Mankind has experienced a number of psychological disorders and diseases for a long period of time. Most of these diseases and disorders affect the normal functioning of the human body system especially the brain (Robins & Regier, 1999). Their impacts can be manifested either through one’s behavior or mental symptoms.
Psychiatric disorders can be defined as any behavioral or mental symptoms that make an individual very much distressed, paralyses the victims in one way or another and hence make them exposed to pain, disability, or even death (Salters-Pedneault, 2009). Such manifestations, however, must be experienced over a period of more than two weeks in order to be considered a psychiatric disorder. Mental symptoms such as grief following the loss of a close relative or friend cannot be considered psychiatric in nature. This essay seeks to discuss the psychological disorders and diseases which include; schizophrenia, depression, mania, anxiety disorder, and Tourette syndrome. The theories behind them will also be discussed.
Schizophrenia is one of the common psychological disorders especially in the United States. It is a chronic, harsh, and a brain-paralyzing disorder. It is usually characterized by improper perception of what is otherwise real. The individual suffering from schizophrenia usually experiences auditory delusions, haphazard way of thinking and talking, and other forms of hallucinations (Salters-Pedneault, 2009). Moreover, the patient exhibits cognitive deficits, asocial tendencies, and flat affect.
The manifestations of initial stages of schizophrenia commonly start at early adulthood. Notably, this disorder can only be diagnosed using the person’s personal experiences and overt behavior since its laboratory test is yet to be established. Many theories concerning schizophrenia have been proposed. Some of the factors associated with the development of schizophrenia include the individual’s genetic orientation and the environment that one is exposed to at the earlier stages of development (Robins & Regier, 1999).
Furthermore, neurobiology which concerns the study of the nervous system as well as the social and mental processes has been identified as playing a role in the development of schizophrenic conditions. The root causes of schizophrenia, however, have not been fully established but a sense of hope exists as far as its treatment is concerned. Current antipsychotic medications seek to eliminate the symptoms associated to the disorder and allow the patient to live a normal life in the society. Although the older types of anti-psychotics are still being used, most current ones which include clozapine are very effective in treating the acute symptoms (Salters-Pedneault, 2009). For persons who are genetically prone to schizophrenia, the use of some medicinal drugs or those meant for recreational purposes may also cause or enhance the rate of being schizophrenic. For instance, clozapine reduces the number of white blood cells in the body hence increasing the risk of infections. The side effects of using antipsychotic medication include improper vision, rashes on the skin, increased heartbeat, and can affect women’s monthly periods. Psychosocial modes of treatment have been devised to deal with those who have become resistant to antipsychotic medication (Robins & Regier, 1999).
Depression, on the other hand, is a psychological disorder that manifests itself both physically and emotionally over prolonged period of time (Salters-Pedneault, 2009). This disorder is characterized by a sense of guilt, worthless feelings and suicidal tendencies, loss of the ability to make decisions, and varying levels of poverty. Despite the many perspectives of looking at the disorder, depression has been clinically regarded as being caused by genetic, biological, and psychological factors. Stressful situations in life have been identified to play a role in the onset of depression among those who are genetically prone. Also, fluctuating levels of hormones contribute to the increased levels of neurotransmitters in the brain leading to the development of depressive symptoms. Psychiatrists have also established the role of structural psychological changes in the onset of major depression.
Besides these western theories on depression, cultural perspectives also have their own way of explaining depression. Persons identified with depression can be treated although the diagnosis part is the most difficult since the symptoms can be confused with the normal illness. Research has established clinical depression as being mental in nature (Salters-Pedneault, 2009). The two major approaches that can be used are psychotherapy and clinical medication. The use of antidepressants can simplify the use of the counseling approach.
It is important to note that psychotherapeutic medications serve to relief symptoms but not curing depression. These medications may have some side effects though it depends on so many factors like the body size, age, sex of the patient, body chemical composition, diet, and habits like smoking. The mentioned factors determine the dosage given to the depressed. Some of the antidepressants include; tricyclic which is an antidepressant, and monoamine oxidase which act an inhibitor. Recent antidepressants are commonly referred to as “selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors” (SSRIs).
Some of the side effects of antidepressants include; drowsiness, anxiety, heart problems, digestive problems, weight gain, muscle twitches, and general weakness (Robins & Regier, 1999). The extents of these side effects greatly depend on the type of antidepressant used and the individual responses. The third disorder in our discussion is the manic disorder, currently referred to as bipolar disorder. Just like depression, it is a mood disorder and is uniquely characterized by some manic episodes. A manic episode involves the expression of euphoric states or ‘emotional highs’ by the patient (Torrey & Knable, 2005). Manic depression possesses symptoms of major depression. Recent research has established that most theories point a strong conviction on the genetic orientation of the patient. The manic-depressive patient is fortunate since the disorder is easily treatable.
“Mood stabilizers” are the commonly used medications and examples include, but not limited to; lithium, and anticonvulsants like cabamazepine, and valproate. All serve the purpose of stabilizing the moods of the patient. However, just like other terminal illnesses, manic-depressive disorder remains with the patient forever and can be managed through constant medication (Torrey & Knable, 2005). Due to improved research into the treatment of bipolar disorders, there are fewer side effects although it greatly depends on individual reaction to the medication. Most of the side effects, if any, are similar to those of depression discussed above. Moreover, anxiety disorder refers to the extreme and excessive levels of fear and worry about day to day life without any apparent reason (Salters-Pedneault, 2009).
Such fears can be prolonged over a period of six months which can only get worse if not diagnosed and treated in good time. Anxiety disorders comprises of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), panic disorder, social phobia, and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). These varied types of anxiety disorders have one thing in common; they all involve irrational fear and dread.
Medication is used in the treatment of anxiety disorders although sometimes psychotherapeutic measures can be effective. In most instances, anxiety may co-exist with other conditions and illness and this calls for proper diagnosis by the psychiatrist. Medication, just like the treatment of the above disorders, will serve to put the anxiety disorder under control but not curing it. The common medication include; antidepressants, beta-blockers, and anti-anxiety drugs.
SSRIs are the newest in the medical field (Salters-Pedneault, 2009). Psychotherapy is also the second alternative when it comes to the treatment of anxiety disorders. The side effects from taking the medication are as explained earlier in the case of depression disorder. The last disorder is the Tourette syndrome which is characterized by both physical (tics) and oral speech problems. It is unique in that its manifestation occurs during early childhood (Walkup, Mink & Hollenbeck, 2006). Tourette’s disorder is believed to be a genetic and mental disorder and is also influenced by the surrounding though its real cause is yet to be established. Surprisingly, this disorder has no genuine medication unless strictly recommended by a psychiatrist. Psychotherapy is the only best approach for handling persons with Tourette which involves counseling and giving assurances.
In the case of children, taking them to school will help alleviate the disorder. The essay has attempted to discuss the various psychological disorders/diseases. Although the disorders are numerous, the paper has evaluated schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, and Tourette syndrome. The drugs used for treating them as well as the side effects of the medication where applicable have been discussed.
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