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Psychiatric Disorders

Understanding and Defining Psychiatric Disorders

Psychiatric disorders are also known as mental disorders, and while defining them individually can be quite difficult, it can be said that a disabling psychological or a behavioral pattern can constitute a psychiatric disorder. A psychiatric disorder must be problematic to be considered a disorder and has to form outside of what would be culturally expected. For instance, feelings of depression after the death of a loved one would not be considered a sign of a psychiatric disorder. Depression that has no apparent cause and includes unusual behavior might be a psychiatric disorder, however.

There are an enormous number of psychiatric disorders, and identifying them individually takes a psychologist or psychiatrist. Psychiatric disorders need to be treated to be controlled or alleviated. Untreated disorders can lead to:

  • Social and relationship problems
  • Poor judgment
  • Lower quality of life, including feelings of depression and anxiety
  • Poor performance at work or school

Psychiatric medicine and psychotherapy have progressed to the point where it’s unnecessary to live with these negative effects of a psychiatric disorder. If you feel that you have such a disorder or if you know someone who displays the signs of a specific psychiatric condition, here are a few things to keep in mind.

Knowing the Causes of Mental Disorders

Mental disorders can be caused by a person’s biology, drugs or alcohol, traumatic events, or through a number of other ways. There has been a great deal of research into these causes, as knowing them can lead to better treatment options for patients with psychiatric conditions.

There are a great number of mental disorders, in part due to the great number of factors that can influence people and cause them to develop these conditions. Because of this, you should find a psychologist or psychiatrist to diagnose a mental disorder.

Treating Psychiatric Conditions Effectively

Psychotherapy may be used in the treatment of psychiatric disorders. Psychotherapy consists of a number of sessions with a licensed therapist in which the cause or symptoms of a psychiatric disorder are treated cognitively and behaviorally. The therapist helps the patient understand the condition and deal with the day to day challenges that the condition creates.

In some types of psychiatric disorder treatment, the goal of the psychologist or psychiatrist is to completely treat and remove the disorder. This is true with selective mutism, for instance, in which a patient (usually a child) is mute around certain people or groups of people despite an ability to communicate. Other conditions require ongoing treatment and may never be “cured” from a conventional point of view; however, the symptoms of the condition can be greatly alleviated, allowing the patient to live a more normal life.

Medication can be used in conjunction with psychotherapy to treat psychiatric disorders. Some disorders can be completely controlled with medication, as is the case with some depressive disorders.

Less conventional treatments can be effective for psychiatric disorders or for certain symptoms of these disorders. Light therapy, in which light is used to treat depressive symptoms, is one example of an unusual yet clinically effective treatment option. Depending on the psychiatric disorder that you or a loved one need to treat, some of these unconventional treatments can be very effective, but they should only be undertaken on the advice of a psychologist or psychiatrist.

Always remember that psychiatric conditions are treatable, even in situations where they are not curable. Psychiatric conditions can seem insurmountable at times, but by understanding treatment options and the conditions themselves, patients and their therapists can make an effective plan for living a normal life.

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