September 22, 2014
Psychological Disorders and Treatment
A psychological disorder can occur at any stage in one’s life and to anyone. Much like a physical disease such as cancer, they do not discriminate. In our society, there seems to be certain stigmas and stereotypes attached to psychological disorders (although there is more understanding in recent years) and counseling for them, even though many may be overcome, or at least managed in this way, and this is needed for not just your mind or emotional health, but also for your whole self , as your physical wellness is directly related to your mind and emotions.
Sometimes referred to as the Bible of Psychiatry, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is a manual that contains all the mental health disorders, the cause, prognosis, and treatment methods for each disorder. It is used to better understand the patients illness and needs, as well as treatment options. It is published by the American Psychiatric Association and uses a multidimensional approach to reach a diagnosis. The five dimensions are clinical syndromes, developmental disorders and personality disorders, physical condition, severity of psychological stressors, and highest level of functioning. The previous classification system, which is not current but still relevant to some classes, were two main categories: neurosis and psychosis. Neurosis is characterized by anxiety, often resulting from inner conflict. Psychosis is characterized by loss of contact with reality, delusional, irrational thoughts, and/or hallucinations. These have been replaced with specific classifications.
The Anxiety Disorders, with the main feature in this category being abnormal or inappropriate anxiety which occurs when one’s heart races, breathing increases, and muscles tense without any reason for them to do so, include the following:
1) Acute Stress Disorder- results from traumatic event in which the person responded with intense fear and helplessness. Symptoms include detachment, re-experiencing event, and significant anxiety. The disorder may resolve itself, or medication and therapy may be useful in preventing development of more serious disorder. Prognosis is very good.
2) Agoraphobia- generalized fear of being in places difficult to escape or embarrassing and without help is panic attack occurs. Prognosis is good when there is insight to development and with realization the fears are irrational.
3) Generalized Anxiety Disorder- overwhelming anxiety not related to specific event. Medication and therapy helpful to regain control over symptoms. Prognosis is good, however, underlying issues are more difficult to treat.
4) Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder- biological and psychological causes. Prognosis depends on response to medication and how deeply rooted the underlying issues are.
5) Panic Disorder- sudden attacks of intense fear. Treatment includes relaxation exercises and working through underlying issues. Prognosis is good if not left untreated to worsen and develop into Agoraphobia.
6) Phobias- extreme anxiety and fear associated with the object, situation, or avoidance that is disruptive to everyday functions. With behavioral therapy, prognosis is good.
7) Posttraumatic Stress Disorder- re-experiencing the traumatic event through nightmares, obsessive thoughts, and flashbacks, along with avoidance to anything that reminds the person of that event. Prognosis is moderate to good. Some can be treated with anxiety medication, but primarily psychological treatment.
The category of Adjustment Disorders include Unspecified, with Anxiety, with Depressed Mood, with Disturbance of Conduct, with Mixed Anxiety and Depressed Mood, and with Mixed Disturbance of Emotions and Conduct. All of these disorders relate to a more difficult adjustment to a life situation than would normally be expected.
Another category is called Dissociative