A mental or psychological illness is a behavioral pattern that is associated with extreme distress or eccentricity which cannot be controlled by the person. The moment the person loses control, he or she enters into the domain of a psychological illness. There are several different types of psychological illnesses. The major ones include Mood Disorders, Personality Disorders, Anxiety Disorders, Psychotic Disorders, Eating Disorders, and Developmental Disorders or Disabilities.
Mood Disorders have been classified into two major categories, namely, Bipolar and Depressive. When a person suffers from a Bipolar Disorder, he experiences a sudden high or an upsurge of seemingly positive emotions such as enthusiasm, unnecessary laughter, joking uncontrollably, and many such actions or reactions. In Depressive Disorder, the person goes through a period of sudden but extreme sorrow which remains unexplained. A person who is suffering from Depressive Disorder remains in that mood almost for an entire day and in extreme cases, it could last for about a week or more. He loses interest in activities and generally prefers to be alone. In both types of mood disorders, the person encounters difficulty in sleeping as the behavior is extreme, involving a lot of nervous energy.
Mood disorders are usually treated in two ways. One is biogenic and the other is psychotherapeutic. The best and the most recommended approach is generally a balance of the two. In biogenic treatment, drugs that work best with patients of mood disorders are MAO inhibitors and tricyclics. In psychotherapeutic treatments, interpersonal therapy is considered to be quite effective. It requires a short period of time to take effect and lasts for not more than 15 to 16 weeks. This method can be used to treat major depression.
- Mood Disorders: The Canadian Mental Health Association provides an overview of mood disorders.
- More on Mood Disorders: Mental Health America covers various aspects of mood disorders.
- General Psychology: The article by Dr. C. George Boeree focuses on major depression and bipolar disorder.
- Types of Mood Disorders: The Epilepsy Foundation highlights the different types of mood disorders.
- Bipolar Disorder: Come here to learn all about bipolar disorders.
Personality disorders are disorders wherein the person behaves in a socially distressing manner which generally results in instability and discord in several aspects of life. People who suffer from personality disorders are typically obsessive, hostile, needy, antisocial or detached. There are four types of personality disorders, namely, Cluster ‘A’ comprising of Eccentric or Odd behavior, Cluster B’ with typically or overly dramatic, erratic or highly emotional behavior, and Cluster ‘C’ that’s characterized by anxious and fearful behavior.
Cluster ‘A’ is further broken down into Schizoid personality disorder, Paranoid personality disorder, and Schizotypal personality disorder. Cluster ‘C’ encompasses Dependent, Avoidant, and Obsessive-Compulsive personality disorder. The main aim of treatment for these disorders is to relieve the person from distressing symptoms such as anxiety and depression. Drug therapy also helps to a large extent, which includes Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors or SSRI. It helps the patient to overcome impulsivity and depression. Anticonvulsant drugs are also effective in reducing impulsive or angry behavior. Another drug is risperidone. Group or family therapy is also extremely effective.
- Personality Disorders: An overview of personality disorders with links to more information.
- Introduction: The Royal College of Psychiatrists offers an introduction to personality disorders with other resources.
- Borderline Personality Disorder: Stanford University explains all about borderline personality disorder.
- Understanding Personality Disorders: The booklet offers information on many aspects of personality disorders.
- Types: Come here to learn about the different types of personality disorders.
Anxiety disorders are disorders that create a kind of restlessness without a concrete reason. Panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, and certain phobias are the different types of disorder.
People suffering from a panic disorder feel a sudden terror strike within, manifested by sweating and palpitating. People suffering from Obsessive-compulsive disorder or OCD constantly feel a strong urge to do things in a specific way to curb or get rid of this anxiety.
Post-traumatic stress disorder usually occurs when a person has been through an emotionally traumatizing event, characterized by being emotionally numb. Social anxiety disorder affects a person if he or she is extremely conscious in social atmosphere. Specific phobias also create an emotional havoc while generalized anxiety disorders are accompanied by too much of worry.
Treatment of various anxiety disorders revolves around medicines that reduce the symptoms of anxiety, such as anti-depressants. Psychotherapy is another good and effective option that addresses the emotional response. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a method in which the person learns to understand his own thought patterns and attempts to change them.
- FAQs: Women’s Health Information answers frequently asked questions on anxiety disorders.
- More Information: The Surgeon General provides information on various aspects of anxiety disorders.
- Loss, Change, & Grief: Find out about the different types of anxiety disorders and other information.
- Anxiety Disorder: The National Cancer Institute provides comprehensive material on the subject.
Psychotic disorders are severe kinds of disorders where the person does not have the sense of what is happening. The person is often troubled by delusions or hallucinations. Schizophrenia, Schizoaffective Disorder, Schizophreniform Disorder and Brief Psychotic Disorder are the four types of Psychotic disorders. People suffering from Schizophrenia cannot function properly in their profession or even in social interactions. Schizoaffective Disorders are characterized by mood disturbances.
Treatment of these disorders includes medication if the stage is acute. Risperdal (risperidone), Antipsychotics, Clozaril (clozapine), Haldol (haloperidol), and Zyprexa (olanzapine) are some of the medicines that help to organize the person’s thoughts. Psychotherapy has also been proven to be effective in many cases.
- Shared Psychotic Disorder: The Cleveland Clinic offers an overview of psychotic disorder.
- Resources: The page offers a good list of resources on psychotic disorders.
- Schizophrenia: The National Alliance on Mental Illness provides good information on schizophrenia.
- Psychotic Disorders: The Queen’s University looks at the feelings, thoughts, and behavior related to psychotic disorders.
- Treatment: The McLean Hospital outlines the program for treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar disorders.
There are three types of eating disorders, namely, Anorexia, Compulsive overeating, and Bulimia. Anorexia is characterized by a refusal to consume food normally. The person’s eating habits get largely affected, resulting in considerable loss of body weight. Bulimia is an attempt to remain physically stagnant by first eating and then taking the food out by means of self-induced vomiting. Sometimes, it involves excessive exercise, excessive diet pills, and laxatives. Compulsive overeating is often accompanied by a vicious cycle of eating too much food.
Treatment of eating disorders includes Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Interpersonal Psychotherapy (IT), and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. Family Therapy is also known to be effective.
- Eating Disorders: The NIMH provides an overview of eating disorders.
- More Information: Find out more about eating disorders here.
- Bulimia Nervosa: Come here to find out more about the eating disorder.
- NEDA: The official site of the National Eating Disorder Association.
Developmental disorders form while a child is growing up. Down syndrome, Fragile X syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Sensory-related disabilities, and Metabolic Disorders are some of the common developmental disorders. Treatment of developmental disorders includes Children speech therapy Down syndrome and methods to remove some of the learning in Fragile X syndrome.
- Pervasive Developmental Disorders: The NINDS provides an information page on the disorder.
- Other Developmental & Behavioral Disorders: Come here to learn about these other disorders.
- More Information: The Yale Medical Group highlights the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment for PDD.
- Down Syndrome: The UCSF offers information on this type of developmental disorder.