How Do Doctors Diagnose Mental Illness
Unlike diabetes or cancer there is no medical test that can provide a diagnosis of mental illness. A health care professional can do a number of things in an evaluation including a physical exam and long term monitoring to rule out any underlying medical conditions that may be causing symptoms.
What Causes Mental Illness
There is no single cause for mental illness. A number of factors can contribute to risk for mental illness, such as
- Early adverse life experiences, such as trauma or a history of abuse
- Experiences related to other ongoing medical conditions, such as cancer or diabetes
- Biological factors or chemical imbalances in the brain
- Use of alcohol or drugs
- Having feelings of loneliness or isolation
People can experience different types of mental illnesses or disorders, and they can often occur at the same time. Mental illnesses can occur over a short period of time or be episodic. This means that the mental illness comes and goes with discrete beginnings and ends. Mental illness can also be ongoing or long-lasting.
There are more than 200 types of mental illness. Some of the main types of mental illness and disorders are listed here.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsivity are hallmarks of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder . Most often, the diagnosis is during adolescence. According to some estimates, 8.8% of children between the ages of 4 and 17 have ADHD. The disorder is not unique to children, however. About 4.4% of adults 18-44 are known to suffer from ADHD.
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Types Of Mental Health Disorders
People of all sexes, ages, genders, races, and socioeconomic groups can suffer from mental health disorders. Many factors can trigger illness, and illnesses can range from mild to severe. In general, people with mental disorders find it difficult to cope with everyday life because of their altered thinking, moods, or behaviors.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that more than half of all people will be diagnosed with a mental illness at some point in their life. Though there are many different mental disorders, some are more common than others. This article examines ten of the most common mental illnesses among American adults.
Disruptive Impulse Control And Conduct Disorders
Disruptive, impulse control and conduct disorders are those that involve an inability to control emotions and behaviors, resulting in harm to oneself or others.
These challenges with emotional and behavioral regulation are characterized by actions that violate the rights of others such as destroying property or physical aggression and/or those that conflict with societal norms, authority figures, and laws. These disorders include:
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What Is The Most Severe Mental Illness
Serious mental illness includes schizophrenia the subset of major depression called severe, major depression the subset of bipolar disorder classified as severe and a few other disorders. Therefore total severe mental illness in adults by diagnosis: 5.3% of the population without accounting for overlap.
Addiction & Substance Abuse
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 5th edition classifies addiction to prescription drugs and alcohol as mental health disorders. There are severe, sometimes life-threatening, side effects associated with different drugs. Almost all addicts and substance abusers struggle with co-occurring disorders. Mose of those co-occurring disorders means they also suffer from depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or other untreated illnesses in addition.
If you or a loved one is struggling with a mental health disorder, Life Adjustment Team can help. We are eager to help you get your life back on the right track and feel better so you can take on the world again.
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Health Systems And Social Support
Health systems have not yet adequately responded to the needs of people with mental disorders and are significantly under resourced. The gap between the need for treatment and its provision is wide all over the world and is often poor in qualitywhen delivered. For example, only 29% of people with psychosis and only one third of people with depression receive formal mental health care .
People with mental disorders also require social support, including support in developing and maintaining personal, family, and social relationships. People with mental disorders may also need support for educational programmes, employment, housing,and participation in other meaningful activities.
Most Common Mental Disorders
According to multiple studies on the prevalence of psychopathology worldwide , the four major categories of mental disorders are:
- disorders related to anxiety
- disorders that affect the mood
- disorders related to the misuse of psychoactive substances
- various types of impulse control problems, such as behavior disorders or bulimia nervosa
We have also included two other, very relevant, types of mental disorders: schizophrenia and other disorders on the psychotic spectrum , and personality disorders, which have to do with the worsening of specific features and patterns of problematic behaviors.
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Autistic Disorder And Aspergers Disorder
Jareds kindergarten teacher has voiced her concern to Jareds parents about his difficulties with interacting with other children and his delay in developing normal language. Jared is able to maintain eye contact and enjoys mixing with other children, but he cannot communicate with them very well. He often responds to questions or comments with long-winded speeches about trucks or some other topic that interests him, and he seems to lack awareness of other childrens wishes and needs.
Jareds concerned parents took him to a multidisciplinary child development center for consultation. Here he was tested by a pediatric neurologist, a psychologist, and a child psychiatrist.
The pediatric neurologist found that Jareds hearing was normal, and there were no signs of any neurological disorder. He diagnosed Jared with a pervasive developmental disorder, because while his comprehension and expressive language was poor, he was still able to carry out nonverbal tasks, such as drawing a picture or doing a puzzle.
What Causes Mental Disorders
There is no single cause for mental illness. A number of factors can contribute to risk for mental illness, such as:
- Your genes and family history
- Your life experiences, such as stress or a history of abuse, especially if they happen in childhood
- Biological factors such as chemical imbalances in the brain
- Use of alcohol or recreational drugs
- Having a serious medical condition like cancer
- Having few friends, and feeling lonely or isolated
Mental disorders are not caused by character flaws. They have nothing to do with being lazy or weak.
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Definition Of A Psychological Disorder
Perhaps the simplest approach to conceptualizing psychological disorders is to label behaviors, thoughts, and inner experiences that are atypical, distressful, dysfunctional, and sometimes even dangerous to self or others as signs of a disorder. For example, if you ask a classmate for a date and you are rejected, you probably would feel a little dejected. Such feelings would be normal. If you felt extremely depressedso much so that you lost interest in activities, had difficulty eating or sleeping, felt utterly worthless, and contemplated suicideyour feelings would be atypical, would deviate from the norm, and could signify the presence of a psychological disorder. Just because something is atypical, however, does not necessarily mean it is disordered.
For example, only about 4% of people in the United States have red hair, so red hair is considered an atypical characteristic, but it is not considered disordered, its just unusual. And it is less unusual in Scotland, where approximately 13% of the population has red hair . As you will learn, some disorders, although not exactly typical, are far from atypical, and the rates in which they appear in the population are surprisingly high.
Disruptive Behaviour And Dissocial Disorders
40 million people, including children and adolescents, were living with conduct-dissocial disorder in 2019 . This disorder, also known as conduct disorder, is one of two disruptive behaviour and dissocial disorders, the other is oppositional defiantdisorder. Disruptive behaviour and dissocial disorders are characterised by persistent behaviour problems such as persistently defiant or disobedient to behaviours that persistently violate the basic rights of others or major age-appropriatesocietal norms, rules, or laws. Onset of disruptive and dissocial disorders, is commonly, though not always, during childhood. Effective psychological treatments exist, often involving parents, caregivers, and teachers, cognitive problem-solving orsocial skills training.
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Potential Routine Use Of Mri/fmri In Diagnosis
in 2018 the American Psychological Association commissioned a review to reach a consensus on whether modern clinical MRI/fMRI will be able to be used in the diagnosis of mental health disorders. the criteria presented by the APA stated that the Biomarkers used in diagnosis should:
the review concluded that although neuroimaging diagnosis may technically be feasible, very large studies are needed to evaluate specific biomarkers which were not available.
How Can Caregivers Help Individuals Who Have Serious Mental Illness
Family members and caregivers often play a large role in helping and supporting a loved one who has serious mental illness . A 2016 study by the National Alliance for Caregiving, in partnership with Mental Health America and the National Alliance on Mental Illness, estimated that more than 8 million Americans provide care to an adult with an emotional or mental health issue, mainly related to SMI.7The term caregiver may also extend beyond an individuals family. This includes friends, teachers, neighbors, coworkers and others in the community. Hence, the term caregiver can refer to anyone who gives emotional, financial, or practical support to a person with SMI.
Caregivers can help loved ones who have SMI in many ways. Yet it is often a learning process, as every person with a mental health condition experiences it in a slightly different way. Caregivers may:
The 2016 study also highlights some of the challenges that caregivers may face. Four in 10 caregivers struggled to find an accurate diagnosis for their loved one. Families reported that it took 11.8 years, on average, for their loved one to receive an accurate diagnosis. Caregivers noted several barriers to accessing health care services and long-term services and supports. This includes day programs, peer support, case managers, inpatient treatment centers, and low availability of services in rural areas.
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How Does A Person With Mental Illness Act
The outward signs of a mental illness are often behavioral. A person may be extremely quiet or withdrawn. Conversely, they may burst into tears, have great anxiety or have outbursts of anger. Even after treatment has started, someindividuals with a mental illness can exhibit anti-social behaviors.
Modification Of Approach For Different Individual Populations
Cultural and language differences in the individual may affect test performance and may result in inaccurate test results. There is also the potential for the standardized testing to exhibitcultural bias . I would need to be aware before psychological testing begins if the individual is not fluent in English and/or belongs to a minority culture. I would need to consider the inclusion of an interpreter or cultural support person during the assessment. Different tests would also need to be considered that were age specific i.e. Child, Adolescent or Elderly.
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Do You Have Questions About Serious Mental Illness
If you are an individual or family member and want more information about serious mental illness , you can find many resources in our section for individuals and families. You can also use the SMI Adviser Knowledge Base to browse hundreds of evidence-based answers and resources.
If you are a mental health clinician and have a question about evidence-based treatments, research, or where to find resources for individuals, submit a question and get a free consultation from SMI Advisers national experts.
Diagnosis Or Overdiagnosis Adhd Autistic Disorder And Aspergers Disorder
Two common critiques of the DSM are that the categorization system leaves quite a bit of ambiguity in diagnosis and that it covers such a wide variety of behaviors. Lets take a closer look at three common disordersattention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder , autistic disorder, and Aspergers disorderthat have recently raised controversy because they are being diagnosed significantly more frequently than they were in the past.
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Mental Illness In The Latin American Community
There is a perception in Latin American communities, especially among older people, that discussing problems with mental health can create embarrassment and shame for the family. This results in fewer people seeking treatment.
Latin Americans from the USA, are slightly more likely to have a mental health disorder than first-generation Latin American immigrants, although differences between ethnic groups were found to disappear after adjustment for place of birth.
From 2015 to 2018, rates of serious mental illness in young adult Latin Americans increased by 60%, from 4% to 6.4%. The prevalence of major depressive episodes in young and adult Latin Americans increased from 8.4% to 11.3%. More than a third of Latin Americans reported more than one bad mental health day in the last three months. The rate of suicide among Latin Americans was about half the rate of non-Latin American white Americans in 2018, and this was the second-leading cause of death among Latin Americans ages 15 to 34. However, Latin American suicide rates rose steadily after 2020 in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic, even as the national rate declined.
Eye Contact Is One Of Many Social Gestures That Vary From Culture To Culture
Hallucinations in Western societies is a violation of cultural expectations, and a person who reports such inner experiences is readily labeled as psychologically disordered. In other cultures, visions that, for example, pertain to future events may be regarded as normal experiences that are positively valued . Finally, it is important to recognize that cultural norms change over time: what might be considered typical in a society at one time may no longer be viewed this way later, similar to how fashion trends from one era may elicit quizzical looks decades later.
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Teaching About Police Brutality
Police brutality is all too common in todays society and students are being confronted with horrific images and stories through news and social media that can be difficult to understand and process. Also, police brutality in the US cannot be talked about with confronting the racism and racial profiling that underpins it. Using moments when police violence has occurred to teach students about the history and present of police brutality in this country can be a great learning opportunity for students and teachers alike. Likewise, in the face of injustice and violations of basic human rights, it is important to discuss ways that students have agency to impact change in their own communities.
There are a wealth of resources available for teachers to use to talk about police brutality, its history, and ways to effect change. The resources below come from incredible organizations working to educate the public and confront these issues on a local and national scale.
What Is Major Depressive Disorder With Seasonal Pattern
Major depressive disorder with seasonal pattern is another term used to refer to seasonal affective disorder, which is a type of depression that is associated with changes in seasons. This type of depression tends to begin and end at more or less the same time each year, with the symptoms beginning usually in the fall or winter. The condition is estimated to affect nearly 0.5 to 2.4 percent of people in the United States alone. Young adults and women are the most affected.
Like most people with major depressive symptoms with seasonal pattern, the symptoms tend to begin in the fall months and continue well into the winter months. Seasonal affective disorder is going to leave you feeling moody and drained of energy. The symptoms sometimes resolve during the spring and summer months. Less commonly, some people may experience depression in the spring and early summer months, and feel better during the fall or winter months.
It is important that if you feel down during the same time every year, or you think you have the winter blues, you should never brush it aside. It is nice to think that you can battle it out on your own, but it is better to consult a doctor and take the right steps to keep your mood and health steady throughout the year, regardless of the season.
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