Mental Health

What are Mental Disorders and How are They Categorised?

What is a mental disorder?

A mental disease, often known as a mental illness or psychiatric problem, is a pattern of behaviour or thought that significantly impairs personal functioning or causes great misery. These characteristics may be ongoing, relapsing, or only present during specific episodes. Numerous illnesses have been described, and the indications and symptoms of each differ greatly. A mental health expert, typically a clinical psychologist or psychiatrist, may diagnose such conditions.

The root causes of mental illnesses are frequently unknown. Findings from many different domains may be incorporated into theories. Mental disorders are typically identified by a person’s behaviour, feelings, perceptions, or thoughts. This may be connected to specific brain areas or activities, frequently in a social context. One element of mental health is a mental disorder. When developing a diagnosis, societal norms, cultural and religious beliefs, and practices should all be taken into consideration.

Services are provided in psychiatric hospitals or the community, and mental health specialists like psychiatrists, psychologists, psychiatric nurses, and clinical social workers conduct assessments using a variety of techniques, including psychometric tests, but frequently relying on observation and questioning. Different mental health professionals offer treatments. Two main types of treatment are psychotherapy and prescription drugs for mental illnesses. Lifestyle modifications, social interventions, peer support, and self-help are among other treatments. There may be some instances of involuntary confinement or treatment. Programs for prevention have been demonstrated to lessen depression.

Classification of mental disorders

●    Anxiety disorder

Anxiety disorders are defined as periods of anxiety or fear that significantly impair daily functioning. Specific phobias, generalised anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, agoraphobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder are among the types that are frequently recognised.

●    Mood disorder

Disorders can develop in other affective (emotion/mood) pathways as well. Major depression is a mood condition characterised by exceptionally high levels of sadness, melancholy, or despair (also known as unipolar or clinical depression). Dysthymia is a diagnosis for milder but more persistent depression. Mania or hypomania, which are unusually “high” or pressurised mood states, alternate with normal or depressed mood states in bipolar disorder (also known as manic depression). There is some scientific disagreement regarding the degree to which unipolar and bipolar mood events represent separate categories of disease or mingle and integrate along a dimension or mood spectrum.

●    Psychotic disorder

Belief, language, and reality-perception patterns can become out of control (e.g., delusions, thought disorder, hallucindisorders In this field, psychotic disorders like schizophrenia and delusional disorder are psychotic.

People who exhibit symptoms of both affective and schizophrenia diseases are classified as having schizoaffective disorder. Schizotypy is a term used to describe people who exhibit some of the symptoms of schizophrenia but do not reach the cutoff criteria.

●    Personality disorder

If deemed to be abnormally rigid and unadaptive, a person’s personality—the core traits that shape thoughts and behaviours across contexts and time—may be called dysfunctional. Even though some handle them independently, they are included as mental disorders in the most popular categorization schemes, although on a different axis II in the case of the DSM-IV.

The list includes a variety of personality disorders, such as those that are occasionally categorised as eccentric, such as paranoid, schizoid, and schizotypal personality disorders; types that have been described as dramatic or emotional, such as antisocial, borderline, histrionic, or narcissistic personality disorders; and those that are occasionally categorised as fear-related, such as anxious-avoidant, dependent, or obsessive-compulsive personality disorders.

According to general definitions, personality disorders must first manifest in infancy, or at the very least by adolescence or early adulthood. The ICD also has a category for persistent personality changes brought on by traumatic events or mental illnesses.

An inability to adequately adjust to life circumstances may alternatively be classified as an adjustment disorder if it starts within three months of a specific event or situation and resolves within six months after the stressor ceases or is removed. There is a growing consensus that personality disorders, like personality traits generally, combine maladaptive temperamental qualities that are more persistent with acute dysfunctional behaviours that may recover quickly. Additionally, there are non-categorical schemes that rank all people according to a profile of several personality traits without a symptom-based cutoff from typical personality variation, such as dimensional model-based schemes.

●    Eating disorder

Having excessive concern about food and weight is a sign of an eating problem. Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, exercise bulimia, and binge eating disorder are within the categories of disorders in this domain.

●    Sleep disorder

Disruptions to regular sleep cycles are linked to sleep disorders. Insomnia, which is defined as having trouble falling and/or staying asleep, is a frequent sleep problem. Narcolepsy, sleep apnea, REM sleep behaviour disorder, chronic sleep deprivation, and restless leg syndrome are a few other sleep disorders.

Extreme tendencies to fall asleep whenever and anywhere characterise narcolepsy. After their sporadic naps, narcoleptics feel rejuvenated but inevitably fall asleep again. The diagnosis of narcolepsy necessitates an overnight stay at a sleep facility for examination, during which time medical professionals request a thorough sleep history and sleep logs. Actigraphy and polysomnography are other tools used by specialists. A multiple sleep latency test is performed by doctors to gauge how long it takes a patient to sleep.

A critical sleep disorder called sleep apnea occurs when breathing regularly stops and resumes while you’re asleep. Obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, and complicated sleep apnea are the three different forms of sleep apnea. Polysomnography is a sleep centre or at home can both be used to diagnose sleep apnea. Further assistance with sleeping patterns may come from an ear, nose, and throat physician.

●    Sexual disorders

Paraphilias of various types and dyspareunia are sexual disorders (sexual arousal to objects, situations, or individuals that are considered abnormal or harmful to the person or others).

References

  1. https://medlineplus.gov/mentaldisorders.html
  2. https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/mental-disorders
  3. https://archive.org/details/diagnosticstatis0005unse/page/101/mode/2up
  4. https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/mental-health-types-illness
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16488021/
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16903806/
  7. https://web.archive.org/web/20210814051612/https://nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Mental-Health-Conditions/Eating-Disorders
  8. https://web.archive.org/web/20220516195530/https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/narcolepsy/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20375503

Author

 Yash Batra

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