Mental Illness – What is Psychiatric Illness?

psychological illness

Psychiatric disorders affect the way you think, feel and behave. They can cause serious distress and disrupt your life. But most of them are treatable and recovery is possible, especially when you get treatment early and play a role in your own mental health. There are many ways to recover from a mental illness, including psychotherapy and medication. You can also find social support and other community services to help you cope. Eating well, getting enough sleep, exercise and meaningful paid or volunteer activities can all improve your mental health.

Symptoms of psychological illness include feelings such as anxiety or depression, and physical symptoms like difficulty breathing or loss of appetite. They interfere with daily functioning and can lead to thoughts of self-harm or suicide. People with psychological disorders are at risk of other medical problems as well. For example, depression increases your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Anxiety disorders may lead to substance abuse and other problems with your health.

The Psychiatric Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) lists descriptions of all the different mental illnesses. It also lists the criteria you must meet to be diagnosed with a particular disorder, such as how long you must have certain symptoms and whether they cause you significant distress. There are also a number of treatments that can help with mental health conditions, including cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal therapy. These are carried out by therapists, psychologists and some primary care physicians. Medications such as antidepressants and antipsychotics can also be helpful.

A number of different kinds of disorders fall into this category, including bipolar disorder and major depressive disorder. They involve alternating periods of feeling extremely happy or euphoric, and then very sad and low energy. People with bipolar disorder often have trouble coping with these changes and may experience suicidal thinking.

Paranoid personality disorders and schizophrenia are other examples of this group. These disorders involve irrational feelings and beliefs that others are out to harm you or are plotting against you. Some of them can cause hallucinations, thought distortions and other severe symptoms.

There are some disorders that start in childhood, such as autism spectrum disorder, oppositional defiant disorder and conduct disorder, which is renamed antisocial personality disorder in the International Classification of Diseases. Other childhood disorders include attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and withdrawn disorder.

People with emotional disorders are at risk of a range of complications, such as suicide, family breakdown and poverty. They are also at greater risk of drug misuse and alcohol addiction. They are more likely to commit crimes and have higher rates of violence against themselves and others. Some of these disorders are caused by genetics and environment. Others are caused by brain chemistry or function. People with a family history of psychiatric disorders are more likely to have them themselves. The same applies for people who have been exposed to trauma or stress. These can be from events such as car or other accidents, sexual assaults and war-related events, natural disasters, torture or incarceration.