Almost one in five US adults (51.5 million in 2019) have a mental illness. Of these, 13.1 million adults live with a serious mental illness (SMI), representing 5.2% of all adults in the nation. Despite this prevalence, less than half, or only 23 million, receive mental health care.
The thing is, mental health conditions, including emotional disturbance, can cause severe impairment.
Research also confirms how mental disorders can increase the risk of premature mortality. In women, mental illness can reduce life expectancy by an average of seven years. In men, having a mental health condition can cut life expectancy by an average of 10 years.
For those reasons, it’s vital to learn how to tell normal stress apart from severe distress. This can help you determine if you or a loved one has a mental health condition.
To that end, we created this guide on the most common types of emotional disturbance. Read on to discover what they are and their associated signs and symptoms.
Anxiety Disorders (AD)
Anxiety disorders are the most common form of mental and emotional disturbance. They affect an estimated 18% of the US adult population at any given year. About one in four kids between 13 and 18 years also old have AD.
Anxiety disorders involve excessive anxiety or fear of something occurring in the future. They usually come with repeated instances of excessive worrying or even terror. These episodes, called “panic attacks,” often reach a peak within minutes.
There are many types of anxiety disorders, such as generalized AD, separation AD, and social AD. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is also a subset of AD. In some people with a substance abuse disorder, the use of substances itself can trigger AD.
Most types of anxiety disorders have similar signs and symptoms, including the following:
- Intense feelings of panic, danger, or even doom
- Rapid heart and breathing rate
- Sweating and trembling
- Difficulty in concentrating or sleeping due to constant worrying
- More frequent gastrointestinal (GI) problems
If you experience any of these, it’s best to see a doctor as soon as you can. This is especially important if the symptoms already interfere with your daily life.
Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)
Major depressive disorder, or depression, causes chronic feelings of sadness and disinterest. It can interfere with your daily activities and may also make you feel as if there’s nothing worthy to live for. It’s a common condition, affecting at least 17.3 million US adults and 3.2 million adolescents in 2017.
Aside from sadness, depression can also make you feel empty, tearful, or hopeless. It may make you angry, frustrated, or irritable, even over things you think are “trivial.” All these can then make you feel tired and fatigued, which can then cause you to have trouble sleeping.
Depression usually comes with a loss of interest in things you used to enjoy. This can also make you shy away from people. Your appetite may also either disappear or increase, causing changes to your weight.
Other symptoms that can indicate MDD include:
- Guilt or self-blame
- Concentration and memory issues
- “Phantom” pain or sudden onset of headaches and back pain
If you or a loved one experiences any of these, please seek immediate expert help. It’s even more important if thoughts of death have crossed your mind.
Depending on your symptoms, your doctor may prescribe anti-depressant medications. Treatment often starts with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), such as fluoxetine. Doctors may also prescribe serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), such as duloxetine.
In other countries like Russia, doctors sometimes prescribe an anxiolytic drug called bromantane. It purportedly reduces inflammation caused by depression. You can find out more information on where you can (and if you should) buy bromantane here.
Bipolar disorder is a type of mental illness that causes erratic shifts in moods. It also leads to unusual changes in energy, concentration, and activity levels. It affects an estimated 7 million US adults or 2.8% of the adult population.
Bipolar disorder comes in three types: Bipolar I, Bipolar II, and Cyclothymic Disorder. They all cause noticeable changes in activities, moods, and energy levels.
The most apparent symptoms include extreme “ups” (manic) and “downs” (depressive). For example, a person with bipolar disorder can feel very “elated” and then become very sad. Patients may also exhibit high levels of energy followed by indifference or hopelessness.
If you or someone you care about exhibits these signs, please don’t delay seeing a therapist. Just like anxiety and depressive disorders, bipolar disorder can also lead to self-harm.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a chronic disorder that causes uncontrollable, recurring thoughts and behaviors. In people with OCD, persisting thoughts classify as “obsessions.” By contrast, repeated behaviors are those considered “compulsions.”
A person with OCD experiences urges to repeat these thoughts and behaviors. According to experts, this condition has a lifetime prevalence of 2.3% in the US.
Obsessions in OCD can take many forms, but in many cases, it can make a person have an excessive fear of germs. It may also be an obsession to always want things in perfect order or in a symmetrical way.
Fear of germs or contamination can cause people with OCD to keep cleaning themselves. They may also be compulsive in such a way that they keep arranging things in perfect order. Some individuals with OCD may also repeatedly check things, such as locks on doors.
OCD may not seem as bad as AD or MDD, but it can still cause extreme anxiety. For example, it may cause you to keep worrying about whether you locked your door or turned the stove off. Seeing things that aren’t in “perfect” order may also cause your mood to turn foul.
For this reason, please get in touch with a professional if you experience any of these signs of OCD. Left untreated, this condition can progress into anxiety or depressive disorder.
Help Is Available for People Experiencing Emotional Disturbance
If you have an emotional disturbance disorder, know that you don’t have to bear it alone. You can always get in touch with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You can also talk to someone at the SAMHSA Treatment Referral Helpline.
What’s important is to seek immediate mental help before things turn for the worse. The sooner you or your loved one get professional help, the sooner you can manage the condition.
Looking for more health, well-being, and fitness guides like this? Then please don’t hesitate to browse our other educational resources.
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