Psychological Illness

psychological illness

Psychological illness is any kind of abnormal pattern of inner experience and behavior that causes distress and impairment. It’s a broad category that includes conditions such as anxiety disorders, mood disorders (such as depression and bipolar disorder) and psychotic disorders (such as schizophrenia).

A medical diagnosis is used to describe psychological illness and determine the best treatment options. The diagnosis is made by a mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist. In most cases, treatment of psychological disorders is covered by health insurance.

The main criteria for diagnosing a disorder are that the patterns of inner experience and behavior cause significant impairment in life, suggest some kind of dysfunction in normal functioning and do not reflect expected or culturally approved responses to particular life events. Thus, the disturbances in thoughts and feelings must be more than just atypical or unusual. For example, a person’s reaction to the death of a loved one would not be considered to be a psychiatric disorder, because such reactions are widely understood as natural and socially acceptable in our culture.

Anxiety disorders involve fear or dread that’s so intense that it interferes with daily functioning. They include specific phobias, generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder. Mood disorders involve persistent feelings of sadness or periods of extreme happiness, such as in depression, bipolar and cyclothymic disorders. Impulse control disorders include kleptomania (stealing) and pyromania (setting fires). Psychotic disorders include delusions, hallucinations and disorganized thinking.

Schizophrenia, for example, involves irrational beliefs and behaviors such as paranoia and delusions. It also has a negative impact on everyday functioning, such as coping with problems at work or in the family and managing relationships.

Many people who have a mental illness feel stigmatized by society. For example, they may be discriminated against in employment, education and housing, and their children may suffer from poor performance at school or behavioral problems. Moreover, they often have to deal with stereotypes in the media and in movies, books and television shows that perpetuate negative images of the mentally ill. Stigma can be so strong that it can cause a person to hide his or her condition and resist treatment. It can even result in suicide. Fortunately, advances in neuroscience and genetics have enabled new medications to be developed for psychological disorders. These medications include antidepressants and antipsychotics. In addition, psychotherapy is also available to help individuals manage their symptoms and lead productive lives. Ultimately, the recovery rate from mental illnesses can be high, especially when early treatment and self-care are employed.