What are som types of Mental health disorders?


Some 15 million Americans a year struggle with depression, an illness that comes in many forms—from major depression and seasonal affective disorder, to dysthymia and bipolar disorder. Depression is an illness that increasingly afflicts people worldwide, interfering with concentration, motivation and many other aspects of everyday functioning. It is a complex disorder, involving many systems of the body, including the immune system, either as cause or effect. It disrupts sleep, and it interferes with appetite, in some cases causing weight loss, in others weight gain. Because of its complexity, a full understanding of depression has been elusive.


Scientists have some evidence that the condition is related to diet, both directly—through the nutrients we consume, such as omega-3 fats—and indirectly, through the composition of the bacteria in the gut. Of course, depression involves mood and thoughts as well as the body, and it causes pain for both those with the disorder and those who care about them. Depression is increasingly common in children.


Even in the most severe cases, depression is highly treatable. The condition is often cyclical, and early treatment may prevent or forestall recurrent episodes. Many studies show that the most effective treatment is cognitive behavioral therapy, which addresses problematic thought patterns, with or without the use of antidepressant drugs. In addition, evidence is quickly accumulating that regular mindfulness meditation, on its own or combined with cognitive therapy, can stop depression before it starts by effectively disengaging attention from the repetitive negative thoughts that often set in motion the downward spiral of mood.




Anxiety, or extreme apprehension and worry, is a normal reaction to stressful situations. But in some cases, it becomes excessive and can cause sufferers to dread everyday situations.


This type of steady, all-over anxiety is called Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Other anxiety-related disorders include panic attacks—severe episodes of anxiety which happen in response to specific triggers—and obsessive-compulsive disorder, which is marked by persistent intrusive thoughts or compulsions to carry out specific behaviors (such as hand-washing).


Anxiety so frequently co-occurs with depression that the two are thought to be twin faces of one disorder. Like depression, it strikes twice as many females as males.


Generally, anxiety arises first, often during childhood. Evidence suggests that both biology and environment can contribute to the disorder. Some people may have a genetic predisposition to anxiety; however, this does not make development of the condition inevitable. Early traumatic experiences can also reset the body’s normal fear-processing system so that it is hyper-reactive to stress.


The exaggerated worries and expectations of negative outcomes in unknown situations that typify anxiety are often accompanied by physical symptoms. These include muscle tension, headaches, stomach cramps, and frequent urination. Behavioral therapies, with or without medication to control symptoms, have proved highly effective against anxiety, especially in children.


-Panic Disorder

A person with panic disorder experiences sudden and repeated episodes of intense fear accompanied by physical symptoms such as chest pain, heart palpitations, breathlessness, vertigo, or abdominal distress.


Panic disorder sufferers often develop phobias about places where previous episodes have occurred—such as shopping malls. They also develop fears about experiences that have set off previous attacks, such as taking a flight.


Approximately 2.4 million Americans—or 1.7 percent of the population between the ages of 18 and 54—suffer from panic disorder each year. Women are twice as likely as men to develop the disorder.


Panic disorder is treated with medications and cognitive-behavioral therapy, a type of psychotherapy that teaches patients to view their attacks in a different way, as well as demonstrates how to reduce anxiety.-Phobias


-Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, is a chronically recurring condition involving moods that swing between the highs of mania and the lows of depression. But that's not quite the whole picture; depression is by far the most pervasive feature of the illness, while the manic phase usually involves a mix of irritability, anger, and depression, with or without euphoria. The elation may manifest as unusual energy and overconfidence, playing out in bouts of overspending or promiscuity, among many other behaviors.


The disorder most often starts in young adulthood, but can also occur in children and adolescents. Misdiagnosis is common; the condition is typically confused with everything from attention-deficit-hyperactivity disorder to schizophrenia to borderline personality disorder. Biological factors probably create vulnerability to the disorder, and experiences such as sleep deprivation can kick off manic episodes.



What Is ADHD?


Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (previously known as attention deficit disorder, or ADD) is a neurobehavioral disorder characterized by core symptoms of inattentiveness, distractibility, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.


ADHD is thought to be the most common childhood mental health disorder, with estimates of its prevalence in children ranging from 5 to 11 percent. Some of these children find it difficult to concentrate on schoolwork or other tasks, and may frequently succumb to daydreaming. Others become disruptive, defiant and have trouble getting along with parents, peers, or teachers. Children who struggle with hyperactivity and impulsivity, in particular, frequently have behavioral challenges that can be difficult for adults to manage. It’s also possible for both sets of symptoms to exist together, in what is typically called combined type ADHD. Executive functioning (planning, emotional regulation, and decision-making) is invariably affected as well. 


Though it’s been listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) for decades, ADHD remains controversial. Is it a true disorder, or simply a collection of naturally occurring behaviors that aren't tolerated in today’s high-demand, results-driven world? Even among those who agree the disorder exists, there are competing theories about what, if anything, triggers its symptoms.


Until recently, ADHD was considered a childhood disorder that individuals eventually grew out of. And while evidence still suggests that up to 50 percent of children with ADHD do appear to outgrow the condition, many others don’t—about 4 percent of adults in the U.S. have been diagnosed with ADHD, and more are thought to be undiagnosed. Even among children who “outgrow” the condition, early developmental delays and academic setbacks may create enduring learning problems.


Experts disagree over whether treatment for ADHD should be behavioral (therapy, training of attention, increased play, greater structure) or pharmacological—typically, the prescription of stimulants such as Ritalin and Adderall, though non-stimulant options have become more common in recent years. Several large studies have concluded that a combination of both may work best.


Managing work, school, and household tasks can be a challenge for people with ADHD. Fortunately, they can learn coping skills to work around shortcomings and harness their talents—as many successful individuals with ADHD have already done.


What Is Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)?


From hoarding to hand-washing to forever checking the stove, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) takes many forms. It is an anxiety disorder that traps people in repetitive thoughts and behavioral rituals that can be completely disabling.


Surveys conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health show that 2 percent of the population suffers from OCD—that's more than those who experience other mental illnesses like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and panic disorder. OCD might begin in childhood, but it most often manifests during adolescence or early adulthood. Scientists believe that both a neurobiological predisposition and environmental factors jointly cause the unwanted, intrusive thoughts and the compulsive behavior patterns that appease the unwanted thoughts.


Unless treated, the disorder tends to be chronic—lasting for years, even decades—although the severity of the symptoms may wax and wane over the years. Both pharmacological and behavioral approaches have proven effective as treatments; often a combination of both is most helpful.



Schizophrenia is a disabling, chronic, and severe mental illness that affects more than 21 million people around the world. Symptoms include hearing internal voices, having false beliefs, disorganized thoughts and behavior, being emotionally flat, and having hallucinations. These symptoms may leave a person feeling fearful and withdrawn. Their disorganized behavior can be perceived as incomprehensible or frightening to others.  


People with schizophrenia may not make sense when they talk. They may sit for hours without moving or talking, or may seem like they are talking to themselves. 


Families and society are affected by schizophrenia too. Many people with schizophrenia have difficulty holding a job or taking care of themselves, so they rely on others for help.


Schizophrenia affects both men and women similarly, although some research points to an earlier onset of symptoms in men. Schizophrenia is found in similar rates in all ethnic groups around the world. Symptoms such as hallucinations and delusions usually start between ages 16 and 30. It is not common for schizophrenia to be diagnosed in a person younger than 12 or older than 40. 


Schizophrenia rarely occurs in children, but awareness of childhood-onset schizophrenia is increasing. Additionally, it can be difficult to diagnose schizophrenia in teens. This is because the first signs of the illness can include a change of friends, a drop in grades, sleep problems, and irritability—common behaviors among teens. A combination of factors can predict schizophrenia in up to 80 percent of youth who are at high risk of developing the illness. These factors include isolating oneself and withdrawing from others, an increase in unusual thoughts and suspicions, and a family history of psychosis. In young people who develop the disease, this stage of the disorder when symptoms are vague and easy to miss is called the prodromal period.


People with schizophrenia may display hostility or aggression. It should be noted, however, that the vast majority of people with schizophrenia are not aggressive and pose much more danger to themselves than to anyone else. 


Schizophrenia is typically a chronic condition and people with this diagnosis cope with symptoms throughout life. However, many people with schizophrenia can lead rewarding and meaningful lives in their communities. Researchers are developing more effective medications and using new research tools to understand the causes of schizophrenia. In the years to come, this work may help prevent and better treat the illness.


-Schizoaffective Disorder

Schizoaffective disorder is an unusual psychiatric condition characterized by symptoms of both psychotic (schizophrenic) and mood (depressive, manic) disorders that may occur together or at different times. Because of these varied and overlapping symptoms, schizoaffective disorder manifests in different ways for different people and, as a result, can be more difficult to diagnose and treat than other mental health conditions.



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