Historical overview Early history References to mental disorders in early Egyptian, Indian, Greek, and Roman writings show that the physicians and philosophers who contemplated problems of human behaviour regarded mental illnesses as a reflection of the displeasure of the gods or as evidence of demoniac possession.
Types and causes of mental disorders Classification and epidemiology Psychiatric classification attempts to bring order to the enormous diversity of mental symptoms, syndromes, and illnesses that are encountered in clinical practice. Epidemiology is the measurement of the prevalence, or frequency of occurrence, of these psychiatric disorders in different human populations.
Much of this information is gathered by the mental health practitioner e. The practitioner may administer any of several psychological tests to the patient and may supplement these with a physical and a neurological examination.
Diagnosis is as important in mental health treatment as it is in medical treatment. Classification systems in psychiatry aim to distinguish groups of patients who share the same or related clinical symptoms in order to provide an appropriate therapy and accurately predict the prospects of recovery for any individual member of that group.
Thus, a diagnosis of depression, for example, would lead the practitioner to consider antidepressant drugs when preparing a course of treatment.
Sometimes two words with quite different derivations have come to mean almost the same thing—for example, dementia praecox and schizophrenia. Psychiatry is hampered by the fact that the cause of many mental illnesses is unknown, and so convenient diagnostic distinctions cannot be made among such illnesses as they can, for instance, in infectious medicinewhere infection with a specific type of bacterium is a reliable indicator for a diagnosis of tuberculosis.
But the greatest difficulties presented by mental disorders as far as classification and diagnosis are concerned are that the same symptoms are often found in patients with different or unrelated disorders and a patient may show a mix of symptoms properly belonging to several different disorders.
Thus, although the categories of mental illness are defined according to symptom patterns, course, and outcome, the illnesses of many patients constitute intermediate cases between such categories, and the categories themselves may not necessarily represent distinct disease entities and are often poorly defined.
The 10th revision of the former, published inis widely used in western Europe and other parts of the world for epidemiological and administrative purposes. Its nomenclature is deliberately conservative in conception so that it can be used by clinicians and mental health care systems in different countries.
The 11th revision ICD was slated for publication in The DSM, by contrast, has undergone five revisions since its introduction in ; the most recent version, DSM-5, was presented in The DSM differs from the ICD in its introduction of precisely described criteria for each diagnostic category; its categorizations are based upon the detailed description of symptoms.
Its detailed descriptions of diagnostic criteria have been useful in eradicating the inconsistencies of earlier classifications. However, there are still some major problems in its everyday clinical use. These terms have been and still are widely used to distinguish between classes of mental disorders, though there are various mental illnesses, such as personality disordersthat cannot be classified as either psychoses or neuroses.
Furthermore, its use of broad diagnostic criteria and its lack of inclusion of diagnostic criteria based on known biological factors have been sources of criticism. Psychoses Psychoses are major mental illnesses that are characterized by severe symptoms such as delusionshallucinationsdisturbances of the thinking process, and defects of judgment and insight.
Persons with psychoses exhibit a disturbance or disorganization of thoughtemotion, and behaviour so profound that they are often unable to function in everyday life and may be incapacitated or disabled.
Such individuals are often unable to realize that their subjective perceptions and feelings do not correlate with objective reality, a phenomenon evinced by persons with psychoses who do not know or will not believe that they are ill despite the distress they feel and their obvious confusion concerning the outside world.
Traditionally, the psychoses have been broadly divided into organic and functional psychoses. Organic psychoses were believed to result from a physical defect of or damage to the brain. Functional psychoses were believed to have no physical brain disease evident upon clinical examination.
Much research suggests that this distinction between organic and functional is probably inaccurate. Most psychoses are now believed to result from some structural or biochemical change in the brain.
Neuroses Neuroses, or psychoneurosesare less-serious disorders in which people may experience negative feelings such as anxiety or depression.
Their functioning may be significantly impaired, but personality remains relatively intact, the capacity to recognize and objectively evaluate reality is maintained, and they are basically able to function in everyday life.
In contrast to people with psychoses, neurotic patients know or can be made to realize that they are ill, and they usually want to get well and return to a normal state. Their chances for recovery are better than those of persons with psychoses. The symptoms of neurosis may sometimes resemble the coping mechanisms used in everyday life by most people, but in neurotics these defensive reactions are inappropriately severe or prolonged in response to an external stress.
Anxiety disorders, phobic disorder exhibited as unrealistic fear or dreadconversion disorder formerly known as hysteriaobsessive-compulsive disorderand depressive disorders have been traditionally classified as neuroses.
Epidemiology Epidemiology is the study of the distribution of disease in different populations.Mental Health and Learning Disability Home Page Other word lists Mental Health History Words The index on the left has yellow entries for .
There are many different mental disorders, with different presentations. They are generally characterized by a combination of abnormal thoughts, perceptions, emotions, behaviour and relationships with others. Mental disorders include: depression, bipolar affective disorder, schizophrenia and other.
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A mental disorder, also called a mental illness or psychiatric disorder, is a behavioral or mental pattern that causes significant distress or impairment of personal functioning. Such features may be persistent, relapsing and remitting, or occur as a single episode.
Many disorders have been described, with signs and symptoms that vary widely .