One of the most prevalent focuses in modern health care is mental health care, which helps to address various mental medical conditions. At one time, there was not nearly enough support or treatment available for patients struggling with psychological problems. However, this has taken a huge turn in recent years, and these health conditions are being more widely recognized and treated.
There are hundreds of mental health concerns, but among these, some are more frequently seen than others. Some of the rarer mental disorders include Alice in Wonderland Syndrome and Alien Hand Syndrome. However, they are far less common than conditions like anxiety, depression and schizophrenia, which are some of the most common mental disorders.
In this article, we will be giving you an overview of some of the most frequently diagnosed types of mental disorders. Continue reading to get a clear insight into the conditions, particularly if you feel that you or a loved one may be experiencing psychological issues.
One of the most widely reported mental disorder problems is depression, which affects more than 260 million people across the world. Many people may confuse depression with feeling sad. While a low mood is one of the symptoms of depression, this does not fully characterize the disease.
People with depression will experience low mood for prolonged periods of time, usually over weeks or months. Humans frequently experience sadness relating to life events and hormones, but depression is much more profound.
Alongside this low mood, patients may experience thoughts of self-harm or suicide. They may become withdrawn from their social circle and stop participating in things that they previously enjoyed.
Furthermore, people may have feelings of low self-esteem and confidence, guilt and a lack of motivation.
But did you know that depression can also bring about physical symptoms such as aches and pains, decreased sex drive, decreased appetite and fatigue?
Anxiety is experienced by many people, but for some, it can become problematic and even debilitating. People struggling with anxiety will feel continually worried or nervous, sometimes at seemingly harmless situations. For example, some people with the condition will find leaving the house a torment, whereas others may feel deeply anxious about their health.
More often than not, those with anxiety will be unable to control their concerns in a “normal” manner and this can lead to other psychological and physical symptoms. These may include a feeling of dread, trouble concentrating and feeling irritable. Physically, patients with anxiety may feel nauseous and even vomit. They may also experience excessive sweating and have trouble sleeping.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is on this list of mental disorders, as it is commonly experienced by those who have suffered a tragic event. The condition is a form of anxiety disorder and is brought about when a person goes through something significantly distressing. This can result in heightened anxiety both in their day-to-day lives and in situations where they feel a perceived threat similar to what they have already experienced.
Sufferers will often experience nightmares or flashbacks to the event and this can further increase their anxiety, often causing insomnia. Furthermore, the patient may also notice physical flashbacks, which can include phantom pains, sweating and a dry mouth.
Quite often, people with PTSD will try to avoid potentially triggering situations, but it is important to keep in mind that this is not an effective way to manage the condition. Professional support, therapy and at times, medication can all relieve the symptoms.
Autism Spectrum Disorder
While officially considered a neurological condition as opposed to a mental health disorder, Autism Spectrum disorder is a vast condition that can present in a variety of ways.
Many people are diagnosed with this condition, and each person is a unique case. Some of the most common symptoms include struggling with social interactions, inappropriate behaviour in social situations, a focus on one specific interest, inability to make eye contact, sensory problems and a seeming lack of emotion, or in some cases, heightened emotions.
However, in more severe cases, the brain functions in an altogether different manner, and there are people with autism who are unable to speak and suffer from additional conditions such as epilepsy. Additionally, those with autism may also experience what is known as a “meltdown,” in which the brain becomes overloaded and the individual begins behaving in an erratic manner. This could include screaming, crying or aggression.
Schizophrenia is one of the more serious common mental health disorders and is a form of psychosis. The effects can vary from person to person. Unlike conditions like PTSD, anxiety and depression, Schizophrenia cannot be cured and is with the patient for life. However, the condition can be successfully managed and many patients can lead a relatively normal life.
There are many symptoms relating to this condition. Some include hallucinations, withdrawing from people and events that are usually enjoyable, a lack of emotion and delusion or confusion.
As we have mentioned, schizophrenia can be managed through the use of various medications including anti-psychotic drugs, the support of a crisis team and in extreme cases, being committed to a facility for 24-hour care and support.
You may hear this condition being referred to as manic depression, and this is because bipolar disorder sees patients experience heightened periods of mania and then crippling episodes of depression. These episodes usually last for weeks or months at a time, and despite popular belief, do not tend to change intermittently.
Depending on which episode you are currently experiencing, the symptoms will vary. During stages of mania, patients may feel indestructible, spend a lot of money without thinking, shirk their responsibilities, feel overly important and struggle with getting enough sleep. In contrast, the depressive periods may include self-harm or suicidal thoughts, a loss of appetite, withdrawing from those around them and feeling irritable.
Bipolar is another life-long condition but it too can be managed. This is usually done through medication including lithium and antipsychotic drugs as well as support from a community mental health team.
Unfortunately, there has been a lack of understanding about eating disorders over the years, but people are now becoming more familiar with the problem. Eating disorders are characterized by a patient’s unhealthy relationship with food. This could involve over-eating, not eating enough or feeling that your weight and body shape are not right and therefore using your eating habits to alter this.
There are several types of eating disorders, with the most common being bulimia, anorexia and binge-eating. Eating disorders can be beaten, and many patients go on to live healthy lives and develop a good attitude towards food. Treatment usually includes intense therapy, sometimes hospitalization and medication.