For this weeks research round I am discussing what a mental illness is, difference between psychiatric disorders and neurological disorders, and symptoms of mental illnesses.
A mental illness, also known as psychiatric disorder (3), refers to a wide range of mental health conditions that affect your mood, thinking and behaviour (1); resulting in an inability to cope with life’s ordinary demands and routines (2).
One in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives. Around 450 million people currently suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill health and disability worldwide (4). But what is the difference between a psychiatric disorder and a neurological disorder? A neurological disorder is any disorder in the nervous system. It is the structural, biochemical or electrical abnormalities of the brain (5). Examples of this are epilepsy, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, or multiple sclerosis (6). A psychiatric disorder; however, as I mentioned earlier, is a behavioural disorder, and is not just ‘mental’ but physical too (7). Examples of this are, depression, schizophrenia, eating disorders, or obsessive-compulsive disorders. In general, mental disorders are classified separately from neurological disorders, learning disabilities, or intellectual disabilities (3,7).
There are more than 200 classified forms of mental illnesses (2), the four mental disorders that I will be focusing on for my research rounds are depression, schizophrenia, post traumatic stress disorder, and bulimia nervosa.
A common and serious medical illness that negatively affects how you feel, the way you think and how you act. Depression causes feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. It can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems and can decrease a person’s ability to function at work and at home.
- Feeling sad or having a depressed mood
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
- Changes in appetite — weight loss or gain unrelated to dieting
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- Loss of energy or increased fatigue
- Increase in purposeless physical activity (ex. pacing) or slowed movements and speech (actions observable by others)
- Feeling worthless or guilty
- Difficulty thinking, concentrating or making decisions
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Disturbances in thought (such as delusions), perception (such as hallucinations), and behaviour (such as disorganized speech or catatonic behaviour), by a loss of emotional responsiveness and extreme apathy, and by noticeable deterioration in the level of functioning in everyday life (10).
- Agitated body mouvements
- Reduced speaking
- Reduced feelings of pleasure in everyday life
- Reduced expression of emotion
- Trouble focusing or paying attention
- Problems with "working memory"
- Poor "executive functioning"
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
A mental health condition that's triggered by a terrifying event either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event (12).
- Disturbing thoughts, feelings, or dreams related to the event
- Mental or physical distress to trauma-related cues
- Attempts to avoid trauma-related cues
- Alterations in how a person thinks and feels
- Increased arousal
A serious, potentially life-threatening eating disorder involving distortion of body image characterized by a cycle of bingeing and compensatory behaviours such as self-induced vomiting designed to undo or compensate for the effects of binge eating (14).
- Social isolation
- Having a distorted, excessively negative body image
- Preoccupation body shape and weight
Next week I will be looking at the environmental impact of these four disorders.
Thank you for reading