Psychological disorders are set of mental illnesses that primarily cause distress to individuals’ hence, negatively affecting all spheres of their lives. These disorders are manifested by a set of behavioural or psychological symptoms exhibited by individuals under undue distress. In most cases, psychological disorders result from an alteration on an individual’s normal development process, caused by an interaction between genetic factors and environmental stressors.
According to the World Health Organisation and other Global Psychiatric organisations, there exist more than one hundred and fifty types of psychological disorders that fall into different classes that include: eating, somatoform, factitious, cognitive, learning, trauma, disruptive, psychotic, dissociative, psychiatric, schizophrenia, adjustment, anxiety, and ,impulse control disorders (World Health Organisation 24-42).
As research studies show, as compared to other health problems, globally, psychological disorders are the most common form of body disorders that affect most individuals.
For example, in the United States alone, more than 46% of individuals have been victims of a mental illness at one point of their lives; of these 26.2% adults of over eighteen years. Further, by 2005, the global mental illness actual lifetime prevalence was almost 85% (Kessler, Berglund, Demler, Jin, Merikangas, Walters 593-599).
Therefore, considering the detrimental effects of psychological illness on every aspect of an individual’s life, it is important for individuals to seek quick intervention measures, once they experience any psychological distress.
Types of psychological disorders
Majority of individuals with eating disorders are compulsively concerned with their body weights and sizes. Hence, these individuals will do anything at their disposal to make sure they maintain or reduce their body sizes to sizes they or the society perceives to be the most appropriate. The common types of eating disorders include bulimia nervosa, obesity, compulsive eating, anorexia nervosa, and binge eating.
Individuals suffering from bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa are obsessively concerned with any weight they gain; hence, these individuals excessively control their eating habits, to avoid fattening. It is important for individuals to note that, sufferers of anorexia nervosa are the worst affected, because most of them are thin and exhibit signs of amenorrhea; hence, most of their weights are below the standard body weight.
Due to this obsession, most sufferers of these conditions may involve themselves in abnormal behaviours, for example, abuse of laxatives and anorectics, self-induced vomiting, binge-eating, starvation, avoidance of certain foods. Bulimia nervosa is common in more than 4.6% of women globally, whereas anorexia nervosa affects approximately 2% and 0.2% of women and men respectively.
These psychological problems that may result due to continuous family conflicts between spouses, the need for self-identity, societal and media influences, or in some cases they can be learned behaviours. Unless controlled, these disorders can cause anaemia, malnutrition, and death (mostly in starvation cases).
Contrary to bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa, obesity and compulsive eating sufferers are obsessed with eating. These individuals have poor eating habits; hence, they always find themselves consuming beyond recommendable quantities, which unless controlled can cause excessive accumulation of fats in the body. Such accumulations are detrimental to an individual’s wellbeing; as this may result in other complications for example, type two diabetes, stroke, the heart, liver, and gallbladder complications.
Therefore, because of the complex nature of health complications that may result from these disorders, it is important for individuals to seek treatment, which can be inform of mental health and cognitive behavioural therapy, or nutritional counselling (National Institute of Mental Health: NIMH 1).
Dissociative disorders are a class of disorders that affect the normal functioning of individuals’ consciousness and acuity of their immediate environments, because of trauma. These disorders may also affect an individual’s memory identity, which can be gradual or impulsive, temporary or persistent.
Therefore, most sufferers of these disorders are faced with problems of coping with life’s challenges. Common types of dissociated disorders include depersonalisation disorder, depersonalisation NOS, dissociative fugue, recovered memories and false memory, ganser, and cultural syndromes, and dissociative amnesia.
Most suffers of Dissociative amnesia have a tendency of forgetting their personal information, whereas those suffering from dissociative fugue sometimes forget about their surrounding; hence in most cases their state of mind will be in an imagined world. In addition, Individuals suffering from the depersonalisation disorder will tend to assume their personalities hence, they will take an external observers’ personality and read their mental processes and characters.
The worst type of the dissociative disorders is the dissociative identity disorder, as most suffers of this condition have high suicidal tendencies. Primary treatment remedies to these disorders include psychotherapy and counselling, as most of these conditions need careful handling and proper understanding of a patient’s state of mind (Nijenhuis 7-17).
Somatoform disorders are a group of disorders that have symptoms that almost resemble those exhibited by individuals suffering from some form of physical diseases. However, unlike physical illnesses that has physical causes, this form of disorders lack physical causes. Symptoms associated with somatoform disorders are triggered by mental factors; hence, to diagnose these individuals, medical doctors must perform all required diagnostic tests.
The most common types of somatoform disorders are conversion disorder (a severe condition caused by psychological problems, with no recognisable physical cause), undifferentiated somatoform disorder (conditions that illicit signs of some form of physical illness, which are non-existent in reality), and Hypochondriasis (a mental state characterised by fear of underlying diseases that do not exist).
Other somatoform disorders include body dimorphic and somatoform NOS disorders. Common characteristics of these disorders include vomiting, body aches, and vision problems. To deal appropriately with this conditions, suffers have to undergo cognitive therapies and education trainings on how to cope up with the condition (Wise and Fava 1002-1003).
Unlike in somatoform disorders where individuals exhibit signs of some non-existent physical illness, individuals suffering from fictitious disorders exhibit faked symptoms of physical illnesses for psychological contentment. Most of these patients can move from one healthcare centre to another in search of medical care, although in reality they are not sick. This condition can result because of an early traumatic or deprivation experience that individuals might have suffered during their early stages of life.
Majority of these sufferers have higher likelihoods of becoming drug abusers, as most of them do not mind the risk of taking multiple medications. Common types of this disorder include malingering (a premeditated faked sickness), Munchausen syndrome (involves deliberately mentioning of a person when they fake sicknesses for consideration purposes), and Munchausen syndrome by proxy (a condition where individuals force their close family members or friends to fake illness for attention purposes).
Due to the severe nature of consequences that may result from this disorder, it is important for sufferers to seek psychological help, which may include psychotherapy (for purposes of reforming the thinking way of the sufferer), family therapy (for warning purposes on the dangerous nature of these condition), and cognitive –behavioural therapy (for purposes of helping the suffers deal with the condition) (Taylor and Hyler 82-92).
Cognitive disorders are mental illnesses that impair the brain from performing its cognitive functions, which include memory processing, acuity, and problem solving. as research studies show, these from of disorder are the primary causes of other complications, for example, dementia, delirium, phobias, anxiety stress, and other anxiety disorders.
In extreme cases, these disorders can cause other complex medical problems, for example, growth of malignant tumours, kidney problems, and schizophrenia. Main types of cognitive disorders include Huntington’s disease (a condition that is caused by the wearing out of the brain cells), mental retardation, Parkinson’s disease (a brain nerve anomaly that results in problems of muscle movement), and Amnestic disorder (a medical condition characterised by memorising problems).
Because of the complex nature of medical complications associate with this condition, it is important fro caretakers and families to offer this individuals the kind of help they need, as most of these individuals are prone to many health complications (Long 1).
As research studies show, approximately 18% of United States adults have been victims of anxiety disorders once in their lifetime. These are a form of mental illnesses that are primarily characterised by too much fear, worry, and nervousness. Due to heightened anxiety, most sufferers of this disorder may have heart palpitations, sweat excessively, feel dizzy, have chest pains, and experience heart problems. As research studies show, this is a condition that be caused by the hypersensitivity of the locus or effects of a stressful childhood experience.
There exist three common types of anxiety disorders namely phobias (characterised by intense fear of occurrences such as death, failing in a test, certain animals, suffocation, and addressing a multitude) and post traumatic stress disorder (mostly caused by a traumatic event; hence, characterised by traumatic dreams, hyper vigilance, lack of self control in some traumatic occurrences).
Another common type is the Obsessive compulsive disorder (characterised by intrusive thoughts and recurrent longings to perform certain events). This condition can be caused by caudate nucleus malfunction or an early stressful experience. The primary treatment of these disorders is avoiding of stressful environment, which should be accompanied with psychological counselling and guidance (Long 1).
Schizophrenia is one of the most dangerous mental conditions, because the disorder can seriously affect the thinking process and emotional alertness of individuals. Its primary characteristics include auditory phantasms (accounts for 66% of schizophrenic cases), bizarre delusions (accounts for 44% of schizophrenic cases), and speech and thinking problems (accounts for 65% of all schizophrenic cases).
Of all the mental illnesses, this is the most common mental illness that affects most individuals. This condition affects approximately forty million individuals globally, and d in most cases unless well diagnosed, it is very hard to give it the desired treatment remedy. As research studies show, approximately 50% of individuals with schizophrenia cases remain untreated, as individuals never discover that they are schizophrenic.
The most common subtypes of schizophrenia include the paranoid, disorganised, catatonic, undifferentiated, and residual type. To treat this illness completely, individuals have to go through an electroconvulsive therapy or numerous sessions of occupational psychotherapies, or they can use some medication to control the disease (NIMH 1).
Learning disorders are mental illnesses that affect the knowledge comprehending capacity of individuals, or their ability to correctly apply spoken or written language, or the capacity to control and coordinate movements in an appropriate manner.
The most common types of leaning disorders include attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) (a condition characterised by lack of concentration), Dyscalculia (inability to solve mathematical problems), and dyslexia (reading problems). Primary remedies to these illnesses include speech and language, and psychological therapies, which should be accompanied with some medications (Schulte 598-608).
In conclusion, considering the fact that, mental disorders are causes by either genetic anomalies or agents in the environment, individuals should reduce stressors in their environments, and in case they suspect an individual is suffering from a mental illness, it is important to help such individuals seek early medical intervention.
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Long, Philip. Cognitive disorders. Internet Mental Health. 2009. Web. 15 Oct. 2010.
National Institute of Mental Health. Eating disorders. NIMH. 2010. Web. 15 Oct. 2010
National Institute of Mental Health. Schizophrenia. NIMH. 2010. Web. 15 Oct. 2010.
Nijenhuis, Ellert. Somatoform dissociation. Journal of Trauma and Dissociation, 1.4 (2000): 7-32. Web. 15 Oct. 2010.
Schulte, Ann. Learning disorders. 2010. Web. 15 Oct. 2010.
Taylor, Stuart, and Hyler, Steven. Update on factitious disorders. International Journal of Psychiatry, 23.1 (1993): 81-94. Print.
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