Body dysmorphic disorder

Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is defined by the DSM-IV-TR (a handbook for mental health professionals) as a condition marked by excessive preoccupation with an imaginary or minor defect in a facial feature or localized part of the body. The diagnostic criteria specify that the condition must be sufficiently severe to cause a decline in the patient's social, occupational, or educational functioning. The most common cause of this decline is the time lost in obsessing about the defect. The...

Conversion disorder

Conversion disorder is defined by Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition, Text Revision, also known as the DSM-IV-TR, as a mental disorder whose central feature is the appearance of symptoms affecting the patient's senses or voluntary movements that suggest a neurological or general medical disease or condition. Somatoform disorders are marked by persistent physical symptoms that cannot be fully explained by a medical condition, substance abuse, or other mental...

Buspirone

Buspirone is an anti-anxiety (anxiolytic) drug sold in the United States under the brand name of BuSpar. It is also available under its generic name. Buspirone is used for the treatment of generalized anxiety disorders and for short term relief of symptoms of anxiety. Buspirone's mechanism of action is unclear but probably involves actions on such central nervous system chemicals as dopamine, serotonin, acetylcholine, and norepinephrine. These chemicals are called neurotrans-mitters and are...

Genetic factors and mental disorders

In recent years, mental health professionals have become increasingly aware of the importance of genetic factors in the etiology (causes) of mental disorders. Since the Human Genome Project began its mapping of the entire sequence of human DNA in 1990, the implications of its findings for psychiatric diagnosis and treatment have accumulated rapidly. A new subspecialty known as biological psychiatry (also called physiological psychology or psychiatric genetics) has emerged from the discoveries...

Generalized anxiety disorder

Generalized anxiety disorder, or GAD, is a disorder characterized by diffuse and chronic worry. Unlike people with phobias or post-traumatic disorders, people with GAD do not have their worries provoked by specific triggers they may worry about almost anything having to do with ordinary life. It is not unusual for patients diagnosed with GAD to shift the focus of their anxiety from one issue to another as their daily circumstances change. For example, someone with GAD may start worrying about...

Precautions

Like all tricyclic antidepressants, amoxapine should be used cautiously and with close physician supervision in people, especially the elderly, who have benign pro-static hypertrophy, urinary retention, and glaucoma, especially angle-closure glaucoma (the most severe form). Before starting treatment, people with these conditions should discuss the relative risks and benefits of treatment with their doctors to help determine if amoxap-ine is the right antidepressant for them. A common problem...

Prevention

Hypochondriasis may be difficult to prevent in a health-conscious society, in which people are constantly exposed to messages reminding them to seek regular medical screenings for a variety of illnesses, and telling them in detail about the illnesses of celebrities and highranking political figures. Trendy new diagnostic techniques like full-body MRIs may encourage people with hypochondriasis to seek unnecessary and expensive medical consultations. Referring patients with suspected...

Brief psychotic disorder

Brief psychotic disorder is a short-term, time-limited disorder. An individual with brief psychotic disorder has experienced at least one of the major symptoms of psychosis for less than one month. Hallucinations, delusions, strange bodily movements or lack of movements (catatonic behavior), peculiar speech and bizarre or markedly inappropriate behavior are all classic psychotic symptoms that may occur in brief psychotic disorder. The cause of the symptoms helps to determine whether or not the...

Major imaging techniques in mental health

Computed tomography, or computed axial tomography (CAT), scans show a cross-section of a part of the body, such as the brain. In this technique, a thin x-ray beam is used to produce a series of exposures detected at different angles. The exposures are fed into a computer which overlaps them, yielding a single image analogous to a slice of the organ or body part being scanned. A dye is often injected into the patient so as to improve contrast and obtain images that are clearer than images...

Child Depression Inventory

The Child Depression Inventory (CDI) is a symptom-oriented instrument for assessing depression in children between the ages of seven and 17 years. The basic CDI consists of 27 items, but a 10-item short form is also available for use as a screener. Chamomile can increase the effects of anticoagulant medications. In addition, its tannin content may interfere with iron absorption. Chamomile may also add to the effects of benzodiazepines, including Valium, Ativan, and Versed. No other noteworthy...

Encopresis

Encopresis is an elimination disorder that involves repeatedly having bowel movements in inappropriate places after the age when bowel control is normally expected. Encopresis is also called soiling or fecal incontinence. By four years of age, most children are toilet trained for bowel movements. After that age, when inappropriate bowel movements occur regularly over a period of several months, a child may be diagnosed with encopresis. Encopresis can be intentional on unintentional. Intentional...

Acupuncture

Acupuncture, one of the main forms of therapy in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), has been practiced for at least 2,500 years. In acupuncture, certain points on the body associated with energy channels or meridians are stimulated by the insertion of fine needles. Unlike the hollow hypodermic needles used in mainstream medicine to give injections or draw blood, acupuncture needles are solid. The points can be needled between 15 and 90 degrees in range relative to the skin's surface, depending...

Causes and symptoms

Recent findings suggest that IED may result from abnormalities in the areas of the brain that regulate behavioral arousal and inhibition. Research indicates that impulsive aggression is related to abnormal brain mechanisms in a system that inhibits motor (muscular movement) activity, called the serotoninergic system. This system is directed by a neurotransmitter called serotonin, which regulates behavioral inhibition (control of behavior). Some studies have correlated IED with abnormalities on...

Depersonalization disorder

Depersonalization is a state in which the individual ceases to perceive the reality of the self or the environment. The patient feels that his or her body is unreal, is changing, or is dissolving or that he or she is outside of the body. Depersonalization disorder is classified by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th Edition, text Revision, also known as the DSM-IV-TR as one of the dissociative disorders. These are mental disorders in which the normally well-integrated...

Prognosis

Untreated insomnia has potentially serious consequences, including an increased risk of motor vehicle accidents, impaired school or job performance, and a high rate of absenteeism from work. Fortunately, insomnia can be treated very effectively in most patients. Treatment using a combination of approaches is usually most effective. Patients who have had insomnia once are at an increased risk for recurrent insomnia. See also Caffeine and related disorders Chamomile Passionflower Valerian...

Diazepam

Diazepam is a mild tranquilizer in the class of drugs known as benzodiazepines. It is most commonly sold in the United States under the brand name Valium. The generic form of this drug is also available. Diazepam is used on a short-term basis to treat patients with mild to moderate anxiety. It is also used to treat some types of seizures epilepsy , muscle spasms, nervous tension, and symptoms relating to alcohol withdrawal. Diazepam is one of many chemically-related tranquilizers in the class...

Benztropine

Benztropine is classified as an antiparkinsonian agent. It is sold in the United States under the brand name Cogentin and is also available under its generic name. Benztropine is used to treat a group of side effects called parkinsonian side effects that include tremors, difficulty walking, and slack muscle tone. These side effects may occur in patients who are taking antipsychot-ic medications used to treat mental disorders such as schizophrenia. Some medicines, called antipsychotic drugs,...

Treatments

The general goal of treatment in avoidant personality disorder is improvement of self-esteem and confidence. As the patient's self-confidence and social skills improve, he or she will become more resilient to potential or real criticism by others. Psychodynamically oriented therapies These approaches are usually supportive the therapist empathizes with the patient's strong sense of shame and inadequacy in order to create a relationship of trust. Therapy usually moves slowly at first because...

Contributors

Graduate Assistant Center of Alcohol Studies Rutgers University Piscataway, New Jersey Keith W. Beard, Psy.D. Assistant Professor Psychology Marshall University Huntington, West Virginia Science Writer and Psychologist TCB Research Boalsburg, Pennsylvania Kathleen Berrisford, M.S.W, CSW, CAC Consultant Therapist Macomb County Department of Tanya Bivins, B.S., B.S.N., RN Ensign, Medical Service Corps United States Navy Virginia Psychiatrist, Writer, Consultant Huntingdon,...

Abnormal Involuntary Movement Scale

The Abnormal Involuntary Movement Scale AIMS is a rating scale that was designed in the 1970s to measure involuntary movements known as tardive dyskinesia TD . TD is a disorder that sometimes develops as a side effect of long-term treatment with neuroleptic antipsychotic medications. Tardive dyskinesia is a syndrome characterized by abnormal involuntary movements of the patient's face, mouth, trunk, or limbs, which affects 20 -30 of patients who have been treated for months or years with...