A psychological illness is a mental disorder in which an individual experiences intense distress and pain, and has a high level of impairment. People with psychological illnesses are more likely to exhibit a range of symptoms, including impaired functioning and a history of self-harm or suicide. Listed below are some of the common symptoms of psychological illness. There is no single definition of psychological illness, but these symptoms typically show up in more than one person. Read on to learn more.
Symptoms of psychological illness may appear in the form of disturbing thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Disturbed behaviors are a sign of a disorder, because they reflect a malfunction in the person’s inner processes. Disturbed behaviors are unusual and often troubling to those around the sufferer. For example, a person who is uncontrollably preoccupied with germs may spend hours washing his body, displaying symptoms of negative behaviors, and experiencing inner experiences that are not normal.
Fortunately, advances in neuroscience and genetics have made progress in addressing psychological illnesses. Cognitive behavioral therapy developed into other psychotherapies. The DSM and ICD both adopted new criteria-based classifications, which expanded the number of “official” diagnoses. As a result, the number of “official” diagnoses grew, as did the number of prescribed drugs. Many therapists now focus on the network of significant others that a patient is surrounded by.
The emergence of clinical psychology and social work in the early 20th century in the United States led to the formation of the psychiatric professions. In particular, the World War I outbreak of shell shock led to the development of a new psychiatric manual. This manual combined with existing systems of collecting statistical data in a single database, the first Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The International Classification of Diseases (ICSD) also incorporated a section on mental disorders. Stress was first associated with endocrinology, and became increasingly applicable to mental disorders.
The evolution of the psychiatric profession from asylum-based treatment to community-based care has been well documented. In the post-war period, epidemiological studies of psychological illness showed that women were twice as likely to develop the disorder as men. However, the material in this chapter suggests a more nuanced picture. Women who experienced rape as a child were also more likely to develop the disorder. In fact, the study of PTSD in women revealed that the gender gap in the development of the disorder is wider than previously believed.
Although there are numerous differences between the two terms used to describe mental illness, they share the same general definition. In the past, semantic differences produced misunderstandings and sustained debates. During this period, Kendell suggested that the terms be dropped, but there was no general agreement. Only two major groups of clinicians were agreed on the basic idea that psychological symptoms are diseases. The differences were too great to ignore. The first was the’melancholic’ form of depression, which is characterized by classic melancholic symptoms. The second was exogenous depression, which tended to be triggered by environmental stress.