A psychological illness is a condition that causes significant distress or disability in one’s life. It is characterized by a combination of disturbances in thoughts, feelings and behaviors (often referred to as symptoms). The symptoms are usually present in most areas of a person’s life, but can be severe enough to interfere with a person’s ability to function as a normal human being.
Symptoms that signal a psychological disorder include feelings of hopelessness, sadness, guilt, anger, irritability, fatigue, low self-esteem, poor concentration, and sleep problems. They can also include thoughts of suicide, or fears about certain things or situations.
Mental health disorders are a major cause of disability worldwide. They are linked to social, economic, and political factors.
Many mental health conditions are treatable. Psychologists use a variety of treatments, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and medication. Treatment can help a person get better and feel more like themselves again.
The most common and important type of psychotherapy is cognitive behavioral therapy, which helps people learn to change their thinking patterns. Another form of psychotherapy is interpersonal psychotherapy, which helps individuals understand the relationships they have with others and how their behavior affects those people.
Psychotherapy may also include psychoanalysis, which involves talking about feelings and behaviors that are difficult to discuss with others. Using psychoanalysis can sometimes help patients identify their inner conflicts and defenses, which are often the root cause of a psychological disorder.
Diagnosis and treatment of mental illnesses depend on the symptoms a person has. If a doctor suspects that you might have a psychological illness, he or she will run tests to see what is causing your symptoms. This can be done through a physical exam and lab work.
If the medical tests prove that a psychological illness is present, the doctor will use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) to make a diagnosis. This tool helps doctors and healthcare professionals find the best way to treat a mental illness.
Different types of mental illnesses have different symptoms. Some are more serious than others, and some require different kinds of treatment.
Some of the most common types of psychological illnesses are depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, phobias, and bipolar disorder. Other illnesses include autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and eating disorders.
Psychiatric illnesses can affect everyone, regardless of race or gender. Most people who have a mental illness have friends, family members, or co-workers who are also affected.
Psychological illnesses can be caused by a number of factors, including genetics, childhood trauma, abuse and neglect, environmental stressors, and exposure to toxins. Other influences include family and cultural traditions, poverty, and ethnic and racial discrimination.
In the past, the most common method of treating mentally ill patients was to send them to a mental hospital, or asylum. This practice was strongly opposed by reformers who saw mental illness as a medical problem that could be cured through proper care.
The current approach to mental illness is more individualized than ever before, focusing on the needs of each individual patient. For example, a person with a severe case of schizophrenia might need specialized care in a hospital or rehabilitation center. This is especially true if the disorder leads to violence or abuse of others.