A person may have several symptoms of psychological illness. Symptoms of this condition may range in intensity from mild to severe, but they all reflect a problem with internal biological, psychological, and developmental processes. Symptoms may include hallucinations and disturbed patterns of inner experience. Symptoms of psychological illness are usually associated with significant distress, and may cause a person to engage in a wide variety of harmful behaviors. These behaviors are characteristic of individuals with a range of different psychological conditions, including depression, anxiety, and personality disorders.
There are three major schools of thought on the causes of psychological illness. Psychologists have been influenced by several different theories. First, the somatogenic etiology, favored by Hippocrates and Galen, focuses on the fluids in the body. One of the earliest theories of somatogenic etiology says that psychological illness is caused by imbalances in the body’s 4 fluids, which may be corrected through blood-letting and aromatherapy. In the 20th century, a third theory emerged, claiming that mental illness is the result of a malfunction in the brain.
The treatment for a psychological illness depends on the severity of the condition. It usually consists of psychotherapy and other supportive measures. Sometimes, an individual may need social support or a treatment program that teaches them how to manage their condition on their own. For severe cases of mental illness or risky behavior, a person may be hospitalized for further evaluation and treatment. While in a hospital, the patient may receive psychotherapy, group discussions, and activities with other patients.
The number of people with psychological illnesses is rising. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that nearly 20% of U.S. adults are suffering from a mental illness. However, these numbers vary according to diagnostic criteria. In 2017, nearly 46.6 million adults were treated for psychological disorders. The rate of women suffering from this condition was 50% higher than men. (National Institute of Mental Health)
While symptoms of psychiatric disorders can be similar, psychiatrists have their own way of classifying them. The American Psychiatric Association publishes the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) to help clinicians recognize psychological illnesses. In addition to using a standard symptom list, clinicians consider the severity and impact of each symptom. These symptoms are often hard to identify, and may require several visits before a person can be categorized as having a disorder.
Symptoms of psychological illnesses vary considerably, depending on the cause. A common symptom is a persistent pattern of hallucinations related to unreal experiences. This type of psychological illness has been around for millennia. Individuals with symptoms vary in length, severity, and chronicity. Fortunately, medications are available to help manage symptoms and prevent the onset of a psychosis. When this happens, however, a person may experience severe distress and even lose their housing.
Bipolar disorder is a disorder that causes extreme depressive episodes and periods of normal mood. More than 60 million people worldwide suffer from bipolar disorder. Manic episodes cause symptoms such as hyperactivity, inflated self-esteem, and the inability to sleep. While depressive episodes are more severe, hypomania is milder than mania. Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, involves episodes of “high” or pressured moods and an inability to sleep.