Types of mental illnesses – Symptoms and treatments
People suffer from many types of mental illnesses at least once during their lifetimes. This article explains some of the most common mental illnesses and what treatments are available for them.
Anxiety Disorder is one of the most common types of mental illness. Everyone experiences bouts of anxiety during stressful situations. Symptoms that escalate into full-blown panic attacks may indicate that the individual is suffering from this disorder. Fortunately, there are medications and relaxation techniques that will help the individual overcome their attacks so that he can lead a normal life. A good counselor or psychologist can also help to uncover the root cause of the anxiety. Other types of anxiety include Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Social Anxiety, and Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
Depression affects millions of people and is one of the most treatable types of mental illness. Depression goes beyond merely feeling sad. It is an all-encompassing state of mind that can cripple a person. The risk of suicide increases with the severity and duration of depression. Symptoms include intense sadness, feeling like nothing matters, crying bouts, inability to get out of bed, mood swings, and the inability to concentrate on the simplest tasks. Counseling, cognitive behavior therapy and medication will help individuals manage, or even overcome, this devastating illness. Types of depression include clinical (or major), manic, and postpartum.
Bipolar Disorder also affects millions of people and is one of the most destructive types of mental illness. This condition causes severe mood swings in people, ranging from depression that lasts for months to reckless manias that can cause physical or emotional harm. A person who suffers from bipolar disorder experiences these mood swings in cycles. Women can suffer from what’s called rapid cycling, where they have multiple episodes in one year. While bipolar disorder often runs in families, it can also be caused by trauma. Medications to relieve the mood swings are available, along with counseling and behavior management.
Schizophrenia is one of the most chronic and disabling types of mental illness. This illness is a serious brain disorder that starts in young adulthood. Distorted thoughts and hallucinations make the individual feel frightened and paranoid, often causing them to withdraw or suffer from psychotic episodes. These episodes vary from person to person. Depending upon the severity of the case, a person can suffer only one psychotic episode during the course of their lifetime or many. Treatment involves medications and psychotherapy. Electroconvulsive Therapy is used for certain types of schizophrenia.
Anorexia and Bulimia Nervosa are two types of mental illness that cause severe psychological reactions and behaviors involved with weight and food. Family history, personality traits, and social factors play a key role in these disorders. Anorexia and Bulimia are more prevalent in women than men. People who suffer from Anorexia have an obsession with being thin and view themselves as obese even though they weigh 85% less than their expected body weight. They exercise too much and often hide food in order to dispose of it later, when no one is looking. Bulimia sufferers have the same obsession with food as anorexic people. The difference is that they will consume large quantities of food, and then use vomiting or a laxative to purge the food from their systems. Counseling and medications can help sufferers overcome these dangerous disorders.