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One of the most complex creations of the almighty has to be that of the human brain. Whether it is about the physical structure, or the functioning, the brain’s complexity is unmatched, probably one of the reasons why it is almost impossible to fully understand the human mind and its shenanigans. Over the years however, dedicated scientists and doctors have been able to understand it a little better than we could before, but still we are far from knowing everything.
Therefore, understanding mental health completely is an arduous journey that human beings are striving to get ahead on. Doctors have divided mental illnesses into 7 broad categories, and today we shall be discussing these categories in detail over a course of 4-5 articles.
Starting with one of the most common mental and psychological disorder type today -
- Mood Disorders
As easy as the name sounds, this category of disorders consist of emotional and mood based prolonged emotional distortions that are often not in alignment with the current circumstances of an individual. In usual cases, a person is often more irritable, emotionally down and low on emotional energy.
Some of the most common and well known disorders under this category are -
- Major Depressive Disorder - Commonly known as Depression. Depression is a psychological disorder that causes persistent sadness and loss of interest and energy in the affected individuals. Clinical depression affects the overall thought process of a person along with their behaviour over a prolonged period of time. It is not just a wave of sadness that you can expect a person to snap out of. Prolonged sadness can only be termed as depression if it has lasted for at least more than 4-6 weeks. Some of the most common symptoms of depression are -
- Feeling sad, tearful and hopeless for the most of the day, everyday.
- Abnormal food habits - either reduced appetite with extreme weight loss or unexplainable increase in cravings that result in overeating.
- Physical problems for no particular reason, for example back pain, severe headaches, chest pain, etc
- Extreme lack of energy - not being able to do even the basic day to day activities, like getting off the bed, taking a shower, etc.
- Issues related to sleep - Insomnia or Hypersomnia
- Increased irritability - Having sudden anger outbursts, being annoyed by smallest inconveniences.
- Frequent and repetitive thoughts of death, suicide. Attempting suicide once or various times.
- Slowed thinking and not being able to concentrate or make decisions.
- Heightened anxiety, agitation and restlessness
- Bipolar Disorder - Also called as Manic Depression causes extreme, uncontrollable mood swings, extreme highs - known as mania and hypomania, and extreme lows - severe depression. In this case, during the times the person is going through mania or hypomania, a person may feel euphoric and extremely energetic, but when they feel low, they are extremely down and irritable. Unfortunately, bipolar disorder lasts a lifetime, but can be kept under control by taking proper medications and treatments.
There are 3 main types of Bipolar Disorders -
- Bipolar I Disorder
- Bipolar II Disorder
- Cyclothymic Disorder
We shall discuss them in detail some other time.
- Persistent Depressive Disorder
This type of depression is a long term continuous form of depression and is also widely known as dysthymia. This usually lasts for years and hinders your daily activities, social relationships and your overall functioning. A person with Persistent Depressive Disorder finds it very difficult to even feel positive during good situations and big events in their life. Since this is a long term disease, the symptoms might come and go in different magnitudes and degrees. However, the symptoms don't usually leave for more than 1-2 months in a row. It usually begins at a very young age, sometimes during childhood or early teenage years and lasts for a very long time. However, this type of depression is often regarded as less intense and therefore less harmful than Clinical Depression or the major depressive disorder.
- Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder
Abbreviated as DMDD most commonly. We all have seen extremely irritable, young children. Chances are that they are suffering from the Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder. The symptoms for this disorder go way beyond that of a simple moody child. It is characterised by extreme irritability, anger, and frequent, intense temper outbursts and one should opt for medical treatment for their child in case of this disorder. It can tamper a person’s quality of life and performance in academics and other school activities. It can also disrupt relationships with one’s social circle, including family, friends and schoolmates. Children with disruptive mood dysregulation disorder find it taxing to participate in activities or even socialise and make friends. Having DMDD also increases the risk of developing depression or anxiety disorders in adulthood.
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
We have all told and heard jokes about girls being cranky while menstruating. The terminology often used while describing any periods related behaviour issue is Premenstrual Syndrome, often abbreviated as PMS. Now, it might not seem very serious, but a more advanced type of PMS is the Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder, also abbreviated as PMDD. PMS usually, the symptoms limit themselves to physical issues only like bloating, headaches, tender breasts, but in case of PMDD, the effects are also mental. Women with PMDD characteristically become extremely irritable, anxious and depressed one or two weeks before the onset of their menstrual cycle. These symptoms of mental annoyance are also accompanied by the physical symptoms of PMS. The irritation goes away a few days after your periods begin, but it might still be strong enough to negatively affect your life.
Having discussed some of the most common Mood Disorders today, we will be back with the next category of mental disorders - The Anxiety Disorders.