Mental Disorders, also known as mental illnesses, are conditions that affect a person’s mood, thinking and behavior. There are a variety of mental disorders such as bipolar, depression and schizophrenia and each has different symptoms associated with it. Until recently, mental disorders have carried social stigma for those affected by them, however this view is rapidly changing.
Types of Disorders
There are various types of mental disorders, which affect people, and some are more prevalent than others. A person affected by an anxiety disorder responds with fear in response to certain situations, and these can be physical in some cases such as developing a rapid heartbeat during the specific situation. Disorders that fall under this category are social anxiety disorder and panic disorder.
Mood disorders typically involve a person experiencing extreme fluctuations in their mood, such as going from extremely happy to extremely sad. Disorders that fall under this category are depression and bipolar disorder. Mixed anxiety and depression is the most common disorder in the UK, with nearly 9% of the population affected by it. There are many other types of mental disorders such as eating disorders, psychotic disorders and personality disorders.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Due to many overlapping symptoms many mental disorders display, it is often difficult pinning down a specific disorder affecting a person. Many tests are done to evaluate which mental disorders a person is being affected by. Physical tests are run to rule out physical problems causing symptoms. Lab tests are also performed on the thyroid function and for drug abuse. The method that most doctors use to diagnose mental disorders is through a psychological evaluation, which requires filling out a questionnaire, the answers of which are compared with the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, to pin down a specific mental disorder affecting a person.
Although medication does not cure mental disorders, it can greatly help in minimizing the symptoms and containing them. A wide host of medication is used to treat certain types of disorders. For example, antidepressant medication treats depression and anxiety, and they can improve the feeling of sadness and lack of energy.
Psychotherapy is another form of treatment that involves a therapist talking to the patient about their problems and symptoms, and through this gaining a better understanding to their day-to-day struggles. The therapists can recommend coping and stress management skills, which can reduce the frequency of the symptoms.
Mental disorders are complex, and affect a large portion of the population. There is no cure for them, however many treatments can greatly reduce its effects and allow many sufferers to live without it affecting their lives too greatly.