Psychological illness is a condition that results in significant disturbances in a person’s thinking, feeling or behaviors. It affects many people and is one of the most important and challenging areas of psychiatry.
There is no single definition of mental disorder that is universally satisfactory, but the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) of the American Psychiatric Association defines psychological disorders as “disordered thoughts, emotions or behaviors that interfere with a person’s ability to function normally.” The disturbances must be due to a mental health problem and not a medical or developmental condition, and they must cause significant distress or impairment.
Most people with a psychological illness are able to manage their condition by talking with a doctor or therapist. But some suffer from severe problems that require hospitalization or a long-term program.
The most common types of psychological illnesses are depression, anxiety disorders and bipolar disorders. Some people with depression and other mood disorders feel better after taking medication.
A person with a depressive disorder may also need help managing stress, improving social skills or finding ways to cope with a loss. This type of treatment is often called “cognitive therapy.”
Trauma and stressor-related disorders involve a person’s difficulties coping with life events that are stressful or dangerous. Examples include post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), acute stress disorder and dissociative disorders.
Some people with PTSD have flashbacks, feel alone and experience sleep disturbances. They may also have angry outbursts or have difficulty concentrating. They often avoid situations that could re-enact the traumatic event.
Personality disorders are patterns of feelings and behavior that affect how you interact with others. These disorders can affect your social, work and family relationships. They can range from simple personality changes to serious, chronic conditions. Some of the most common personality disorders are narcissistic and borderline personality disorder.
Schizophrenia is a brain disorder that causes serious impairments in the way you think, act and feel. It’s not a normal part of human development and it affects about 24 million people worldwide. Symptoms of schizophrenia may include hallucinations, disorganised thinking and extreme agitation or delusions.
Another form of schizophrenia is schizoaffective disorder, where people have symptoms of both schizophrenia and an affective disorder. This is a more severe form of schizophrenia and is treated differently than someone with a simple affective disorder.
These disorders can result in a wide range of problems, such as poor job performance, social isolation and drug or alcohol abuse. They can be treated with medications and psychotherapy or other treatments.
A person with a mental health disorder can be helped by talk therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, and physical therapies such as massage or acupuncture. These treatment options are effective in helping people with depression, anxiety and other mental disorders.
There are many forms of psychotherapy, including cognitive behavioral therapy and individual and group psychotherapy. These types of therapy focus on changing beliefs, attitudes and behaviours that cause a person to feel stuck or overwhelmed.