Eating disorders are responsible for more loss of life than any other type of psychological illness.At least 1.1 million people in the UK are affected by an eating disorder, with young people in the age-group 14-25 being most at risk of developing this type of illness.Eating disorders arise from a variety of physical, emotional, social issues, all of which need to be addressed for effective prevention and treatment.

Organic Brain Disorders

These types of disorders are the direct result of physical changes that affect the brain. In other words, there are various diseases and disorders that can affect or damage the brain, leading to an impaired mental function. The term is used to denote physical disorders than can lead to mental illnesses and not the psychiatric ones. However, the demarcation between the two is almost impossible in many cases. So, this term is not widely used nowadays. The following are some of the mental illnesses that come under the term organic brain disorder/organic brain disease/organic brain syndrome.
•Huntington disease – an inherited disease that affects the brain. It causes progressive breakdown of the nerve cells in the brain, leading to functional, cognitive and psychiatric problems.
•Multiple sclerosis – another degenerative disease, multiple sclerosis affects the myelin sheath covering of the nerve cells, thereby slowing down or stopping the nerve impulses. This disorder affects the central nervous system (brain & spinal cord), causing a wide range of physical as well as mental symptoms.
•Alzheimer’s disease – one of the common causes of dementia (loss of brain function caused by certain diseases), Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by degeneration and death of brain cells, thereby affecting the mental function.
•Parkinson’s Disease – a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system. This condition affects the nerve cells’ ability to send messages and cause tremors that may even lead to paralysis.
•There are various cardiovascular diseases that may affect the functioning of the brain and lead to certain mental illnesses. These include stroke, cardiac arrhythmias, infections of the heart, etc.
•Sometimes mental disorders can be trauma-induced. For example, a head injury can affect the brain and cause damage to the organ, causing mental disorders.
•There are various other conditions that can affect brain functioning. They include medical conditions like cancer, thyroid problems, liver and kidney diseases, infections (like septicemia), certain vitamin deficiencies (like B12), drug and alcohol related – intoxication, drug and alcohol withdrawal symptoms, etc.
Mood and Anxiety Disorders

Some of the common mental illnesses come under this category. Mood disorders (otherwise called affective disorders) include conditions that are caused by persistent and extreme mood swings, like excessive happiness or sadness. Examples include depression, bipolar disorder, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), dysthymia, etc. Mood disorders can be substance-induced (like, alcohol and drugs) too. Anxiety disorders are conditions characterized by excessive and abnormal fear and anxiety. Various types of mental disorders come under this category. They include generalized anxiety disorder, phobias and panic disorder. The symptoms of these conditions can be so mild that others might not even suspect that the patient has any mental disorder. But, in some cases, the symptoms can affect the day-to-day activities, leading to a total disability. While some people develop such disorders after going through traumatic events, they can also be genetic or congenital.

Personality Disorders

Personality or character disorders are among some of the common types of mental illnesses. Those affected with such disorders have abnormal personality and behavioral patterns that clash with the social norms and expectations. They find it difficult to deal with people and to form healthy relationships. Such people are rigid in their thinking pattern and behavior, thereby leading to problems whenever they interact with people. Some of the common types of personality disorders are antisocial personality disorder, schizoid personality disorder, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder and paranoid personality disorder.

There are 3 categories of personality disorder: Odd and unusual behavior – includes paranoid personality (a person who feels that everyone and everything is against them when in reality this is not true) and schizoid personality (apathetic to others and no desire to socialize). Another type is schizotypal personality disorder, which makes people extremely anxious in social situations. They may find it difficult to form relationships.

Next is dramatic, emotional or erratic behavior, which is seen in an antisocial personality (who has no respect for rules and regulations and often violates them, causing harm to others). This category includes borderline personality (erratic emotions and stress) too. Those with histrionic personality are attention seekers and manipulators. People with narcissistic personality are self-centered to the core.

The third category of personality disorders deals with those having an anxious and fearful nature. This group includes: avoidant personality disorder (fear of taking risks, gullible, hypersensitive, avoids all things that include social interaction), dependent personality disorder (dependent and submissive nature, allow others to take personal decisions, uncomfortable while lonely, need constant assurance) and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (repetitive, compelling thoughts and obsessions concerning things that are not real – for instance, cleaning things that are already clean).



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