What is Psychological Illness?

psychological illness

A psychological disorder is a mental health condition that causes a significant disturbance in the way you think, feel and behave. It affects how you feel about yourself and others, how well you can manage your daily life and how much you can accomplish. A psychological disorder may be short-term or long-lasting. Many people with mental illness have a combination of treatments that helps them recover and live a healthy life.

The term “psychological disorder” describes a variety of conditions, including anxiety disorders, depression and bipolar disorders. These conditions include severe and persistent symptoms of low and high moods. They cause feelings of sadness and anxiety that interfere with your ability to function normally in work, school and social situations. Other mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder, can have a serious impact on how you behave and interact with other people.

Mental illness is more common than you might think. In fact, about 1 in 8 people worldwide have a mental disorder, according to the World Health Organization. It is also estimated that there are 970 million people living with anxiety disorders and 320 million with depression. The number of people with these conditions rose during the COVID-19 pandemic, possibly because of increased exposure to anxiety and depression advertising and news reports.

Psychologists and psychiatrists study mental illness and use scientific methods to diagnose and treat it. They use a system called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or DSM, to classify disorders. The DSM defines a mental disorder as a pattern of inner experiences or behaviors that reflect some kind of dysfunction (biological, psychological and/or developmental), that cause a major impairment in how you function, and that do not reflect culturally expected reactions to certain events.

Some people with psychological disorders receive treatment in hospitals or residential programs. These are sometimes necessary when your symptoms interfere with your ability to take care of yourself or when they put you at risk of harming yourself or others. Some people find relief through psychotherapy, which is the therapeutic treatment of mental illness by a trained mental health professional. Psychotherapy can help you understand your thoughts, feelings and behavior. Medication paired with psychotherapy is often the most effective way to promote recovery.

Psychotherapy includes a wide variety of techniques, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, eye movement desensitization and reprocessing, group psychotherapy and family psychotherapy. Some of these therapies are based on a humanistic approach. There are other types of treatment that involve physical activity, such as yoga, and creative therapies like drawing, music or writing. There are also treatments that use electronic stimulation to the brain, such as ECT (electroconvulsive therapy). Several studies suggest that these kinds of therapies can improve or even reverse troubling symptoms. The type of treatment you choose depends on your needs, and your doctor will help you make the best choice for you.