A psychological illness is an abnormal pattern of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that interferes with an individual’s functioning. Mental health professionals and therapists can use a variety of tools to diagnose a disorder and prescribe treatment that can help the person get better.
The disturbances must reflect some kind of dysfunction (biological, psychological, or developmental) and cause significant impairment in one’s life. They also must not reflect expected or culturally approved reactions to certain events. For example, a person who experiences great sadness following the death of a loved one may not be classified as having a disorder because that reaction is a natural response to a traumatic event.
Traditionally, most mental disorders have been divided into two broad categories: psychoses and neuroses. Psychotic disorders include schizophrenia and delusional disorder. The latter category includes hallucinations, disorganized thinking and behaviour, and a variety of other symptoms.
Psychotic disorders can affect many different aspects of an individual’s functioning, including their ability to work or study, their relationships with others, and their social skills. Symptoms can include persistent delusions, hallucinations, disorganized thinking, and extreme agitation.
Most people experience mood and thought changes, or a range of different symptoms, at some point in their lives. These can be normal for some time, but if they begin to interfere with an individual’s functioning, they might be diagnosed as having a psychological disorder.
Some of the most common psychological disorders are anxiety, depression, and psychotic disorders. Other types of disorders are personality disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder, eating disorders, and other conditions.
Several standardized diagnostic classification systems have been developed over the years. Among these, the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) and the International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems are the most widely used. These systems provide a language and a framework for diagnosing and treating patients with psychological illnesses.
It is important to remember that mental illness is a serious condition that impacts millions of people around the world. It is a leading cause of disability and a major public health issue. It can lead to a wide range of negative outcomes, such as stigma and discrimination.
The most important thing to remember is that psychological illness can be treated and prevented with professional help. There are a wide variety of effective treatments, including medications and specialized therapists who can teach patients how to live healthier and happier lives.
In 2019, nearly 1 in 8 people or 970 million people worldwide suffer from a psychological illness. It is especially prevalent among women and in lower socioeconomic classes, as well as in disadvantaged ethnic groups.
Most people with a mental illness are in need of medical and psychological care, but the cost of treating or caring for a patient is often prohibitive for many. This is why many countries have a government-sponsored mental health program to provide free services to people with psychological problems.
The first step in identifying the presence of a psychological disorder is to discuss with an individual how the condition has impacted their lives. The person may not be able to describe in detail what is happening, but their family and friends might be able to tell.