Psychological illness is the term used for disorders that affect a person’s thoughts, emotions and behaviors. These disorders are similar to physical illnesses and can be treated by medical doctors.
There are many kinds of psychological disorders, and they can vary in severity. Most mental disorders cause problems in a variety of areas of life, such as work, relationships, school and social activities. They can also have serious long-term consequences for the person who has them, including disability and death.
Some of the major psychological illnesses include anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). Other mental conditions can be more difficult to diagnose but may have similar symptoms.
The causes of psychological disorders are largely determined by biology, with influences from the environment and other factors. Biological factors can include changes in neurotransmitters, which are chemical messengers within the brain. Environmental factors can include exposure to toxins and other harmful substances during pregnancy or childhood. Genetics can play a role in some cases, with people who have family members who have been diagnosed with a psychological condition being at a higher risk.
In the harmful dysfunction definition of psychological disorders, patterns of inner experience and behavior are thought to reflect the presence of a psychological disorder if they cause significant distress or impair the ability to function as a normal individual. These disturbances must not reflect culturally expected responses to certain events, and must be associated with some type of dysfunction (biological, psychological or developmental).
They should be so severe that they interfere with the person’s everyday functioning and significantly reduce their quality of life.
Other factors may contribute to the development of a psychological disorder, such as poverty and social isolation. These conditions can exacerbate symptoms and make it difficult for a person to find treatment.
Most of these mental illnesses have different treatments that help to relieve symptoms and promote recovery. They can involve medication, psychotherapy and supportive counseling. These treatments can help people deal with stress, cope with their symptoms and improve their quality of life.
Some treatments are more effective than others, and they can be customized to the needs of a patient. A doctor or mental health professional will evaluate a person’s symptoms, thoughts and feelings and discuss the best course of treatment.
A psychological evaluation is often combined with a physical exam and lab tests to ensure that a patient has no physical problem that is causing their symptoms. If a physical problem is found, the mental health professional will treat it first before focusing on a psychological diagnosis.
If the doctor and therapist determine that a mental health problem is present, they will recommend a treatment plan that may include medication and/or psychotherapy. For some patients, hospitalization may be required so that a doctor can closely monitor them, accurately diagnose the disorder and adjust medications when necessary.
While it can be a challenging and daunting task to cope with a mental health condition, most people who seek treatment do well. With the right care, a person can get back to living their best life, including work, family, and community.