Behavioural Disorders and Treatment
Anxiety affects us all at different points in our lives. Typically, we feel anxious when we are faced with something stressful or frightening like a first date or a public speech. These feelings are normal. Anxiety commonly manifests itself in physical symptoms such as chest pain, headaches, and involuntary trembling.
However, anxiety should not affect your ability to work, study or maintain relationships. If these symptoms persist throughout the events of everyday life and affect your ability to complete even the most mundane tasks, you could be suffering from an anxiety disorder.
Anxiety is a blanket term for many distinct disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, specific phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder, acute stress disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Depression is a common but serious mood disorder. According to the World Health Organization, 350 million people worldwide live with depression. That’s equivalent to 5% of the world’s population. It affects every person differently, and for that reason, it is a difficult mental illness to treat. Depression has many clinical forms including persistent depressive disorder, perinatal depression, psychotic depression, seasonal affective disorder and bipolar disorder.
Depression in all of its forms makes a person feel as though they’re stuck in a hopeless situation they’re unable to escape from. It affects a person’s mood and vitality and can accompany anxiety disorders. It interferes with a person’s motivation and ability to be productive, active and/or social.
The more a person understands their depressive behaviour, the easier it is for them to make positive lifestyle changes to combat it. Even the most severe depression is treatable. Eating well, sleeping better and employing an exercise routine to keep motivated every day can help lift a person’s mood and loosen the hold of depression. Medications will help ease the psychological symptoms of the disorder, but medical treatment works best once one has already taken the steps toward a healthier lifestyle.
Compulsive gambling or gambling addiction is an impulse disorder. A person with a gambling addiction may be aware of the consequences of their actions, but continue to gamble anyway. Gambling can be further categorized as a compulsive or pathological disorder.
Gambling can stimulate the human brain’s reward system in the same way that drugs or alcohol can, and can quickly lead to addictive behaviours. People with existing behavioural disorders such as depression or anxiety are at a higher risk of developing a gambling addiction.
Because of the growing accessibility of online gambling platforms and outlets, gambling addiction does not discriminate. People of all ages, incomes and cultural backgrounds are at risk of developing an addiction to gambling. If the addictive behaviours are not treated, they can be extremely detrimental to a person’s health, finances and career. As with any addiction, a person’s compulsive gambling can also directly impact their personal relationships.
Sexual addiction is a behavioural disorder in which a person becomes excessively preoccupied with sexual thoughts or actions. Also known as hypersexuality, compulsive sexual behaviour or sexual dependency, a sex addiction has the ability to interfere with a person’s health, career and relationships.
A person exhibiting compulsive sexual behaviours may have affairs with strangers, view pornography, masturbate frequently and engage in sex chat rooms or phone lines. The person may do all of these things in excess, leading to impaired relationships and decreased quality of life.
Compulsive sexual behaviour can be as destructive and devastating as any other addiction, but the shame and fear of being stigmatized often prevents those with a sexual addiction from seeking the help they deserve. A sexual addiction can be treated through customized therapy just like any other disorder or addiction.
Eating disorders fall into three main conditions, which are all characteristically distinct: anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder.
Anorexia nervosa (commonly referred to as anorexia) is a mental disorder characterized by obsessive calorie counting, excessive exercise and restrictive eating habits, which can lead to dramatic weight loss. People with anorexia have a distorted body image and see themselves as overweight, even when that is not the reality.
Bulimia nervosa (commonly referred to as bulimia) is characterized by binge eating followed by purging. Binge eating refers to eating an abnormally large amount of food in a short period of time. Purging refers to the subsequent attempts to eliminate the food consumed. People usually purge food through self-induced vomiting or laxatives.
Binge eating disorder is characterized by recurrent episodes of eating large quantities of food very quickly. Each episode is typically accompanied by a sense of loss of control and feelings of shame, distress or guilt. A person with binge eating disorder does not use compensatory measures like purging to counter the binge eating like a bulimic person would.
Without treatment, eating disorders can lead to bone thinning, anemia, low blood pressure, organ failure, brain damage and infertility. Symptoms of eating disorders can also be fatal if left untreated. Fortunately, an eating disorder is an absolutely treatable form of mental illness.