as well. Late teens and early twenties is when this disorder most often manifests itself. The symptoms of schizophrenia are primarily controlled by antipsychotic medication. Anti-depressants and mood stabilizers are also sometimes used. An individual may need to try several different types of medication before finding one that specifically works for him or her. Peer support groups and nutritional supplements are also sometimes recommended for the treatment of schizophrenia.

10. Seasonal Affective disorder

FamilyDoctor.org states that seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is depression that is brought on by the seasons of the year. Symptoms generally start in the late fall or early winter and will go away by the summer. It’s believed that SAD can be attributed to the changes in the amount of daylight during different times of the year. Symptoms can include weight gain, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and difficulty sleeping. For about 10 percent of those suffering from SAD, symptoms will include weight loss, insomnia, anxiety, and irritability. Treatment options can include light therapy, behavior therapy, or medication.

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