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Mental health disorders and symptoms

Many people in the world suffer from various kinds of mental disorders. However, timely diagnosis and treatment are crucial factors in overcoming one's mental disorder. There are certain criteria which distinguish mental disorders from mental health.

Definition of Mental Disorders

Basically, a mental disorder or a mental illness is a condition which manifests through certain abnormal behavioral change, affecting an individual on a subjective level. However, some mental disorders may present a mixture of different changes, encompassing affective, behavioral, cognitive and perceptual components of one's mental health.

Over the course of history, the social perception of mental illnesses has changed significantly, varying in cultures and different parts of the world. Even today there are certain variations in this recognition of mental illnesses, regarding their definition, assessment and classification. Some mental disorders can be diagnosed solely based on the harm they cause to other individuals, regardless of the person's symptoms or the public perception.

Interestingly, more than 33% of people all over the world show signs of a major category of mental disorders at least once in their lives. These occurrences are mostly triggered by interwoven factors of genetics and personal experience of the affected individuals.

Nevertheless, women are more prone to depression and 73 million of women become depressed annually, with suicide being one of the most common ways of death for female individuals between 20 and 59 years of age.

Various methods can be used for diagnosing and treating mental disorders and there are many hospitals and health services which are in charge of these processes. As far as treatment is concerned, psychotherapy and psychiatric medications are the most common interventions.

Types of Mental Health Disorders and their Symptoms

If anxiety or fear levels interfere with one's proper conduct and functioning, the condition is labeled as anxiety disorder. Phobias, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, OCD and traumatic stress disorder are all categories of anxiety disorder.

Mood disorders are other type of mental health problems, manifesting through intense sadness, melancholia or despair in cases of depression. Furthermore, if a person has bouts of manic behavioral patterns which suddenly change into depression, the two moods alternating between each other, the condition is called bipolar disorder.

In some cases of mental health disorder, patients experience an abnormal change in their patterns of belief, their perception and even their language. In these situations, they may suffer from delusions, thought disorders or hallucinations. These kinds of disorders are named psychotic and include schizophrenia and delusional disorder.

Personality disorders mainly manifest through changes in behavior or thoughts of certain individuals, especially if their patterns of conduct can be classified as abnormally rigid or maladaptive. Since there are many different types of personality disorders, they can further be divided into eccentric, encompassing paranoid, schizoid or schizotypal personality disorders, dramatic, such as antisocial, borderline, histrionic or narcissistic behavioral disorders and fear-related disorders including avoidant, dependent or obsessive-compulsive personality disorder.

Next, there are eating disorders, sleeping disorders, sexual or identity disorders, substance dependence, addictions and various conduct disorders. While eating disorders manifest through abnormalities regarding one's bodyweight and eating habits, including bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa, exercise bulimia and others, sleeping disorders are a group consisting of insomnia, hypersomnia and other kinds of abnormal sleep pattern disruptions. As for sexual disorders, gender identity disorder, ego-dystonic homosexuality and numerous types of paraphilia all belong to this category. Here, the affected individuals experience sexual arousal when exposed to objects, certain situations or abnormal individuals.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Mental Health Disorders

As for the causes behind mental disorders, most of these are related to emotional traumas during childhood and certain genetic factors.

Sometimes, different branches of psychiatry follow different models of explaining and diagnosis certain disorders. Thus, the Western psychiatry is known to mainly concentrate on the biopsychosocial model, taking biological, social and psychological factors into consideration, while biopsychiatry focuses solely on the organic factors such as the brain. Furthermore, psychoanalytic theories are based on cognitive-behavioral and systemic-family approaches.

Many occurrences of mental health problems are dealt with during regular visits to the family physician, through consultations and other such forms of therapy. However, some more serious cases many need a more professional type of assessment such as the one carried out by clinical psychologists.

Unfortunately, the psychiatrists of today rarely have enough funds and time to invest in further research which might improve diagnostic evaluation of patients with mental health disorders. Rather, an open-minded approach is used, leading to inaccurate diagnosis in the majority of cases.

The most commonly misdiagnosed mental disorders are hallucinations and delusions, often being mistaken for nutritional deficiencies.

People who suffer from mental health disorders can undergo a variety of different treatments. Psychotherapy is one of the possible solutions where, depending on the type of the disorder, the patient may undergo cognitive-behavioral therapy, psychoanalysis or family therapy.

Alternatively, the patient may need to take specific kinds of drugs such as antidepressants, anxiolytics or mood stabilizers. Also, stimulants can be used for conditions such as ADHD.

All in all, there are many different mental disorders people can suffer from. However, the whole branch of psychology and psychiatry is getting modified and changed throughout the human existence. New disorders are discovered, as well as new treatments. Nevertheless, reacting timely upon noticing the symptoms is a crucial step towards getting cured.

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