Psychological Disorders: Types & Definitions

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

This lesson will go over a few examples of psychological disorders and their definitions in detail. The ones covered in this lesson are ADHD, eating disorders, and paraphilic disorders.

Psychological Disorders

Over time, treatment of many people with psychological disorders has ranged from families and others caring for the mentally ill in homes to abject disregard and abuse. Thankfully, in modern societies today, a greater understanding of the causes of mental illness has led to greater compassion being shown to persons with mental illness. Another thing that has changed today is the classification of psychological disorders.

In fact, there are many different types of psychological disorders. This lesson will give you a taste of their wide breadth as we state and define a few.

ADHD & Binge Eating

One well-known psychological disorder is called ADHD which stands for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and is a type of psychological disorder that begins in childhood. However, for some people, it may continue into adulthood. The following are a few of the important characteristics of this disorder:

  • A pattern of behavior must be present, this means inattention, hyperactivity, and/or impulsivity.
  • It must be present in more than one setting (e.g. school, home, work.)
  • It may impact the person's performance in the above setting(s).

Another category of psychological disorders is that of eating disorders. There are many eating disorders including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. In this lesson, we will focus on one, binge eating disorder. Binge eating disorder refers to a type of recurrent situation where a person eats much more food, in a relatively short timeframe, than most individuals would under similar conditions. The person doing the binge eating will eat quickly even when they're not hungry. They may eat like this alone due to feelings of embarrassment or guilt and they will do so at least once a week over the course of three months. These episodes of binge eating are additionally tinged with a feeling of a lack of control and distress.

Paraphilic Disorders

Less well-known than ADHD and eating disorders is perhaps a category of disorders known as paraphilic disorders, which are certain types of sexual disorders. When defined improperly, paraphilic disorders may be defined as any unusual sexual behavior. But this definition is incorrect. It's one thing for a person to have unusual sexual behaviors and it's another thing for that behavior to additionally cause distress to the person with the disorder and/or make the person with the disorder a serious physical and/or psychological threat to the well-being of another individual.

To emphasize this point, one should note that most people with an atypical sexual interest or behavior do not have a mental disorder according to the DSM-5, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition which is used extensively by the American Psychiatric Association and other mental health professionals. To actually be diagnosed with a paraphilic disorder according to the DSM-5, people with such interests must meet one or both of the following requirements:

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