A functional disorder has a psychological cause and

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A functional disorder has a psychological cause and does not involve brain damage. These disorders may result from heredity, stress, emotional conflict, fear, ineffective coping skills, or other conditions. Often, functional disorders are tied to disturbing events in childhood, such as abuse, serious illness, or the traumatic death of a close relative. These disorders may also be tied to recent events, such as divorce, economic hardships, or natural disasters. Anxiety Disorders About 4 million Americans suffer from a con- dition in which real or imagined fears are difficult to control. An anxi- ety disorder is characterized by chronic fear. People with anxiety disorders often arrange their lives to avoid situations that make them feel anxious or fearful. Anxiety disorders can be classified according to four main types: phobias, obsessive-compulsive disor- ders, panic disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorders. PHOBIA A phobia is a strong and irrational fear of some- thing specific, such as high places or dogs. People with phobias do everything they can to avoid the object of their fear. As a result, a person with a phobia may be unable to live a normal life. For example, peo- ple with agoraphobia have a fear of open or public places. Their phobia may make them prisoners in their own homes. Some mental health professionals believe that certain phobias are caused by childhood experiences. The fear resulting from these experiences lasts far past the actual threat. anxiety disorder Why are mental disorders a critical health issue? In the United States, half of the people suffering from mental disorders are untreated, 40 percent of the homeless have some form of mental/emotional problem, and about 20 percent of peo- ple in prison have a mental disorder. It is a national concern to get professional mental help for those who need it. Source: National Alliance for the Mentally Ill Arachnophobia, a fear of spiders, is a common phobia. People with phobias can seek help from classes, support groups, and mental health professionals. 225 Lesson 1 Mental Disorders
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OBSESSIVE-COMPULSIVE DISORDER A person with obsessive-compulsive disorder is trapped in a pat- tern of repeated thoughts or behaviors. The term obsessive refers to persistent, recurrent, and unwanted thoughts that prevent people from attending to normal daily activities. Compulsive refers to repeated, irresistible behaviors. A person with obsessive-compulsive disorder might, for example, feel the urge to wash his or her hands constantly throughout the day. PANIC DISORDER A person with a panic disorder has sudden, unexplained feelings of terror. These “panic attacks” are accompanied by symptoms such as trembling, a pounding heart, shortness of breath, or dizziness. Panic disorder is a condition in which fear and anxiety get in the way of a person’s ability to function and enjoy life. Panic attacks may occur at any time or place, but most are triggered by a partic- ular object, condition, or situation.
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