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Psychological Disorders

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Psychological Disorders

Your brain is responsible for controlling your biological functions and your reality. People with psychological disorders often have underlying brain dysfunctions that cause them to not function efficiently in their daily lives. What types of disorders are psychological disorders?

  • First, we will define psychological disorders.
  • Then, we'll dive right into several types of psychological disorders.
  • Moving along, briefly discuss possible causes of psychological disorders.
  • We will take a moment to consider different types of tests for psychological disorders.
  • To conclude, we will look at a few examples of psychological disorders.

Definition of Psychological Disorders

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5) is a diagnostic tool used to diagnose psychological disorders.

Psychological disorder: According to the DSM-5, a psychological disorder is characterized as a condition that affects a person's mood, thinking, and behavior.

Psychological disorders range from mild to severe, and each person presents differently. Many different psychological disorders can onset at any stage of a person's life and affect mental health. The greater toll a mental disorder has on a person's mental health, the greater support the person will need.

Psychological Disorders A man uniting a cable in someone's head Study SmarterPsychological Therapy, Pixabay.com

One in five people in the US has a psychological disorder. Depending on the age of onset and the severity, psychological disorders can be extremely debilitating to a person's life quality and mental health. However, several treatments have been developed to treat a psychological disorder effectively. With treatment, many people live fulfilling lives even with a diagnosed psychological disorder.

While there are advantages to labeling a person's psychological disorder, there are some potential disadvantages. Labels matter. That's why people labeled as "ex-convicts" may have more trouble finding employment. Or, people labeled with a mental illness may be stigmatized as "crazy" or "aggressive".

Stigmatization: the discriminatory belief of a group of people based on distinguishing social characteristics of that group.

Types of Psychological Disorders

Now that we have discussed some causes of mental disorders and mental illnesses, it is important to know the different types that can be classified into groups.

The main groups of psychological disorders are:

  • Anxiety disorders (panic disorders, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and phobias)

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder

  • Trauma (post-traumatic stress disorder)

  • Somatic (somatic symptom disorder, illness anxiety disorder)

  • Dissociative (dissociative amnesia, dissociative fugue, dissociative identity disorder)

  • Depressive disorders (major depressive disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder)

  • Bipolar disorders

  • Schizophrenic

  • Personality (narcissistic, antisocial)

  • Eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia)

  • Neurodevelopmental disorders (ADHD, autism)

  • Organic/Neurocognitive disorders (Alzheimer's disease, delirium)

Each of these disorders has a psychological component and involves the patient's brain causing them to behave in a manner that hurts themselves or others. It is important to know the symptoms and signs associated with each disorder. Knowing the symptoms and signs of each mental illness is crucial for developing a support plan for the patient. Even though each patient may have varying needs for support, it is important to use psychological tests and the DSM-5 criteria to offer high-quality treatment to each patient.

Causes of Psychological Disorders

Psychologists have several theories regarding the causes of psychological disorders. By the 1800s, these theories began to follow a medical model, meaning that mental disorders were now thought of as diseases that could be diagnosed, treated, and (mostly) cured in a hospital. This prompted the mental health movement.

The medical model set the foundation to explain the causes of psychological disorders. One approach to explaining these causes is called the biopsychosocial approach.

The biopsychosocial approach: considers three possible influences - biological, psychological, and social - and observes how they can interact to cause psychological disorders.

Biological influences:

  • Genetics
  • Brain structure and chemistry
  • Evolution

Psychological influences:

  • Trauma
  • Stress
  • Perceptions and memories
  • Learned helplessness

Social-cultural influences

  • Social/cultural expectations
  • Roles
  • Status quo

The biopsychosocial approach has led to the discovery of several effective treatments for psychological disorders, including biomedical therapy, behavioral therapy, and interpersonal therapy. Other approaches to understanding the causes of psychological disorders include:

  • Psychoanalytic/psychodynamic approach - unresolved and unconscious conflicts from early childhood trauma
  • Humanistic approach - poor self-concept as a result of societal expectations
  • Behavioral approach - abnormal behavior causes maladaptive responses
  • Cognitive approach - illogical and distorted thinking causes abnormal behavior

Psychological Disorder Test

Mental health professionals need to administer psychological tests in order to get a better understanding of the patient's current mental health. A better understanding of the patient's mental health equals higher quality support for the patient. Additionally, some patients do not volunteer important information easily. By conducting tests, mental health professionals can gather valuable information that the patient otherwise might not have offered.

A psychological disorder test is clinically useful and is also important in research. They can provide researchers with relevant information regarding the subject's progress on various scales. Psychological tests can test intelligence, personality, and neuropsychological functioning. Here are a few examples:

  • Beck Depression Inventory (BDI)

  • Dissociative experiences scale

  • Goldberg Bipolar Spectrum Screening Questionnaire.

  • Rorschach Test

  • Hamilton Anxiety Scale (HAM-A)

  • Schizophrenia Test and Early Psychosis Indicator (STEP)

  • Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI)

  • The Patient Health Questionnaire-9

  • Thematic Apperception Test (TAT)

Some psychological tests are administered by the clinician. Other times, the patient self-administers the test. The most commonly used personality tests are the Rorschach, TAT, and MMPI.

Examples of Psychological Disorders

Some psychological disorders that impact a person's life include major depressive disorder (MDD) and schizophrenia.

Psychological Disorders [+] Depression/Psychological Disorders Examples[+] Study SmarterDepression, Pixabay.com

Major Depressive Disorder

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is a psychological disorder that affects a person's mood. MDD is characterized by frequent depressive symptoms. People with this disorder struggle with having a depressive mood that causes persistent levels of sadness and hopelessness. This illness is categorized by poor mental health and little support.

Those who suffer from MDD report having frequent crying spells, a loss of interest in pleasurable activities, and frequent suicidal ideations. People with MDD cannot enjoy life because their symptoms are often debilitating, and they rarely seek professional support due to fear of being judged. This mental illness requires professional support in conjunction with medical intervention to expand the patient's ability to manage their depressive moods effectively.

Symptoms of MDD include:

  • Feeling empty inside

  • Insomnia

  • Fatigue

  • Loss of appetite or increased appetite

  • Agitation

  • Trouble concentrating

  • Suicidal ideation

  • Suicidal attempts

  • Self Harm

The symptoms listed above can range from mild to severe depending on the person and can warrant psychological intervention. People with MDD often harm themselves due to having a poor outlook on themselves, poor mental health, and a poor outlook on life which is commonly referred to as negative thoughts/symptoms.

Severe negative thoughts and self-harm in people suffering from MDD warrants emergency intervention known as the Baker Act. Under Baker Act protocol, a person at risk of harming themselves must be held in a psychiatric facility for a minimum of 3 days. As a mental health professional, it is your job to meet with the patient and document the Baker Act in the patient's file to update their treatment progress.

Researchers believe that MDD is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, specifically of the neurotransmitter called serotonin.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter involved in the regulation of mood, reward, learning, and memory. Studies show that people with Major Depressive Disorder and Bipolar Disorder have low serotonin levels, which contributes to their depressive symptoms. The chemical structure of serotonin is depicted below.

Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is another mental illness/psychological disorder that affects a person's daily life. People with schizophrenia suffer from auditory, visual, or tactile hallucinations. Those with schizophrenia have problems with their reality which impacts the patient's ability to expand on the severity of their symptoms during treatment. They may see things that aren't actually there and may hear voices in their heads.

People with schizophrenia usually have difficulty navigating through life as their hallucinations prevent them from functioning properly. As a result, schizophrenic patients often rely heavily on family and professional support. In severe cases of schizophrenia, a person can become catatonic. This condition is known as catatonic schizophrenia.

A person with catatonic schizophrenia has significant reductions in movement and will require full-time care due to the severe impact on daily life. People with this form of schizophrenia rarely talk or move and need constant assistance with eating, bathing, and going to the bathroom. People with catatonic schizophrenia require constant support from family and mental health professionals. This form of schizophrenia makes it extremely hard for the patient to expand on their feelings due to their inability to carry on a conversation.

Psychological Disorders - Key takeaways

  • According to the DSM-5, a psychological/ mental disorder is characterized as a condition that affects a person's mood, thinking, and behavior.
  • Psychological/mental disorders range from mild to severe, and each person presents differently.
  • People suffering from severe psychological/ mental disorders often require assistance completing everyday tasks such as bathing, brushing their teeth, and cooking.
  • People with MDD often harm themselves due to having a poor outlook on themselves and life, which is commonly referred to as negative thoughts/symptoms.
  • In severe cases of schizophrenia, a person can become catatonic. This condition is known as catatonic schizophrenia.

References

  1. Bruce, D. F. (n.d.). Depression Tests -- Blood Tests, Screening, and Other Tests.
  2. Depression major depressive disorder, 2018, February 03

Frequently Asked Questions about Psychological Disorders

A psychological disorder is characterized as a condition that affects a person's mood, thinking, and behavior.

Examples of psychological disorders include: major depressive disorder, schizophrenia, post traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, and anxiety disorder. 

The main groups of psychological disorders are: 


  • Anxiety disorders (panic disorders, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and phobias)

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder 

  • Trauma (post-traumatic stress disorder)

  • Somatic (somatic symptom disorder, illness anxiety disorder)

  • Dissociative (dissociative amnesia, dissociative fugue, dissociative identity disorder)

  • Depressive disorders (major depressive disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder)

  • Bipolar disorders

  • Schizophrenic

  • Personality (narcissistic, antisocial)

  • Eating disorders (anorexia, bulimia)

  • Neurodevelopmental disorders (ADHD, autism)

  • Organic/Neurocognitive disorders (Alzheimer's disease, delirium)

Symptoms of psychological disorders range from mild to severe and include depression, negative thoughts, hallucinations, and psychosis, depending on the type of disorder. 

The biopsychosocial approach considers three possible influences - biological, psychological, and social - and observes how they can interact to cause psychological disorders.  


Other approaches to understanding the causes of psychological disorders include: 

  • Psychoanalytic/psychodynamic approach 
  • Humanistic approach
  • Behavioral approach 
  • Cognitive approach

Final Psychological Disorders Quiz

Question

What is a psychological disorder?

Show answer

Answer

A condition that affects a person's mood, thinking, and behavior. 

Show question

Question

A psychological disorder can present at any stage in life. Select the best answer. 

Show answer

Answer

True 

Show question

Question

What effects do psychological disorders have on affected patients?

Show answer

Answer

Psychological disorders are usually severe and require hospitalization. 

Show question

Question

What are some psychological disorders? Select all that apply. 

Show answer

Answer

Major Depressive Disorder. 

Show question

Question

Which of the following are symptoms of major depressive Disorder? 

Show answer

Answer

Insomnia 

Show question

Question

What is the term used for emergency intervention when a person is as risk of harming themselves?

Show answer

Answer

Baker Act 

Show question

Question

What neurotransmitter is believed to be imbalanced in people with MDD? 

Show answer

Answer

Serotonine 

Show question

Question

What are some symptoms of schizophrenia?

Show answer

Answer

Auditory hallucinations 

Show question

Question

What form of schizophrenia is characterized by a significant reduction in movement and function?

Show answer

Answer

Catatonic schizophrenia 

Show question

Question

What are some tests used by mental health professionals to test for MDD?

Show answer

Answer

The Patient Health Questionnaire 

Show question

Question

What are some causes of psychological disorders?

Show answer

Answer

Family history 

Show question

Question

How many subgroups of psychological disorders are there?

Show answer

Answer

6

Show question

Question

What are the subgroups of psychological disorders?

Show answer

Answer

Anxiety disorders

Show question

Question

What are some psychotic disorders?

Show answer

Answer

Schizophrenia 

Show question

Question

What are some eating disorders?

Show answer

Answer

Anorexia 

Show question

Question

How many people are diagnosed with a psychological disorder in the US?

Show answer

Answer

1 in 4

Show question

Question

What is stigmatization?

Show answer

Answer

Discrimination against a group of people based on distinguishing social characteristics of that group

Show question

Question

How does stigma affect people with psychological disorders?

Show answer

Answer

They can be viewed as "crazy" and therefore not taken seriously or viewed humanely

Show question

Question

Why was the medical model of treating mental disorders important?

Show answer

Answer

It caused people to view these afflictions as disorders that could be diagnosed and treated

Show question

Question

What is the biopsychosocial approach?

Show answer

Answer

Tries to explain why mental health problems come about due to biological, psychological, and social factors 

Show question

Question

What is not a reason for a psychologist to administer a psychological test?

Show answer

Answer

Patients wouldn't tell the psycholgist

Show question

Question

True or false? 


A psychological disorder test can only be used to diagnose psychological disorders.  

Show answer

Answer

True

Show question

Question

True or false?


A psychological disorder only affects someone's mood, thinking, and behavior but not social skills. 

Show answer

Answer

True

Show question

Question

True or false?


People with the same disorder tend to present the disorder the same. 

Show answer

Answer

True

Show question

Question

What is not a type of psychological disorder?

Show answer

Answer

Anxiety disorder

Show question

Question

What is not a type of psychological disorder?

Show answer

Answer

Dissociative disorder

Show question

Question

Why is continuing to end the stigmatization around mental health so important?

Show answer

Answer

It will stop people from being scared to get help since there will be less of a stigma 

Show question

Question

What is not included in the biopsychosocial approach?

Show answer

Answer

Biological factors

Show question

Question

Why is it important to understand the symptoms of psychological disorders?

Show answer

Answer

Recognizing and understanding the symptoms leads to an appropriate plan of support getting developed

Show question

Question

Is the biopsychosocial approach to psychological disorders the only accepted one?

Show answer

Answer

No! There's the psychoanalytic/psychodynamic approach, humanistic approach, behavioral approach, and cognitive approach. 

Show question

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