10 most common psychological disorders

To help someone with a panic attack, keep calm, ask them what they need and encourage them to take deep, slow breaths. (Rawpixel pic)

Mental health issues have been on the rise throughout the world, with significant health, social, human rights and economic consequences.

Over 200 mental illnesses have been classified that can manifest themselves singly or together in many different ways, including abnormal thoughts, perceptions, emotions and behaviours that can affect relationships and productivity.

These are the 10 most common psychological disorders and what to look out for. But remember, the symptoms can vary greatly from person to person and it is always best to seek medical help.

1. Panic disorder

A type of anxiety disorder characterised by sudden episodes of panic and fear that commonly last about 10 minutes. Common symptoms include shortness of breath, numbness, rapid heartbeat, palpitations, shaking and sweating.

2. Paranoia

Paranoia involves an intense, anxious but irrational sense of being under threat (conspiracy or persecution). Common symptoms include suspicion, hypervigilance, a defensive attitude, feelings of betrayal, anger and mistrust.

3. Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia affects a person’s ability to think, feel and behave in a socially acceptable manner.

The person may find it difficult to distinguish between imagination and reality. Symptoms include delusions, hearing voices, fear, a lack of concentration, disorganised speech and hallucinations.

Binge eating happens when a person loses control and eats large quantities of food quickly, often experiencing disgust afterwards. (Rawpixel pic)

4. Eating disorders

Eating disorders involve irregular eating habits and extreme distress about body weight and shape.

There are three main types of eating disorders, each of which can be life-threatening:

  • Binge eating: When a person loses control and frequently eats large quantities of food quickly, often to the point of discomfort, and experiences shame, distress or guilt afterwards.
  • Bulimia: Binge eating followed by behaviours to make up for the overeating, such as fasting or forced vomiting.
  • Anorexia: Obsessive fear of gaining weight. An individual suffering from anorexia will limit their food consumption at any cost.

5. Insomnia

Insomniacs find it difficult to fall asleep or to stay asleep. This can be caused by various psychiatric, medical conditions or anxiety.

The effects include sleepiness, cognitive impairment, depression, irritability, lack of concentration and low energy.

6. Bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder is characterised by unusual mood swings with periods of depression that lead to low energy, poor motivation, loss of interest and apathy, alternating with periods of mood elevation when an individual experiences high energy, reduced need for sleep and loss of touch with reality.

Some people with a form of obsessive-compulsive disorder, fear contamination and repetitively clean or wash themselves. (Rawpixel pic)

7. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

OCD is a type of anxiety disorder in which people have recurring thoughts or urges to check something or perform an activity repeatedly.

The most common anxiety disorders include:

  • Hoarding: A fear that something bad will happen if something is thrown away.
  • Counters: Individuals who are obsessed with numbers and symmetry.
  • Checkers: Who repetitively check things such as door locks, light switches and so on.
  • Washers: Individuals who fear contamination and repetitively clean or wash themselves.

8. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

PTSD can develop after an individual experiences a life-threatening or traumatic event such as an accident, sexual assault, physical danger and so on.

Common symptoms include nightmares, sleeping disorders, flashbacks, disturbing thoughts, heightened fight or flight response and attempts to avoid trauma-related cues.

9. Depression

Depression involves sadness, apathy or a low mood that lasts at least two weeks and disrupts regular activities.

Symptoms include loss of appetite, sleeping disorder, isolation, guilt, low energy, loss of interest and low self-esteem.

10. Phobia

Phobias involve an irrational, persistent fear of an object or situation that can last for more than six months. This disorder may also trigger panic attacks. There are three main types of phobias:

  • Social phobia: Fear of being judged by others.
  • Agoraphobia: Fear of leaving home or a safe area.
  • Specific phobia: fear of objects or animals.

This article first appeared in jobstore.com

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