Generalized Anxiety Disorder
While we all worry about important issues in our everyday lives, some people are constantly worrying over the littlest things and let it affect the way they live. If you are always feeling anxious and have trouble concentrating, you may suffer from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). GAD is a common anxiety disorder that affects about 4 million people in the US each year.
The cause of GAD is not known, but it is believed to be caused by a combination of biological, genetic and environmental factors. Symptoms appear gradually and most commonly begin during childhood or adolescence, although it can begin in adulthood as well. People with GAD may experience:
- Excessive and constant worrying
- Trouble concentrating
- Trouble falling or staying asleep
- Hot flashes
Your doctor can diagnose GAD by evaluating your symptoms and medical history and performing a physical examination. GAD can be effectively managed through medication and cognitive-behavioral therapy. Talk to your doctor today if you have experienced symptoms of GAD.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
Obsessive compulsive disorder, also known as OCD, is a common anxiety disorder that involves repetitive thoughts and controlling rituals. Obsessive compulsive disorder affects over 3 million Americans and is often accompanied with eating disorders, depression or other anxiety disorders.
People with obsessive compulsive disorder are overwhelmed by constant fears and distressing thoughts, known as obsessions, which they cannot control. These obsessions can include fear of dirt or germs, harming others, making a mistake or being embarrassed. In order to counteract these obsessions, people with obsessive compulsive disorder will perform certain rituals, known as compulsions. Common compulsions include:
- Repeated bathing or washing hands
- Counting while performing routine tasks
- Arranging things in a certain way
- Performing tasks a certain number of times
- Touching things in a certain order
The true cause of obsessive compulsive disorder is not known, but certain biological and environmental factors play a role. Most cases develop in childhood, adolescence or early adulthood. Obsessive compulsive disorder treatment focuses on cognitive-behavior therapy which teaches patients to confront their fears and reduce anxiety without the use of rituals. Severe cases of obsessive compulsive disorder may require electroconvulsive therapy or psychosurgery to release neurotransmitters in the brain.
Personality disorders are a group of common mental conditions characterized by certain thoughts and behaviors that are often self-destructive. These conditions affect up 10 to 15 percent of people at some point in their lives, and can range from mild to life-threatening. These disorders tend to develop during childhood and are believed to be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
Symptoms of a personality disorder can vary greatly depending on the type of disorder and the affected person, but general symptoms can include:
- Mood swings
- Angry outbursts
- Social isolation
- Troubled relationships
- Lack of impulse control
- Alcohol or substance abuse
Personality disorders are usually grouped into three different clusters based on the similar effects they may have.
- Cluster A – Odd, eccentric thinking and behaviors as in paranoid and schizoid disorders
- Cluster B – Dramatic and emotional thinking and behaviors such as antisocial, narcissistic and borderline disorders
- Cluster C – Anxious and fearful thinking and behaviors as in avoidant, dependent and obsessive-compulsive disorders
If you or someone you know seems to be experiencing signs of a personality disorder, it is important to seek medical help. Personality disorders can lead to depression, abuse, violence, and even suicide.
Treatment for these disorders usually includes psychotherapy, medications, hospitalization or a combination of these. Working with a team of experienced doctors to provide full physical and emotional support is often most effective. It is important for you to work with your doctor(s) to decide which treatment is best for you and receive the best possible care.
Schizophrenia is a serious and dangerous disorder of the brain that involves hearing voices, paranoia and terrifying thoughts. Schizophrenia affects about one percent of Americans and is a disabling disease that often leaves people unable to hold a job or take care of themselves.
Signs of schizophrenia usually begin earlier in men than in women, but occur in the 20s or early 30s. The specific cause is unknown, but like other mental illnesses, it is believed to be a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Schizophrenia also tends to run in families, where the occurrence of disease increases to 10 percent.
Symptoms of schizophrenia fall into three different categories: positive, which are abnormal behaviors not seen in healthy people; negative, which are a decrease in normal emotions and behaviors; and cognitive, which are subtle and usually only detected through neuropsychological testing. Some of these symptoms include:
- Positive – hallucinations, delusions, unusual thoughts, clumsy and uncoordinated movement.
- Negative – loss of interest in everyday life, inability to partake in planned activity, decrease in speaking, neglecting basic hygiene.
- Cognitive – trouble paying attention, problems with working memory, trouble absorbing information.
There is no cure for schizophrenia, but the disorder can usually be managed through effective treatment of symptoms. Treatment usually includes antipsychotic medications and psychosocial therapies. A stable support system is also important for the treatment of schizophrenia. If you or someone you love is suffering from these symptoms, speak to a doctor right away.
To learn more about our Psychiatry Services, please call 641-494-5170 today to schedule an appointment. Our psychiatry patients come to us from Mason City, Algona, Iowa Falls, New Hampton and Charles City.