Back To CoursePathophysiology Textbook
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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.
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.
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.
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.
As you can tell, whether it's mood, anxiety, or personality disorders, they all affect some kind of errant interpretation or output involving the brain. Some of these disorders may truly alter the shape of the brain or may themselves develop as a result of physical change. Other ones are affected by or influence chemical imbalances of important hormones and neurotransmitters in the brain. That, and the fact that individuals with a lot of similar disorders may be predisposed to substance abuse, such as alcohol and drugs, only further exacerbates their condition or may even lead to the development of more serious psychotic conditions on top of their already troubled times.
Proper diagnosis by a clinical professional coupled with medicine and therapy can cause a lot of people with non-psychotic disorders to lead a much happier life. One thing must be kept in mind, however. One of the world's most famous psychiatrists, Carl Jung, once said, 'show me a sane man, and I'll cure him.' What he implied was the fact that we all are abnormal, and there may be no such thing as quote 'normal' individuals. In fact, in one culture, something may be deemed a disorder but be prized in another culture. It's all relative. One thing most psychiatrists can agree upon, however, is that if a certain mood, behavior, or action is causing an individual consistently negative feelings and consequences, then it cannot be considered a normal event.
So, we went over three main classes of non-psychotic disorders: mood, personality, and anxiety. 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. 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 interferes with a person's ability to work, sleep, and live a normal life.
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. Finally, we mentioned personality disorders as well. 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.
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Back To CoursePathophysiology Textbook
20 chapters | 274 lessons