Mental disorders - symptoms, description, treatment
Updated 12 months ago on April 03, 2023
Mental disorders do not always manifest themselves clearly enough. Some diseases take years to develop, unusual traits in a person's character and behavior appear gradually, and a stable state can alternate with breakdowns. It is important to notice the manifestations of mental illness and seek treatment. Most symptoms can be treated with medication and therapy, and the disorder itself can be cured or significantly alleviated, returning the patient to a healthy life and social activities. Clearly pronounced manifestations of mental disorders:
- Asthenic syndrome. Accompanies not only many mental disorders, but also physical illnesses. With asthenia, weakness, mood swings, and hypersensitivity are observed. The person easily falls into tears and becomes irritable, is easily tired and can no longer cope with the usual tasks at school or work.
- A person with a mental disorder may complain of unusual sensations in the body: burning and tingling, pressure, movement of "something" in the head or body. It may feel like there is a foreign object in the body.
- Compulsive states and irrational rituals. Going home several times to check if the iron or gas is off, the desire to constantly wash your hands, knocking on a tree three times at any danger of "jinxing" are all manifestations of an obsessive belief that such repeated actions will save you from trouble and protect you. Constant doubts, anxiety, and thoughts "stuck in your head" do not allow you to calm down and think rationally.
- Mood changes that are not natural to the person. Unreasonable sadness and depression or, on the contrary, unnatural carelessness, euphoria, morbid apathy, fidgeting, irritability, tearfulness, increased or decreased sexual libido appear.
- Appetite disorders: either unquenchable hunger or complete indifference to food appears. Sometimes a person complains that food has become completely tasteless.
- Hypochondria. A person is firmly convinced that he is seriously ill. A constant search for illnesses and listening to the slightest changes in the body begins.
- Illusions or hallucinations. Illusions are when a person sees existing objects and phenomena in a distorted way (shadows as monsters, moving patterns, etc.), hallucinations make one feel things that do not exist. Auditory, visual, tactile, gustatory and olfactory hallucinations are indicative of a mental disorder.
Mental disorders almost always lead to changes in thinking. A sudden infatuation with esoterics or magic, a persistent belief in conspiracy theories and aliens, a belief in one's exclusivity, a special mission, persecution mania - all these are also signs of mental disorders. Another clear signal is sharp desocialization. If a person begins to sharply destroy social ties, stops watching himself, prefers not to go out of the house, does shocking things, and forsakes his career and former hobbies, it is likely that the cause is a mental disorder.
Treatment of mental disorders is divided into two methods: somatic and psychotherapeutic. Somatic methods are aimed at normalizing the nervous system and the entire body. These are medications (antidepressants, sedatives, mood stabilizers) and therapy aimed at brain stimulation (electroconvulsive therapy, transcranial magnetic stimulation and vagus nerve stimulation). Brain stimulation is used to treat depression. In the course of therapy, neurotransmitters responsible for thought processes, mood and concentration are released from the cells. In this way it is possible to control emotional reactions and moods, influence the patient's state of activity and energy, and alleviate the symptoms of depression. This method is applied most often when the patient does not react to medications and psychotherapy. It is most effective to combine medications and stimulation therapy with psychotherapeutic aid for mental disorders.
In the treatment of mental disorders, the ultimate goal is to bring the patient back into society, to relieve not only the physical but also the psychological suffering. People with mental illness are often lonely, face misunderstanding and judgment, and need support. Despite the fact that the causes of many mental disorders are negative life experiences or traumatic experiences, clinics usually only use medication. And the patient is still left with his problems, fears and doubts after discharge. To cope with the psychological side of the disease, psychotherapeutic methods are needed: psychotherapy, behavioral therapy and hypnotherapy. Professional help for mental disorders includes a mix of somatic and psychotherapeutic methods.
Psychotherapy in the treatment of mental disorders makes it possible to analyze distortions in thinking (cognitive therapy), the causes of problems in relations with people (interpersonal therapy), painful experiences and established reactions (psychoanalysis, psychodynamic therapy) and to develop new ways of knowing and responding to the surrounding reality. With the help of behavioral therapy, the patient gets rid of neurotic behavior and "learns" to behave in a new way in different life situations, including stressful ones. This method is often used in the treatment of phobias in order to "teach" the person to react adequately to the object of fear. Hypnosis is used to relieve pain, eliminate fear and anxiety, and as a sedative. With the help of hypnotherapy it is possible to find out the deep causes of a mental disorder and to make a therapeutic suggestion. Such help for mental disorders is used less frequently due to the varying susceptibility of people to hypnotic suggestion and contraindications for some types of mental disorders.
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