A psychological illness is a mental disorder characterized by abnormal or dysfunctional thinking, emotions, or behaviors. It may occur as a long-term condition or as a short-term illness. Mental disorders have many causes. They can be genetic, environmental, or biochemical. Most mental disorders last for a short period of time, while some last for a very long time. Some of the more common mental illnesses include anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder.
Psychological illnesses are generally classified into several categories, including cognitive disorders, behavior disorders, and developmental disorders. Cognitive disorders include major neurocognitive disorders, mild neurocognitive disorders, and delirium. Behavior disorders are categorized into obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and specific phobias. Developmental disorders involve problems that develop in childhood or early adulthood, such as oppositional defiance disorder or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Mental health professionals are specifically trained to assess patients for psychological illness. Some people need extensive or specialized treatment, while others only need counseling or medicines. These are generally used in combination with other treatments. If a person is a patient in a psychiatric hospital, they may also need group discussions, activities with other patients, and counseling. This is especially true for some risky behavior.
Psychiatric illnesses are generally treated by psychotherapy and medicines. Psychotherapy is a form of behavioral therapy that focuses on changing a person’s thought patterns. The two major types of psychotherapy are cognitive behavioral and interpersonal. There are many other psychotherapies.
Mental illness is one of the biggest challenges facing the health care industry. More than one-quarter of adults in the U.S. and Britain reported a diagnosis of a mental health condition in 2016, while more than four-in-ten reported experiencing emotional distress. Depression and anxiety are especially difficult to diagnose and treat.
Psychological illnesses are largely influenced by social factors. Social determinants have been identified, such as bullying, abuse, trauma, and socioeconomic inequality. People have also been found to be more susceptible to certain mental health conditions. In addition, life experiences and a person’s relationship with other people have been cited as a possible contributor.
Psychological illness is more prevalent than previously believed. Nearly 1 in 5 Americans is affected by some type of mental illness, and more than half of all adults in the U.S. and Britain are at risk of developing a psychological illness in their lifetime. While these statistics show a decrease in stigma associated with seeking mental health treatment, barriers to coverage continue.
Behavioral treatments, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectic behavioral therapy, are widely used. Medications, such as lithium, antipsychotics, and benzodiazepines, are commonly prescribed. Antidepressants such as SSRIs, which can help with a depressive episode, are also widely used. However, there is still no cure for depression.
In addition to mental illness, there are some risk factors for mental illness, such as a family history of mental illness, chronic illness, and using illegal drugs. Women are more likely to develop mental illness, particularly depression and anxiety.