Common Types of Psychiatric Illnesses

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According to The National Alliance on Mental Illness, psychiatric illnesses contribute to the leading cause of disability the world over.(1) About one in five adults—43.8 million people or 18.5 percent—experience a mental illness within a given year and about one in five youths ages 13-18 experiences a severe mental illness at some point. (2) Fifty percent of psychiatric illnesses begin by age 14, and 75 percent are present by age 24.

Depression

About 16 million Americans experienced depression within the previous year. Depression isn’t just feeling sad or down. Depression is related to specific symptoms that last for more than 2 weeks. These symptoms may include:

  • Lack of energy
  • Lack of interest in once-pleasurable activities (anhedonia)
  • Feelings of hopelessness and isolation
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Self-harm
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

Approximately 9 percent of children ages 3-17 and 4 percent of adults struggle with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. ADHD is characterized by inattentive behavior that can include:

  • Being easily distracted
  • Losing or misplacing everyday items
  • Having difficulty focusing
  • Difficulty following directions

Signs of hyperactive behavior can include:

  • Excessive talkativeness
  • Having trouble remaining quiet during activities
  • Excessive jitteriness

These combined behaviors must be present for a minimum of 6 months.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder

This disorder is characterized by chronic worry as it relates to things and events in everyday life. This can affect many areas related to school, work and one’s social and family life in which a person may avoid daily activities due to an overwhelming sense of fear and anxiety. A person may become overtly exhausted by worrying and may subsequently develop headaches, migraines or stomach aches. Some symptoms of this illness may include:

  • Constant nervousness
  • Feeling faint or short of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Feeling tense or on edge
  • Irritability
  • Negative thinking or expecting the worse in a situation

Bipolar Disorder

The average age of onset for bipolar disorder is 25, and 2.9 percent of the U.S. population is diagnosed annually. Bipolar disorder is indicative of intense high-to-low, low-to-high mood shifts. One’s high, or manic, symptoms may include:

  • Lack of sleep
  • Excessive energy
  • Excessive spending
  • Sexual promiscuity
  • Inability to focus
  • Loss of control

One’s low, or depressive, symptoms may include:

  • Lack of energy
  • Feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness
  • Isolation
  • Self-harm
  • Thoughts of suicide

The depressive symptoms may mimic those of depression except that they are generally more intense.

With most psychiatric illnesses, research has shown that a combination of one’s genes and environment contributes to the onset. In other words, brain chemistry and activity coupled with outside stressors related to one’s family, school and social life play a vital role in developing a psychiatric illness.

At High Focus Centers, we recognize the importance of treating psychiatric illnesses. Our DBT-focused program can help you or your loved one recognize and implement the needed changes to live a healthy and productive life. Our dedicated and compassionate staff understand that psychiatric illnesses are serious and debilitating. Your do not have to suffer. High Focus Centers can help.

About the Author

Raymond Prohaska,
Mental Health Associate & MSW Intern

References

  1. http://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions
  2. http://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-By-the-Numbers