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Some Strange and Rare Psychological Disorders

1. Trichotillomania is where the sufferer is overcome by the powerful urge to pull out their own hair. This is includes eyelashes, scalp and facial hair, and even pubic hair. Where the person also consumes the hair, it can lead to something called “Rapunzel Syndrome” (intestinal problems caused by the body’s inability to digest human hair).

2. Foreign Accent Syndrome is usually the result of experiencing a stroke or severe brain injury. It results in the person speaking with a different accent – and one that they haven’t been exposed to personally. For example, an American will speak with a British accent or a Brit may start to sound as if they’re from New York.

3. Genital Retraction Syndrome is exactly what the name implies. It’s the irrational belief that the genitals or breasts are physically shrinking, and will disappear inside the person’s body, and will lead to their death.

4. Windigo Psychosis is where the person is fighting a constant craving for human flesh. At the same time, he or she is also afraid that they will become a cannibal.

5. Body Integrity Identity Disorder is rare and difficult to comprehend.  It is where the individual is convinced that their life would be significantly better if they were amputees – hence they feel the urge to have a healthy limb removed.  However, this usually leads to a psychiatric diagnosis and not the removal of their limb! 

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Understanding Schizophrenia

1. Schizophrenia often develops slowly. When the symptoms initially appear, typically in adolescence or early adulthood, they may appear to be more bewildering than serious.

2. In the early stages of the disorder, people with schizophrenia may find themselves losing the ability to relax, concentrate or sleep. They may start to shut long-time friends out of their lives. Often, work or school begins to suffer;, as does the individual’s personal appearance.

3. At the same time, there may be one or more episodes where the individual talks in ways that are difficult to understand. Additionally, he or she may report unusual perceptions.

4. Once schizophrenia has taken hold, it tends to appear in cycles of remission and relapse.

5. When in remission, a person with schizophrenia may seem relatively unaffected. Thus, they can function normally.

6. However, things are very different during a relapse. Typcially, the person will experience one or all of the following: delusions and/or hallucinations; lack of motivation; social withdrawal and thought disorders

7. Delusions are false beliefs that have no basis in reality. For example, people with schizophrenia may think that someone is spying on them, listening to their thoughts, or placing thoughts in their minds.

8. Hallucinations commonly consist of hearing voices that comment on the individual’s behaviour, are insulting or give commands. Less often, a person with schizophrenia will see or feel things that aren’t there.

9. Disorganized thinking makes some people with schizophrenia feel mixed up. In conversation, they may jump randomly from one unrelated topic to another. Depression and anxiety frequently accompany these feelings of confusion.

10. The symptoms of schizophrenia vary greatly from person to person, and from mild to severe. A specialist is needed to make the diagnosis.

Source: http://www.cmha.ca/mental_health/facts-about-schizophrenia/#.UOo3w_WwXmU (Adapted)

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What is Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD-NOS)?

This is also known as atypical autism. Two key characteristics are difficulties with social interaction skills and communication. Signs are often visible in babies but a diagnosis is usually not made until around age 4.

Social functioning skills

Once a child with PDD-NOS enters school, he or she will often be very eager to interact with classmates, but may act socially different from peers and be unable to make genuine connections. As they age, the closest connections they make are typically with their parents. Children with PDD-NOS have difficulty reading facial expressions and relating to feelings of others. They may not know how to respond when someone is laughing or crying. Literal thinking is also characteristic of PDD-NOS. They will most likely have difficulty understanding figurative speech and sarcasm.

Communication skills

Inhibited communication skills are also a sign of PDD-NOS. Infants with the disorder may not babble; as they age, they may not speak at the age at which speech develops in typical people. Once verbal communication begins, vocabulary is often limited. Some characteristics of language-based patterns are repetitive or rigid language, narrow interests, uneven language development, and poor nonverbal communication.

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PDD-NOS

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Some Strange and Rare Psychological Disorders

1. Trichotillomania is where the sufferer is overcome by the powerful urge to pull out their own hair. This is includes eyelashes, scalp and facial hair, and even pubic hair. Where the person also consumes the hair, it can lead to something called “Rapunzel Syndrome” (intestinal problems caused by the body’s inability to digest human hair).

2. Foreign Accent Syndrome is usually the result of experiencing a stroke or severe brain injury. It results in the person speaking with a different accent – and one that they haven’t been exposed to personally. For example, an American will speak with a British accent or a Brit may start sound as if they’re from New York.

3. Genital Retraction Syndrome is exactly what the name implies. It’s the irrational belief that the genitals or breasts are physically shrinking, and will disappear inside the person’s body – and will lead to their death.

4. Windigo Psychosis is where the person is fighting a constant craving for human flesh. At the same time, he or she also is afraid that they will become a cannibal.

5. Body Integrity Identity Disorder is rare and difficult to comprehend.  It is where the individual is convinced that their life would be significantly better if they were amputees – hence they feel the urge to have a healthy limb removed.  However, this leads to a psychiatric diagnosis and not the removal of their limb! 

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10 Rules for Coping with Anxiety and Panic

1. Remember, feelings of panic are just exaggerations of normal bodily stress reactions.

2. Sensations are neither harmful nor dangerous - just unpleasant. Nothing worse will happen.

3. Stop adding to the panic with frightening thoughts of where panic will lead.

4. Stay in the present. Be aware of what is happening to you rather than concern yourself with how much worse it might get.

5. Wait and give the fear time to pass.

6. Notice that when you stop adding to panic with frightening thoughts, the fear begins to fade.

7. Focus on coping with facing the fear rather than trying to avoid it or escape from it.

8. Look around you. Plan what you will do next as the panic subsides.

9. Think about the progress made so far, despite all the difficulties.

10. When you are ready to go on, do so in an easy, relaxed manner. There is no hurry.

Each time you cope with panic, you reduce your fear!

Source: http://www.panicsupport4u.com/coping.htm

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How to Cope with Worrying

1. Try to clearly identify the exact cause of your anxiety. It’s easier to deal with our tendency to worry if we know what is bothering us.

2. Face your worries and anxieties head on. Imagine a worse case scenario and think about what you would do if that happened. In reality, it’s actually unlikely to happen – and grasping that should lessen your anxiety and fear.

3.  Think through the different things that happened in your past. What has caused you to live in constant dread? Are you reliving fears that belong in the past, and are really unrelated to what’s happening right now?

4. Recognise that worrying won’t change the situation – so change your focus to thinking of solutions.

5. Try and take a few steps to increase your control so you don’t feel so powerless, overwhelmed and trapped.

6. Remind yourself of all your different strengths and gifts – as you’re competent and capable in many areas.

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Understanding Androphobia (Fear of Men)

Androphobia is defined as being “an abnormal and persistent fear of men. Sufferers experience anxiety even though they may realize they face no real threat”[1]. Symptoms vary from person to person, and in level of intensity. They include:

·         Extreme dread of seeing, talking to or meeting men

·         Rapid and/ or irregular breathing

·         Feeling dizzy and breathless

·         Sweating excessively

·         Nausea and upset stomach

·         Dry mouth

·         Heart palpitations

·         Feeling as if you are going to have an anxiety or panic attack

·         Feeling as if you are going to pass out

·         Being unable to speak in a normal and coherent way.

It can be extremely debilitating and greatly interfere with normal daily life.

As with other phobias, the cause is rarely rational, and may remain a mystery. However, there have been links with being exposed to traumatic experience, or a specific triggering experience in childhood such as witnessing your mother being abused (and especially where a child has witnessed rape). Heredity, genetics, and brain chemistry are thought to also play a role.

It is generally treated in similar ways to other phobias. CBT, hypnotherapy and Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) have been used with some success. Counselling and psychotherapy have also been highly effective.



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Understanding Maladaptive Daydreaming

This is an actual psychological disorder which causes an individual to waste huge amounts of time in daydreaming or fantasising. It is clearly problematic and disruptive for the person. Below are some facts and some general guidelines to help you better understand and manage the disorder.

1. It is still a relatively new disorder hence doctors may not even know that is exists. However, there is plenty of data available online. For more information, check out sites like: daydreamingdisorder.webs.com/

2. Be aware of the warning signs. These include wasting hours on daydreaming; engaging in fantasy planning (thinking through potential courses of action in unrealistic, fantasy situations); also, compulsive body movements and activities such as pacing the floor, rocking in a chair or foot tapping.

3. Pay specific attention if your daydreams have a highly complex plot - rather than being a vague stream of consciousness, or lots of unrelated thoughts that change frequently and randomly.

4. Related to Point 3, often maladaptive daydreaming is triggered by traumas (such as sexual abuse) or chronic feelings of anxiety. Hence, the maladaptive daydreaming may point to the fact that a deep rooted problem now needs to be addressed (as it cannot be successfully repressed any more).  

5. There is a difference between maladaptive daydreaming and schizophrenia. In the former the person is able to distinguish between daydreaming and reality. In the latter, the person hallucinates, and believes their fantasies are real.

6. Notice situations, people and environments that act as triggers for maladaptive daydreaming. If possible, limit your exposure to these – and think about the reason why these act as a trigger.

7. Decide on small goals such as scheduling set tasks that need to be done at certain times of the day – so they interrupt daydreaming and help to break the pattern.

8. Also, recognise when you need professional help (such as in dealing with a trauma, or some kind of abuse, or where you need to acquire some kinds of social skills).

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Schizoaffective Disorder

Schizoaffective disorder is a mental condition that causes both a loss of contact with reality (psychosis) and mood problems. The exact cause is unknown. Changes in genes and chemicals in the brain (neurotransmitters) may play a role. Schizoaffective disorder is believed to be less common than schizophrenia and mood disorders. Women may have the condition more often than men. Schizoaffective disorder tends to be rare in children.

Symptoms

The symptoms of schizoaffective disorder are different in each person. Often, people with schizoaffective disorder seek treatment for problems with mood, daily function, or abnormal thoughts. Psychosis and mood problems may occur at the same time, or by themselves. The course of the disorder may involve cycles of severe symptoms followed by improvement.

The symptoms of schizoaffective disorder can include:

·         Changes in appetite and energy

·         Disorganized speech that is not logical

·         False beliefs (delusions), such as thinking someone is trying to harm you (paranoia) or thinking that special messages are hidden in common places (delusions of reference)

·         Lack of concern with hygiene or grooming

·         Mood that is either too good, or depressed or irritable

·         Problems sleeping

·         Problems with concentration

·         Sadness or hopelessness

·         Seeing or hearing things that aren’t there (hallucinations)

·         Social isolation

·         Speaking so quickly that others cannot interrupt you

·         Treatment can vary. In general, antipsychotic medications are used to treat psychotic symptoms and antidepressant medications or “mood stabilizers” may be prescribed to improve mood. Talk therapy can help with creating plans, solving problems, and maintaining relationships. Group therapy can help with social isolation.

Outlook (Prognosis)

People with schizoaffective disorder have a greater chance of going back to their previous level of function than do people with most other psychotic disorders. However, long-term treatment is often needed, and results can vary from person to person.

Possible Complications

·         Abuse of drugs in an attempt to self-medicate

·         Problems following medical treatment and therapy

·         Problems due to manic behavior (for example, spending sprees, overly sexual behavior)

·         Suicidal behavior.

Source: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000930.htm

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Hallucinations

Hallucinations involve sensing things while awake that appear to be real, but instead have been created by the mind. Common hallucinations include:

·         Feeling bodily sensations, such as a crawling feeling on the skin or the movement of internal organs

·         Hearing sounds, such as music, footsteps, windows or doors banging

·         Hearing voices when no one has spoken (the most common type of hallucination). These voices may be critical, complimentary, neutral, or may command someone to do something that may cause harm to themselves or to others.

·         Seeing patterns, lights, beings, or objects that aren’t there

·         Smelling a foul or pleasant odor

In some cases, hallucinations may be normal. For example, hearing the voice of, or briefly seeing, a loved one who has recently died can be a part of the grieving process.

Causes

·         There are many causes of hallucinations, including:

·         Being drunk or high, or coming down from such drugs as marijuana, LSD, cocaine (including crack), PCP, amphetamines, heroin, ketamine, and alcohol

·         Delirium or dementia (visual hallucinations are most common)

·         Epilepsy that involves a part of the brain called the temporal lobe (odor hallucinations are most common)

·         Fever, especially in children and the elderly

·         Narcolepsy (a sleep disorder that causes excessive sleepiness and frequent daytime sleep attacks)

·         Psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia and psychotic depression

·         Sensory problem, such as blindness or deafness

·         Severe illness, including liver failure, kidney failure, AIDS, and brain cancer

A person who begins to hallucinate and is detached from reality should get checked by a health care professional right away. Many medical and psychiatric conditions that can cause hallucinations may quickly become emergencies. A person who begins to hallucinate may become nervous, paranoid, and frightened, and should not be left alone.

Source: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003258.htm

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Asperger Syndrome

Asperger syndrome is often considered a high functioning form of autism. People with this syndrome have difficulty interacting socially, repeat behaviors, and often are clumsy. Motor milestones may be delayed. Although people with Asperger syndrome often have difficulty socially, many have above-average intelligence. They may excel in fields such as computer programming and science. There is no delay in their cognitive development, ability to take care of themselves, or curiosity about their environment.

Symptoms

·         People with Asperger have problems with language in a social setting.

·         It may be difficult to choose a topic of conversation, their body language may be off, and it may be difficult for them to recognize that the other person has lost interest in the topic.

·         They may speak in a monotone, and may not respond to other people’s comments or emotions.

·         They may have difficulty understanding sarcasm or humor.

Other symptoms may include:

·         Problems with eye contact, facial expressions, body postures, or gestures (nonverbal communication)

·         Singled out by other children as “weird” or “strange”

·         Difficulty developing relationships with children their own age

·         Inability to respond emotionally in normal social interactions

·         Not flexible about routines or rituals

·         Lack of showing, bringing, or pointing out objects of interest to other people

·         Do not express pleasure at other people’s happiness

·         Preoccupied with parts of whole objects

·         Repetitive behaviors, including repetitive behavior that injures themselves

·         Repetitive finger flapping, twisting, or whole body movements

·         Unusually intense preoccupation with narrow areas of interest, such as obsession with train schedules, phone books, or collections of objects

Genetic factors may play a role. The condition appears to be more common in boys than in girls.

Source: http://www.ask.com/health/adamcontent/asperger-syndrome#symptoms

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What is Obsessive Compulsive Disorder?

The person who suffers from OCD, is plagued by feelings of anxiety. And though their fears are often anchored in reality they are usually extreme and irrational. They also interfere with the person’s daily life and can seriously strain their relationships.

OCD has five categories of obsession. These are:

·         Washers (people who are terrified of contamination)

·         Checkers (people who are afraid that something terrible could happen – because they forgot to take some action)

·         Doubters and sinners  (people who are afraid of being less than perfect – and are “waiting” to be caught and punished for their sins)

·         Counters and arrangers (people who have an obsession with order and symmetry. They are often very superstitious, too)

·         Hoarders (people who can’t throw anything away). Thus, they compulsively store things they’ll never use such as newspapers, receipts and old medicine bottles.

Common thought obsessions include:

·         Sexually explicit or violent thoughts,

·         The fear of harming yourself or other people.

Common compulsive behaviours include:

·         Repeatedly checking on people you love to make sure they are still alive and safe; or

·         Counting, tapping or doing senseless things to try and relieve feelings of anxiety.

CBT is believed to be the most effective means for treating obsessive-compulsive disorder. Specific strategies include:

1.    Helping the client to anticipate obsessive and compulsive urges – and then to take concrete steps to bring them under control. For example, if a client’s compulsive behaviour takes the form of repeatedly checking to see that their doors are locked, they could be encouraged to remove the keys after locking the door, and then put them in their pocket (where they’re easy to find).

2.    Another practical approach is to schedule their worries for a set time each day. For example, they might decide to worry and check everything for an hour, between 6 and 7pm each night. Once that time is up, they must resume their normal activities. If obsessive thoughts plague then in the daytime, the person is encouraged to write them in a journal and then check them over at the scheduled time.

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Some Strange and Rare Psychological Disorders

1.    Trichotillomania is where the sufferer is overcome by the powerful urge to pull out their own hair. This is includes eyelashes, scalp and facial hair, and even pubic hair. Where the person also consumes the hair, it can lead to something called “Rapunzel Syndrome” (intestinal problems caused by the body’s inability to digest human hair).

2.    Foreign Accent Syndrome is usually the result of experiencing a stroke or severe brain injury. It results in the person speaking with a different accent – and one that they haven’t been exposed to personally. For example, an American will speak with a British accent or a Brit may start to sound as if they’re from New York.

3.    Genital Retraction Syndrome is exactly what the name implies. It’s the irrational belief that the genitals or breasts are physically shrinking, and will disappear inside the person’s body, and will lead to their death.

4.    Windigo Psychosis is where the person is fighting a constant craving for human flesh. At the same time, he or she is also afraid that they will become a cannibal.

5.    Body Integrity Identity Disorder is rare and difficult to comprehend.  It is where the individual is convinced that their life would be significantly better if they were amputees – hence they feel the urge to have a healthy limb removed.  However, this usually leads to a psychiatric diagnosis and not the removal of their limb! 

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What’s the Difference Between Bipolar Disorder and Depression?

A common question asked of clinicians is, “What’s the difference between bipolar depression (also known as manic depression) and plain old depression? It’s a simple question to answer, because depression can either be a stand-alone diagnosis, or a part of another disorder, like bipolar. Therefore a mental health professional is going to examine whether there are other symptoms present (or have occurred in the past), to see if the depression is just depression, or whether it’s a part of a larger disorder.

Bipolar Includes Mania & Depression

If bipolar disorder includes a depressed mood, what else does bipolar include? We can find the answer to this question by looking at the old name for bipolar disorder, manic depression. The old name is pretty descriptive — bipolar is a combination of mania and depression, alternating in cycles.

What is mania? If we examine symptoms associated with mania, we see that it includes the following:

·         Inflated self-esteem or grandiosity

·         Decreased need for sleep (e.g., one feels rested after only 3 hours of sleep)

·         More talkative than usual or pressure to keep talking

·         Flight of ideas or subjective experience that thoughts are racing

·         Attention is easily drawn to unimportant or irrelevant items

·         Increase in goal-directed activity (either socially, at work or school, or sexually) or psychomotor agitation

·         Excessive involvement in pleasurable activities that have a high potential for painful consequences (e.g., engaging in unrestrained buying sprees, sexual indiscretions, or foolish business investments)

If three or more of these symptoms are present, then a person is considered to have a “manic episode” (or, if it is of less severity and length, a “hypomanic episode”). A manic episode also needs to have lasted for at least a week (a hypomanic episode, just four days) in order to be diagnosed. If an individual has signs that suggest he or she is having or has had a manic or hypomanic episode, in addition to episodes of severe depression, then typically that individual will quality for a bipolar diagnosis.

Depression Has no Mania

In ordinary depression, which clinicians refer to as “major depression” (sorry, there’s no equivalent “minor depression”), no manic or hypomanic episode is prevalent and the individual has no record or indication of having a manic or hypomanic episode in the past. A depressive episode is characterized by the following symptoms:

·         Depressed mood most of the day, nearly every day

·         No interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities most of the day, nearly every day

·         Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain, or decrease or increase in appetite nearly every day.

·         Insomnia (inability to sleep) or hypersomnia (sleeping too much) nearly every day

·         Psychomotor agitation or retardation nearly every day

·         Fatigue or loss of energy nearly every day

·         Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt nearly every day

·         Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, nearly every day

·         Recurrent thoughts of death (not just fear of dying), recurrent suicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a suicide attempt or a specific plan for committing suicide

Five or more of these symptoms for longer than two weeks are needed in order to qualify for a depressive diagnosis, with no accompanying manic episode.

Source: http://psychcentral.com/lib/2007/whats-the-difference-between-bipolar-disorder-and-depression/all/1/

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