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Non-Psychotic Disorders of the Nervous System

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  • 0:07 Non-Psychotic Disorders
  • 0:48 Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • 2:41 Clinical Depression and SAD
  • 3:54 Avoidant Personality Disorder
  • 4:40 They All Affect the Brain
  • 6:10 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov
In this lesson, we'll go over three main classes of non-psychotic disorders that affect the mind. We'll cover mood, anxiety, and personality disorders such as OCD, depression, SAD, and more.

Non-Psychotic Disorders

We've all had our bad days in life, days where we feel anxious or down. That's just a normal part of life and something most of us just deal with the best that we can. But in some cases, these feelings get the best of even the strongest of us and it turns into a serious concern. Whether they are personality disorders or anxiety disorders, they can affect anyone around you. Even the bubbliest little girl sitting next to you may actually hide a much darker secret. This lesson will explore some of these unfortunate non-psychotic disorders of our mind that arise partially as a result of chemical imbalances in our nervous system, namely the brain.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

When we are anxious in life, that means we're a bit worried, perhaps about a test, or meeting someone, or starting the first day of work. That's a normal feeling that we not only acknowledge but also recognize goes away with time. In some cases though, some people's anxieties get the best of them and become a life-long obsession. One such famous anxiety disorder is known as obsessive-compulsive disorder. This is a disorder characterized by an individual's repeated and undesirable thoughts and actions.

As you can tell by the name of this disorder, it has two parts. The first part is obsession. This is where unreasonable thought constantly enters a person's mind, such as constant contamination by germs. The other part is compulsion. This is where the person acts out on their obsessive and fearful thoughts. In the case of someone being afraid of germs, they may do something like wash their hands really often, wear gloves, or a face-mask. These actions are performed to give the person a sense of relief and release from the stress of not performing them. Meaning, a person with OCD may not want to do what it is they do, but they feel compelled to in order to feel a bit more relaxed about their obsessive thoughts.

The reason that this, or any other non-psychotic disorder isn't considered psychotic, is because the person with such a condition is generally aware that their thoughts and actions aren't reasonable and that they are of their own creation. This is in contrast to a psychotic disorder where someone is far removed from reality. The reason anxiety disorders occur isn't always clear. Genetics and environmental factors may play a role in their development, but the extent to which one influences the other more isn't always clear.

Clinical Depression and SAD

Regardless, anxiety disorders aren't the only non-psychotic disorders that are out there. For example, we may not feel very anxious about a test or going to meet new friends at school, but we may be labeled as someone who is moody. This may be because we're just having a bad day, which is fine. But, if this becomes a serious and constant problem, we may have a mood disorder.

One famous non-psychotic mood disorder is known as clinical depression. This is a condition where the person suffering from it experiences feelings of unworthiness, low self-esteem, and sadness that interfere with that person's ability to work, sleep, and live a normal life. This condition, in severe cases, may actually have psychotic elements of other potentially psychotic mood disorders, such as bipolar disorder. But in more moderate cases, the person is well aware of reality and doesn't suffer from any psychotic episodes.

While genetics probably play a role in depression, environmental factors do so as well, as evidenced by one particular form of depression, known as seasonal affective disorder, a condition where a person is depressed during the autumn and winter months, but typically feels better during the spring and summer months.

Avoidant Personality Disorder

Other than mood and anxiety disorders, non-psychotic neurologically-based conditions also include personality disorders. One such disorder is known as avoidant personality disorder, a disorder characterized by avoidance of social interactions, feelings of worthlessness, and extreme sensitivity to criticism and rejection. Individuals with this condition may sometimes actually reject the friendship or advances of even very well-meaning individuals, all in order to avoid potentially being rejected themselves in the future by that same person. This leads to a cycle of solitude and further avoidance of people, as well as poor social skill development in individuals affected with this condition early in their life.

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