Anxiety Disorders including Generalized and Social Anxiety Disorders
In a healthy individual, the stress response (fight or flight) is provoked by a genuine threat or challenge and is used as a spur for appropriate action.
Anxiety disorders, however, involve an excessive or inappropriate state of arousal characterized by feelings of apprehension, uncertainty, or fear of a potential threat. The anxiety response is often not triggered by an actual threat or danger. Nevertheless it can still paralyze someone into inaction or withdrawal. An anxiety disorder persists even though the threat is removed.
Types of anxiety disorders include:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
- Panic Disorder and Panic Attacks
- Specific Phobias
- Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia)
- Separation Anxiety Disorder and Selective Mutism (which typically although not exclusively occur in children)
Cognitive Disorders including Delirium, Dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease, Amnesia
Cognitive disorders are defined as any disorder that significantly impairs the cognitive function of an individual to the point where normal functioning in society is impossible without treatment.
Dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life. Memory loss is an example. Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia.
Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most common cognitive disorders, affecting approximately 5.4 million Americans. It typically begins with minor signs of forgetfulness such as difficulty remembering well-known names or recent events. Initial symptoms are often indistinguishable from normal memory errors. However, as the disease progresses, the affected person’s memory becomes persistently impaired.
Delirium is a serious disturbance in mental abilities that results in confused thinking and reduced awareness of your environment. The start of delirium is usually rapid — within hours or a few days. Delirium can often be traced to one or more contributing factors, such as a severe or chronic medical illness, changes in your metabolic balance (such as low sodium), medication, infection, surgery, or alcohol or drug withdrawal.
Amnesia refers to the loss of memories, such as facts, information and experiences. People with amnesia are usually lucid and know who they are, but may have trouble learning new information and forming new memories. It can be caused by damage to areas of the brain that are vital for memory processing. Amnesia can be permanent.
Developmental Disorders including ADHD and Asperger’s Syndrome
Developmental Disorders/ADHD is a group of psychiatric conditions originating in childhood that involve serious impairment in different areas. Some developmental disorders include Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Asperger’s Syndrome.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is usually diagnosed during childhood and often persists into adulthood. It is the most commonly diagnosed behavioral disorder in children and can cause significant problems with home, school, and social interaction.
Symptoms of ADHD include inattention, wandering off task, having difficulty maintaining focus, being disorganized, hyperactivity, excessive running about, fidgeting, tapping, or talking, and impulsivity.
Asperger’s syndrome is a condition on the autism spectrum, with generally higher functioning. This developmental disorder affects a person’s ability to effectively socialize and communicate. People with this condition may be socially awkward and have an all-absorbing interest in specific topics.
Mood Disorders including Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Seasonal Affective Disorder
Mood disorders are a category of illnesses that describe a serious change in mood. Major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, and SAD (seasonal affective disorder) are included in this category.
Depression is when feelings of loss, anger, sadness, or frustration make it hard for you to do the things you enjoy in everyday life. Although everyone feels sad sometimes, depression lasts longer and interferes with your daily life. With major depression, a person must be depressed for at least 2 weeks, but often for as long as 20 weeks.
People with Bipolar Disorder have moods that swing from depression to mania. Also called manic-depressive disorder.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a kind of depression that is seasonal and happens when there is less sunlight. It starts during fall-winter and disappears during spring-summer.
Personality Disorders including Narcissism, Paranoia, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Personality disorders are a group of mental health conditions in which a person has a long-term pattern of behaviors, emotions, and thoughts that are very different from his or her culture’s expectations. These behaviors interfere with the person’s ability to function in relationships, work, or other settings.
Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. This can cause problems in many areas of life, such as relationships, work, school or financial affairs.
Paranoid Personality Disorder
Paranoid Personality Disorder is a condition in which a person has a long-term pattern of distrust and suspicion of others, but does not have a full-blown psychotic disorder such as schizophrenia.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a common, chronic and long-lasting disorder in which a person has uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions) that he or she feels the urge to repeat over and over.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a disorder that is brought on by memories of an extremely stressful event or series of events that cause intense fear, particularly if feelings of helplessness accompanied the fear. That event may be war, physical or sexual assault or abuse, an accident (such as an airplane crash or a serious motor vehicle accident), or a mass disaster. Symptoms of PTSD usually develop within the first 3 months after the event, but they may not surface until months or even years after the original traumatic event.
Symptoms may include:
- Intrusive thoughts recalling the traumatic event
- Efforts to avoid feelings and thoughts that either remind you of the traumatic event or that trigger similar feelings
- Feeling detached or unable to connect with loved ones
- Depression, hopelessness
- Feelings of guilt (from the false belief that you were responsible for the traumatic incident)
- Irritability or angry outbursts
- Hypervigilance (being overly aware of possible danger)
- Hypersensitivity, including at least two of the following reactions: trouble sleeping, being angry, having difficulty concentrating, startling easily, having a physical reaction (rapid heart rate or breathing, increase in blood pressure)
Psychotic Disorders including Schizophrenia and Delusional Disorders
People with psychotic disorders lose contact with reality and experience a range of extreme symptoms that usually include hallucinations (hearing or seeing things that are not real, such as voices) and delusions (believing things that are not true).
Schizophrenia is a severe, lifelong brain disorder. People who have it may hear voices, see things that aren’t there or believe that others are reading or controlling their minds. Symptoms might include hallucinations, or seeing things, and delusions such as hearing voices, unusual thoughts or perceptions, disorders of movement, difficulty speaking and expressing emotion, and problems with attention, memory and organization.
Delusional disorder is a disorder where a person has trouble recognizing reality. A delusion is a false belief that is based on an incorrect interpretation of reality. A person with this illness holds a false belief firmly, despite clear evidence or proof to the contrary. Delusions may involve circumstances that could occur in reality even though they are unlikely (for example, the family next door plotting to kill you). Or they may be considered “bizarre” (for example, feeling controlled by an outside force or having thoughts inserted into your head).
Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders
Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders are disturbances in sexual desire that cause distress and difficulties with interpersonal relationships.
Gender Identity Disorder is defined by strong, persistent feelings of identification with the opposite gender and discomfort with one’s own assigned sex that results in significant distress or impairment. For instance, a person identified as a boy may feel and act like a girl.
Sleep Disorders including Insomnia
Sleep disorders are changes in sleeping patterns or habits that can negatively affect health and that frequently impact your ability to get enough quality sleep. Disorders can include Insomnia, Restless Legs Syndrome, Shift work & Circadian Rhythm Disorders, and Narcolepsy.
Most cases of insomnia are related to poor sleep habits, depression, anxiety, lack of exercise, chronic illness, or certain medications. Symptoms may include difficulty falling or staying asleep and not feeling well-rested.
Insomnia can sap not only your energy level and mood but also your health, work performance and quality of life.
Substance-Related Disorders including Alcohol Abuse and Chemical Dependency
Substance-related disorders are disorders of intoxication, dependence, abuse, and substance withdrawal caused by various substances, both legal and illegal.
Alcohol Abuse is a pattern of drinking that interferes with day-to-day activities. With alcohol abuse, a person is not yet physically dependent on alcohol, but still has a serious drinking problem.
Symptoms include a failure to fulfill major work, school, or home responsibilities, legal or social problems, or drinking in situations that are dangerous, such as while driving.
Chemical dependency is a primary disease in which a person becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol. People with chemical dependency continue to use drugs or alcohol, even knowing that continued use causes damages to their bodies, families, finances, and all other aspects of life.
Signs and symptoms of chemical dependency are loss of interest in formerly enjoyable activities and preoccupation with the drug (including spending excessive amounts of time figuring out where to get the next dose and daydreaming about using the drug).