Mental Disorders Essay

This essay has a total of 1909 words and 9 pages.


Mental Disorders





There are many diseases and disorders that may affect the human mind. Some of these are
serious, while others are minor and may not even be noticed. Some of the disorders and
diseases to be covered in this report are delirium, dementia, and schizophrenia, also a
discussion of specific symptoms and treatments available for the different disorders.

A mental illness is defined as any disease that affects a person’s mind, thoughts,
emotions, personality, or behavior. For any mental illness, as in a physical illness,
there are symptoms that make it possible to identify when a person is suffering from a
mental disorder or illness. Some of the more common symptoms of these disorders include
extreme moods, sadness, anxiety and the inability to think clearly or remember well.
Just because a person may experience some of these symptoms it does not mean that he or
she is suffering from an illness. Almost everyone at sometime in their lives will not be
able to think clearly or be in a bad mood. These characteristics are just part of human
nature and are more than likely than not just a passing mood that will pass in a few
moments. A diagnosis of a mental illness may be necessary if the symptoms occur so often
that they interfere with the person’s everyday life.


An amazingly large number of Americans have mental illnesses, approximately 43% of the
entire population of the United States. Although most of these are not serious, about 3%
of the American population have a mental illness that can be classified as serious. This
small population of the public will require treatment to either relieve or cure them of
their illness. Since the 1950’s, treatment for mental illness has greatly improved
and has made recovery faster. These improvements will help the majority of the people who
seek treatment return to their normal lives faster.

There are two basic terms used to describe the seriousness of mental illness that a person
has. The terms used are neurosis, and psychosis. A neurosis is the term used to describe
a mild disorder that may cause a small amount of emotional stress, but does not cause a
great deal of interference in the patients everyday life. The term psychosis is used to
describe a severe mental illness that is strong enough to prevent someone from performing
as they normally would. The term “insanity” is used to describe a person with
a mental illness. This is not a medical term. It is actually a legal term that is used in
court to try to prove a person to not be legally responsible for their actions.

There are more than one hundred different types of mental illness. They are divided into
ten categories. These categories include delirium, dementia, schizophrenia, mood
disorders, anxiety disorders, dissociative disorders, somatoform disorders, personality
disorders, eating, and finally substance disorders.

The first of these categories, delirium is when a person is not aware of their environment
and can be distracted very easily or become confused. Sometimes a delirious person may
not know where or who they are, their speech may be hard to follow and be very
disorganized. Delirium however is not usually a long lasting illness and the person is
over it in a week or so.

A second form of mental illness is dementia. Dementia can be diagnosed by a loss of the
ability to remember and judge things appropriately. A person with dementia may have a
difficult time with remembering names, conversations, and not follow rules or laws.
Dementia occurs mostly in elderly people and is the result of illnesses such as
Alzheimer’s disease that destroys brain tissue.

A third, and very serious type of mental illness, is schizophrenia. This disorder affects
a person’s way of thinking, their emotions, perceptions, and their behavior. It is
determined that a person has schizophrenia if he or she displays one or more of the
following characteristics. One of these characteristics that a person may hear
“voices” even tough they are completely alone. Another characteristic is that
the person may feel persecuted for no apparent reason.”(World Book Encyclopedia).
Other more subtle symptoms of this disease include a decrease in the person’s
ability to work, their inability to maintain personal relationships and their inability to
perform well in school.

The symptoms of schizophrenia are divided up into two categories, positive and negative.
Positive symptoms of schizophrenia are exaggerations of emotions that a person may feel.
These exaggerations of emotions are the cause of the hallucinations, delusions, and
strange speech patterns that a schizophrenic may experience. The negative symptoms of
schizophrenia are the loss of emotions and mental ability. The negative symptoms cause
the person to begin to have trouble finishing activities, show a decrease in, as well as,
a dulling in their speech and emotions.

Although the exact cause of schizophrenia has not yet been pinpointed, scientists believe
that schizophrenia is the result of either physical or chemical changes in a
person’s brain. These changes begin during the late teens to early twenties.
Unfortunately, the person cannot be completely cured with any of the methods now in use.

The next type of disorder is commonly referred to as a mood or affective disorder. These
disorders are based upon a person’s mood. The two major types of disorders are
depression and mania. Depression is when a person undergoes a period of extreme sadness
and mania is when a person is overly happy, excited or overactive. A type of illness that
falls into these categories is a bipolar disorder, which is when a person will experience
periods of extreme mood swings. Although a person has bipolar disorder the episodes of
mood changes are usually brief and he or she can return to normal functioning levels after
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