Psychiatric Disorders, Diseases and Drugs


Psychiatric disorders refer to a pattern of behavioral and psychological symptoms that causes distress upon the person and impairs their ability to function in life. They are also known by other terms as psychological disorders, psychiatric conditions or mental illness. Psychiatric disorders are of different types and include various cognitive, affective, behavioral and perceptive disorders. This essay will discuss the causes and drugs used for treatment of selected psychiatric disorders.

Disorders and diseases


Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that is characterized by disordered thought processes, a persistent feeling of being controlled by outside forces, strange perceptions and delusions. These symptoms are also accompanied by serious emotional disturbances. People suffering from schizophrenia often report hearing voices that comment on the person’s behavior or thoughts. Others experience hallucinations with persecutory or jealous content (Gottesman, Shields&. Hanson, 1982, p.6).This eventually leads to a decrease in previous level of functioning. This is noted in poor social relations, organization, self care and inability to work well as before.

It is believed that schizophrenia develops due to gene inheritance, structural anomalies in the brain, biochemical dysfunction, use of hallucinogens & pschostimulants and environmental stress (Bellack, 2009, p.7). Stress is thought to alter the brain during prenatal development (during pregnancy) and early child hood and therefore making the person susceptible to developing the condition. A common belief is that those people with little genetic vulnerability develop the condition through epigenetic change resulting from social stress, family stress and other environmental factors.


Depression is characterized by disturbed mood, negative self concept, and regressive behaviors which persist for more than a month. Depression is caused by both internal and eternal factors. Internal causes are those that are associated with changes in the physical function of the body. External factors are varied and may include the environment, financial problems, and other stressing factors (Beck& Alford, 2009, p.70).

Depression is classified differently according to symptoms that are manifested and severity. The main types include Major Depressive Disorder (clinical depression), Dysthymic Disorder, and Manic Depression. Other categories of depression are post partum depression, seasonal affective disorder, atypical depression, reactive depression and chronic depression.


Mania occurs when a person experiences highly elevated or irritable mood for more than a week. These experiences are abnormal because they usually differ with the way the individual was before. The person may also not feel a need to sleep, becomes more talkative and may also involve themselves excessively in pleasurable activities. Depression is thought to be the main cause of mania. Other causes include drug use and conditions like brain tumors. Manic disorders also vary by severity of the symptoms and include hypomania which is the mild form and a severe form that also includes delusions.

Anxiety disorders

There are many forms of anxiety disorders. The main characteristic that is definitive of anxiety disorders is persistent fear and panic.The main types of anxiety disorder include panic disorders in which a person experiences physiological changes like sweating and increased heart rate.Panic attacks are often triggered by a situation where the person feel extreme fear.

Other forms include persistent anxiety disorder occurs when a person continues to experience anxiety that cannot be pointed to a specific object or situation, separation anxiety occurs when a person loses an object with they have a strong attachment and post traumatic stress disorder which is usually experienced when the person has witnessed or participated in situations that involved extreme violence like wars, physical abuse or torture and natural disasters (Balch, 2006, p.556).

Social anxiety disorder is manifest when an individual experiences fear or extreme anxiety in situations where many people are present; such situation may involve giving a speech to large audience. Anxiety disorder also includes obsessive compulsive disorder in which a person repeats certain behavior due to compelling thoughts and images. Phobic disorders form the largest category of anxiety disorders. Phobic people experience anxiety and fear when they are in certain situations or when they become close to certain objects or people.

The causes of anxiety disorder are not well known. However there is evidence that heredity, extreme stress, traumatic experiences play an important role in the development of anxiety disorders (Balch, 2006, p.556).

Tourette syndrome

This disorder is characterized by involuntary movements and noises which occur in bouts many times in a day. These symptoms can be mild or distressing and disabling at times. Tourette syndrome occurs in different forms, for some people it may only involve facial tics and odd vocalizations while for others it involves over-activity, poor attention and even delusions (Robertson & Cohen, 1998, p.2-8).

The cause of this syndrome is linked to the interaction between genetic and perinatal factors are believed to increase susceptibility to developing the syndrome. The body’s autoimmune mechanisms are also attributed to the development of the condition (Robertson&Cohen, 1998, p.33).

Drugs for treatment and their effects

Most of these disorders are treated using antidepressant or neuroleptic medications which are used to help control the symptoms. Antipsychotics are mainly used to manage depression.Anticonvulsants are used to control involuntary muscle movements like in the case of Tourette syndrome and Attention deficit –deficit hyper activity disorder.Anti depressant are associated with various side effects like loss of libido, nausea, head aches, weight loss or gain and skin rashes. Antipsychotic drugs seem to cause diabetes mellitus, pancreatitis and increased risk for heart attack. They are also thought to lead decreased immunity as well.


Psychiatric disorders limit the level of functioning; this limits the individual’s capacity to engage in normal social relations, work, and their ability to care for themselves. The selected disorders as discussed in this paper are further differentiated into subtypes according symptoms and severity of the conditions. Anti depressant and antipsychotics are mostly used to treat different psychiatric disorders. Although they can be regarded as efficacious, they have many side effects as well.


Balch, P. A. (2006). Prescription for Nutritional Healing. USA: Avery, penguin group.

Beck, A.T & Alford, B.A. (2009). Depression: Causes and Treatment. Pennsylvania: University of Pennsylvania press.

Bellack, A.S. (1989). A Clinical guide for the treatment of schizophrenia. USA: Springer.

Gottesman, I.I., Shields, J. & Hanson, D.R. (1982).Schizophrenia, the epigenetic puzzle. USA: CUP Archive.

Robertson, M.M. & Cohen, S.B. (1998). Tourette syndrome: the facts. Great Britain: Oxford University Press.

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