1. Bipolar disorder
This is a disorder associated with extreme mood swings. A person’s moods alternate between two opposite ends, that is to say, from extreme sadness to euphoric happiness. Most people start developing this behavior in their late teens but are well diagnosed in the age between 25 and 40 years.
The cause is not clearly known but it is thought to result from chemical (neurotransmitters) imbalance. Imbalance of norepinephrine, serotonin and dopamine levels are believed to be the cause.
Bipolar disorder has a genetic and environmental tie. It can pass down through family members. However, it has to be triggered by some stress.
Symptoms include behaviors revolving around mania and depression. A sick person should be helped to find medical care especially when it threatens basic health. Blood tests or X-rays are used to confirm the disorder.
There is no cure for bipolar disorder. However, proper therapy can manage it and a sick person can go on functioning normally. Treatment is geared towards medication that stabilizes mood swings accompanied with counseling. Medication is not very effective. Counseling is most successful especially with support from family members.
Medication available for prescriptions in the market includes: lithium, valproic acid (depolcote) and Olanzine (zyprexa) among others. They work by balancing neurotransmitters in the brain. Some of their side effects include
• Lithium – increased urination, dizziness, nausea and diarrhea.
• Valproic acid – Drowsiness, weakness, nausea and diarrhea.
• Olanzapine – decreased alertness.
2. Depressive disorder
This is a disorder characterized with a feeling of sadness. It can affect people of all ages but in the United States, it is five times more common in the elderly than young people (Depression facts: www.enmechizmhealth.com)
The causes include a combination of genetic, biological and environmental factors. It is triggered by abnormalities in the levels of neurotransmitters (serotin, norepinephrine and dopamine) in the brain. Certain types of depressive disorders are hereditary. Research has not cleared diagnosed the involved genes. Personality traits such as pessimism, difficult situations such as lose of loved ones, medical conditions e.g. stroke and substance abuse are some of the biological and environmental factors.
Symptoms include sadness, crying spells, loss of interest in usual activities, weight loss, inability to sleep, fatigue, thoughts of suicide, headache, boredom and diminished ability to think or concentrate.
Treatment includes psychotherapy and medication. However psychotherapy is the most effective. Medical treatment includes antidepressants and supportive care-such as psychotherapy given by psychiatrists. Ant depressants medications in the market include: Selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRI), Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs), Monoamine Oxidase inhibitors (MAOs). SSRIs affect levels of serotonin in the brain.Common SSRIs include fluoxetine, paroxetine and citalopram. TCAs are prescribed in severe cases of depression especially when SSRIs have failed to work. Examples of TCAs include Doxepin and mipramine. MAOs are not commonly used and examples include phenelzine and tranylcypromine. Some of the side effects associated with those medications include: dizziness, nausea, weakness and drowsness.
3. Generalized Anxiety disorder
This is a disorder characterized with mild feelings of nervousness to a strong feeling of dread or fear. Symptoms include muscle tension, muscle aches and shaky feelings. It does not affect the brain. The disorder makes the ordinary doing of things difficult. People with the disorder cannot be able to relax. They often get fatigued. It is common in children and adolescents.
It is not genetic however research is being conducted to determine that. It is mainly induced by environmental factors. Psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy are treatments with the former being the most effective. Medication used include: Ativan, Lipoxide and lurux. Some of the side effects of those drugs are similar to those of bipolar disorder.
Obsessive compulsive disorder
This disorder is characterized with obsessions or compulsions or both. Obsessions or compulsion cause distress therefore one cannot concentrate on work or whatever is being done. Obsessions symptoms include: recurring thoughts, impulses or images that intrude into awareness. Compulsion symptoms include the need for repetitive physical and mental behaviors. Example of obsessive behavior is silently repeating words while that of compulsive include behavior like checking the door to confirm whether it is really closed. It is triggered by substance use, medication and drug abuse.
The exact cause is not clear though it is linked with shortage of serotonin in the brain.It has no cure. Treatment includes counseling, psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy. Current medication and include luvox, anafruvial and prozac. Prozac has a side effect of weakness and drowsiness.
4. Substance Abuse disorder
The disorder is a result of over indulgence and dependence on addictive substance such as alcohol or narcotics. It is not genetic at all. In the United States it is very common especially with the youth. People abuse substances to get a feeling of being ‘high’. Some do that to run away from frustrations. Substance abuses affect normal functioning of the brain. It is thought that they also cause imbalance of neurotransmitters. Treatments include counseling and proper use of prescribed medicine.
This is a chronic and disabling mental disorder. Its symptoms include delusions, hallucinations, disorganized thoughts and behaviors and disorganized speech.
The cause is not clear however it is a combination of genetic, biological, environmental and psychological factors. Neurotransmitters imbalance trigger the condition. The neurotransmitters involved include dopamine, serotin and glutamate. it is also thought to be a disorder of the development of the brain.
It has no cure but symptoms treatable. Antipsychotic medications are effective. Examples of antipsychotic medication include: risperidone, olanzapine, aripiprazole and quetiapine. Olanzapine has a side effect of causing decreased alertness. Psychotherapy is recommended and is the most effective.