Magnolia Minute – Common Mental Illnesses

October 22, 2020 9:34 am Published by

By: Amanda Ham, Nurse Practitioner at Magnolia Behavioral Health Clinic

Some of the most common mental illnesses include anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, and the bipolar spectrum disorders. Symptoms of these disorders can overlap and may be difficult to differentiate. The anxiety disorders have predominant features of fear and worry. Some patients experience restlessness or feeling on edge. Difficulty concentrating may occur, as well as irritability, muscle tension, sleep disturbances, and fatigue.

The common feature of depressive disorders is a sad, empty, or irritable mood, along with physical complaints and cognitive function impairment. Cognitive functions include the following: attention, decision making, general knowledge, judgment, language, memory, perception, planning, reasoning, and visuospatial skills. Bipolar disorder has a range of symptoms that typically includes a history of a major depressive episode, as well as at least one lifetime episode of mania or hypomania. Symptoms of mania include “elevated, expansive, or irritable mood and abnormally and persistently increased goal-directed activity or energy” (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Along with these symptoms, patients may experience increased self-esteem, decreased need for sleep, increased talkativeness, racing thoughts, distractibility, and risk-taking behaviors.

The difference between mania and hypomania is the severity of the mood disturbance. Cyclothymia is a bipolar spectrum disorder that does not meet full criteria for major depression, nor mania or hypomania. Because of the ability of symptoms to cross domains, it is important to have a psychiatric evaluation for an accurate diagnosis if you are experiencing any symptoms to a significant degree. All of these disorders may require treatment with medications and/or psychotherapy. For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call Magnolia Behavioral Health Clinic at (662) 293-7635.

Amanda L. Ham, ANP-BC, PMHNP-BC

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