Study divides mental disorders into five categories

Mental illnesses, being severe health conditions, have become a major concern in the United States. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), approximately 18.5 percent adults in America experience mental disorders in a given year. Although most mental disorders are broadly divided under depression and anxiety, a recent research, published in December 2017 in JAMA Psychiatry, has outlined five categories of mental disorders. 

According to lead author Dr. Leanne Williams, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University, the broad diagnostic categories of anxiety and depression, as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) of Mental Disorders, have many overlapping symptoms that hinder the administration of accurate treatments or cures. The researchers conducted this study to overcome this obstacle and better define mental illnesses to enable accurate diagnoses of the condition so that tailored treatment programs could be offered.

The researchers said that all mental disorders can be divided into five categories, basis their symptoms and areas of brain activation. These categories included anxious arousal, tension, general anxiety, melancholia and anhedonia (the inability to feel pleasure).

1. Anxious arousal: This affects an individual’s cognitive functions including the ability to concentrate and control thoughts. One may also experience symptoms like a racing heart, sweating and feeling stressed.

2. Tension: An individual suffering from this type of disorder would display symptoms like irritability, over-sensitivity, being touchy and overwhelmed. A person affected by this has a hypersensitive nervous system.

3. General anxiety: A person affected by this category of illness experiences symptoms of physical stress, worry and anxious arousal.

4. Melancholia: When affected with this type of mental disorder, an individual begins to either totally avoid or restrict social interactions, which, in turn, worsens his or her distress.

5. Anhedonia: The primary symptom of this kind of a disorder is the inability to feel pleasure. Though one can function normally in his or her day-to-day life, people affected by this disorder become numb and are among the most distressed.

Tension affected majority study participants

The findings of the study were based on data collected from 420 participants, divided into the control group and people diagnosed with multiple anxieties and depression. A series of tests, like psychiatric diagnostic testing, brain mapping and self-reporting of symptoms, were used to determine their everyday functioning, capacity for building social relationships and general outlook on life. These tests were again conducted on a second independent sample of 381 people.

The results of the tests were analyzed to identify the five new categories across both the groups. It was found that out of the total study sample, 13 percent were characterized by anxious arousal, 19 percent by tension, 9 percent by general anxiety, 9 percent by melancholia and 7 percent by anhedonia.

Dealing with anxiety disorders

Depression and anxiety affect people across the globe, leading to disability and lost productivity. According to the NIMH, only about half of those diagnosed with a mental illness receive treatment. Therefore, it is extremely important to ensure that the disorder is understood properly and the best suitable treatment is provided.

If you or someone you know is looking for depression treatment in Arizona or anxiety disorder treatment in Arizona, the Anxiety Disorder Treatment Arizona can help. Call our 24/7 helpline number 866-425-9317 to connect with the best mental health treatment facilities in Arizona. You can even chat online with one of our experts for related information.