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Anxiety disorders are a group of mental disorders characterized by significant feelings of anxiety and fear. Anxiety is a worry about future events, while fear is a reaction to current events. These feelings may cause physical symptoms, such as increased heart rate and shakiness. There are several anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, specific phobia, social anxiety disorder, separation anxiety disorder, agoraphobia, panic disorder, and selective mutism. The disorder differs by what results in the symptoms. An individual may have more than one anxiety disorder. The cause of anxiety disorders is thought to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Risk factors include a history of child abuse, family history of mental disorders, and poverty. Anxiety disorders often occur with other mental disorders, particularly major depressive disorder, personality disorder, and substance use disorder. To be diagnosed, symptoms typically need to be present for at least 6 months, be more than what would be expected for the situation, and decrease a person's ability to function in their daily life. Anxiety disorders differ from normal fear or anxiety by being excessive or persisting. Without treatment, anxiety disorders tend to remain. Treatment may include lifestyle changes, counselling, and medications.

A phobia is a type of anxiety disorder defined by a persistent and excessive fear of an object or situation. Phobias typically result in a rapid onset of fear and are present for more than six months. Those affected will go to great lengths to avoid the situation or object, to a degree greater than the actual danger posed. If the object or situation cannot be avoided, they experience significant distress.

Anxiety and phobic disorders

Obsessive–compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental disorder in which a person has certain thoughts repeatedly (called "obsessions") or feels the need to perform certain routines repeatedly (called "compulsions") to an extent which generates distress or impairs general functioning. The person is unable to control either the thoughts or activities for more than a short period of time. Common compulsions include hand washing, counting of things, and checking to see if a door is locked. These activities occur to such a degree that the person's daily life is negatively affected, often taking up more than an hour a day. Most adults realize that the behaviors do not make sense. The condition is associated with tics, anxiety disorder, and an increased risk of suicide.

The cause is unknown. There appear to be some genetic components. Risk factors include a history of child abuse or other stress-inducing event. Some cases have been documented to occur following infections. The diagnosis is based on the symptoms and requires ruling out other drug-related or medical causes. Treatment involves psychotherapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and sometimes antidepressants. Without treatment, the condition often lasts decades.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder

Psychotic disorders are severe mental disorders that cause abnormal thinking and perceptions.  Two of the main symptoms are delusions and hallucinations. Delusions are false beliefs, such as thinking that someone is plotting against you or that the TV is sending you secret messages. Hallucinations are false perceptions, such as hearing, seeing, or feeling something that is not there. Other symptoms may include incoherent speech and behavior that is inappropriate for the situation. There may also be sleep problems, social withdrawal, lack of motivation, and difficulties carrying out daily activities. Psychosis can have serious outcomes.

There are different types of psychotic disorders, including: Schizophrenia,schizoaffective disorder, Schizophreniform disorder, Substance-induced psychotic disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Psychotic disorder due to another medical condition, postpartum psychosis

Early or first-episode psychosis (FEP) refers to when a person first shows signs of beginning to lose contact with reality. Early psychosis or FEP rarely comes suddenly. Usually, a person has gradual, non-specific changes in thoughts and perceptions, but doesn't understand what's going on. Early warning signs can be difficult to distinguish from typical teen or young adult behavior. While such signs should not be cause for alarm, they may indicate the need to get an assessment from a doctor.

It's important to get help quickly since early treatment provides the best hope of recovery by slowing, stopping and possibly reversing the effects of psychosis. Early warning signs include the following:

A worrisome drop in grades or job performance

Trouble thinking clearly or concentrating

Suspiciousness or uneasiness with others

A decline in self-care or personal hygiene

Spending a lot more time alone than usual

Strong, inappropriate emotions or having no feelings at all

We are still learning about how and why psychosis develops, but several factors are likely involved. We do know that teenagers and young adults are at increased risk of experiencing an episode of psychosis because of hormonal changes in their brain during puberty.

Several factors that can contribute to psychosis:

Genetics. Many genes can contribute to the development of psychosis, but just because a person has a gene doesn’t mean they will experience psychosis. Ongoing studies will help us better understand which genes play a role in psychosis.

Trauma. A traumatic event such as a death, war or sexual assault can trigger a psychotic episode. The type of trauma—and a person’s age—affects whether a traumatic event will result in psychosis.

Substance use. The use of marijuana, LSD, amphetamines and other substances can increase the risk of psychosis in people who are already vulnerable.

Physical illness or injury. Traumatic brain injuries, brain tumors, strokes, HIV and some brain diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and dementia can sometimes cause psychosis.

Mental health conditions. Sometimes psychosis is a symptom of a condition like schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder or depression.

A diagnosis identifies an illness; symptoms are components of an illness. Health care providers draw on information from medical and family history and a physical examination to diagnose someone. If causes such as a brain tumor, infection or epilepsy are ruled out, a mental illness might be the reason. Traditional treatment for psychosis involves psychotherapy and medication. Several types of therapy have successfully helped individuals learn to manage their condition. In addition, medication targets symptoms and 

helps reduce their impact.

Psychotic disorders

Mental disorders among children are described as serious changes in the way children typically learn, behave, or handle their emotions, which cause distress and problems getting through the day. There are a great diversity of childhood disorder forms and causes. Some of these disorders are primarily disorders of the brain, while others are more behavioral in nature. Despite how common they may be, childhood disorders are not part of the normal developmental process that children are expected to go through. The diagnostic criteria for childhood mental disorders requires that children's behavior and/or development deviates from normal age-appropriate behavior and/or development, so understanding normal child development is important. For this reason, you might want to read over our extensive material concerning normal childhood development. Understanding normal developmental milestones for different ages puts you in a better position to understand why disordered behavior is considered abnormal. Common childhood mental illnesses and developmental disorders include Depression, Bipolar Disorder and Anxiety Disorders, Autism and similar Pervasive Developmental Disorders, Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder, Learning Disabilities, Adjustment Disorders, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, and Conduct Disorder.

Childhood disorders

Couples therapy attempts to improve romantic relationships and resolve interpersonal conflicts. Most relationships will get strained at some time, resulting in a failure to function optimally and produce self-reinforcing, maladaptive patterns. These patterns may be called "negative interaction cycles." There are many possible reasons for this, including insecure attachment, ego, arrogance, jealousy, anger, greed, poor communication/understanding or problem solving, ill health, third parties and so on.

Changes in situations like financial state, physical health, and the influence of other family members can have a profound influence on the conduct, responses and actions of the individuals in a relationship.

Often it is an interaction between two or more factors, and frequently it is not just one of the people who are involved that exhibit such traits. Relationship influences are reciprocal: it takes each person involved to make and manage problems. A viable solution to the problem and setting these relationships back on track may be to reorient the individuals' perceptions and emotions - how one looks at or responds to situations and feels about them.  One of the challenges here is for each person to change their own responses to their partner's behavior. Other challenges to the process are disclosing controversial or shameful events and revealing closely guarded secrets.

Couples counselling

An eating disorder is a mental disorder defined by abnormal eating habits that negatively affect a person's physical and/or mental health. They include binge eating disorder, where people eat a large amount in a short period of time; anorexia nervosa, where people eat very little due to a fear of gaining weight and thus have a low body weight; bulimia nervosa, where people eat a lot and then try to rid themselves of the food; pica, where people eat non-food items; avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder (ARFID), where people have a reduced or selective food intake due to some psychological reasons and a group of other specified feeding or eating disorders. Anxiety disorders, depression and substance abuse are common among people with eating disorders. These disorders do not include obesity.The causes of eating disorders are not clear, although both biological and environmental factors appear to play a role. Cultural idealization of thinness is believed to contribute to some eating disorders. Individuals who have experienced sexual abuse are also more likely to develop eating disorders. Treatment can be effective for many eating disorders. Treatment varies by disorder and may involve counselling, dietary advice, reducing excessive exercise and the reduction of efforts to eliminate food. Medications may be used to help with some of the associated symptoms. Hospitalization may be needed in more serious cases. Eating disorders typically begin in late childhood or early adulthood.

Eating behaviour disorders

Depression is a state of low mood and aversion to activity. It can affect a person's thoughts, behavior, motivation, feelings, and sense of well-being. It may feature sadness, difficulty in thinking and concentration and a significant increase or decrease in appetite and time spent sleeping. People experiencing depression may have feelings of dejection, hopelessness and, sometimes, suicidal thoughts. It can either be short term or long term. The core symptom of depression is said to be anhedonia, which refers to loss of interest or a loss of feeling of pleasure in certain activities that usually bring joy to people. Depressed mood is a symptom of some mood disorders such as major depressive disorder or dysthymia; it is a normal temporary reaction to life events, such as the loss of a loved one; and it is also a symptom of some physical diseases and a side effect of some drugs and medical treatments.


Personality disorders are a group of mental health conditions that are characterized by inflexible and unhealthy patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving. These inner experiences and behaviors often differ from the expectations of the culture in which someone lives. People with personality disorders usually have a hard time getting along with others and dealing with everyday problems in the ways that are expected by a cultural group. They commonly believe that their way of thinking and behaving is completely normal. However, they tend to have a view of the world that is quite different than others. As a result, they may find it difficult to participate in social, educational, and family activities. They also place blame on others for their challenges. These behaviors and attitudes often cause problems and limitations in relationships, social encounters, and work or school settings. They may also make people with personality disorders feel isolated, which can contribute to depression and anxiety. The cause of personality disorders isn’t known. However, it is believed that they may be triggered by genetic and environmental influences, most prominently childhood trauma.

Personality disorders tend to emerge in the teenage years or early adulthood. The symptoms vary depending on the specific type of personality disorder. Treatment typically includes talk therapy and medication.

Personality disorders

Psychosexual disorder is a sexual problem that is psychological, rather than physiological in origin.

The causes of a psychosexual disorder can lie in feelings of guilt, stress, nervousness, fear, anxiety, or in previous emotional or physical trauma. Other factors based on psychosocial and cultural aspects, such as ignorance or improper sex education, conflicts of values to do with family or religion (for example, the attitude that sex is dirty or sinful) can also be a cause of psychosexual disorder symptoms.

There are three main categories of psychosexual disorder: sexual dysfunction, paraphilias and gender identity disorders.

Sexual dysfunction is characterised by a lack of sexual desire, erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, painful sex, lack of sexual enjoyment, sexual addiction and sexual aversion.

Paraphilias is unusual or abnormal sexual behaviour, including sexual attraction to unusual objects or activity, such as fetishism, exhibitionism, sadism and voyeurism, amongst others.

Exhibitionism is the impulsive behavior of exposing the genitalia to unsuspecting strangers in order to achieve sexual excitation.

Transvestism consists of recurrent cross-dressing behavior for the purpose of sexual excitation.

Voyeurism involves the achievement of sexual arousal by watching the activities of an unsuspecting person, usually in various stages of undress or sexual activity.

Pedophilia is the use of a child of either sex to achieve sexual arousal and, in many cases, gratification.

Incest involves a sexual relationship with a person in the immediate family, most frequently a child.

Sexual sadism is the attainment of sexual arousal by inflicting pain upon the sexual object. Sexual masochism is the achievement of erotic pleasure by being humiliated, enslaved, physically bound, and restrained.

Gender identity disorders manifest as a variation between a person’s biological sexual identity and their own sense of sexual identity, causing difficulties in adjusting to a normal lifestyle and a desire to alter sexual orientation by becoming a member of the opposite sex.

In the DSM-5 all paraphilia disorders can be diagnosed by two main criteria that are referred to criteria A and criteria B respectively. The A and B criteria include a duration in which the behavior must be present for (typically six months) and specific details of actions or thoughts that are correlated specifically with the respective disorder being diagnosed.

Once the nature and characteristics of the problem have been identified, a personalised treatment plan for the patient can be agreed. This may include psychotherapy which can help establish ways to deal with stressful or painful issues, or behavioural therapy such as CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) which is used to help ‘unlearn’ automatic behaviours displayed in specific situations. Often a combination of these will be used to help the patient overcome their psychosexual issues.

Psychosexual disorder

Adolescence (10-19 years) is a unique and formative time. Multiple physical, emotional and social changes, including exposure to poverty, abuse, or violence, can make adolescents vulnerable to mental health problems. Promoting psychological well-being and protecting adolescents from adverse experiences and risk factors that may impact their potential to thrive are critical for their well-being during adolescence and for their physical and mental health in adulthood. Child and adolescent psychiatry (or pediatric psychiatry) is a branch of psychiatry that focuses on the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental disorders in children, adolescents, and their families. It investigates the biopsychosocial factors that influence the development and course of these psychiatric disorders and treatment responses to various interventions. Adolescence disorders can include developmental disorders, autistic spectrum disorder, learning disorders, disorders of attention and behavior, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, conduct disorder, psychotic disorders, childhood schizophrenia, mood disorders, depression, bipolar disorder, persistent depressive disorder, disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, anxiety disorders, panic disorder, phobias, obsessive compulsive disorder, eating disorders, anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, gender identity disorder. They can be comorbid (for example an adolescent can be diagnosed with both mood and anxiety disorders). The prevalence of psychiatric comorbidities during adolescence may vary by race and ethnicity.

Adolescent disorders

Domestic violence is violence or other abuse in a domestic setting, such as in marriage or cohabitation. Domestic violence is often used as a synonym for intimate partner violence, which is committed by a spouse or partner in an intimate relationship against the other spouse or partner, and can take place in heterosexual or same-sex relationships, or between former spouses or partners. In its broadest sense, domestic violence also involves violence against children, teenagers, parents, or the elderly. It takes a number of forms, including physical, verbal, emotional, economic, religious, reproductive, and sexual abuse, which can range from subtle, coercive forms to marital rape and to violent physical abuse such as choking, beating, female genital mutilation, and acid throwing that results in disfigurement or death. Domestic murders include stoning, bride burning, honor killings, and dowry deaths (which sometimes involve non-cohabitating family members). Domestic violence often occurs when the abuser believes that abuse is an entitlement, acceptable, justified, or unlikely to be reported. It may produce an intergenerational cycle of abuse in children and other family members, who may feel that such violence is acceptable or condoned. Many people do not recognize themselves as abusers or victims because they may consider their experiences as family conflicts that got out of control.

Domestic violence

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