Category Archives: Mental Illnesses

Dissociative [Conversion] Disorders

Description of Medical Condition A sudden change in state of consciousness, identity, motor behavior, thoughts, feelings and perception of external reality to such an extent that these functions do not operate congruently. Many pathologic symptoms can be found, but the patient experiences dysphoria, suffering, and maladaptive functioning. Disorders include: • Dissociative amnesia • Dissociative fugue… Read More »

Delirium (Acute Confusional State)

Description of Medical Condition Delirium is a neurologic complication of illness and/or medication use that is especially common in older patients. The key diagnostic features are an acute change in mental status that fluctuates, abnormal attention, and either disorganized thinking or altered level of consciousness. Delirium is a medical emergency requiring immediate evaluation in order… Read More »


Description of Medical Condition Autism is a pervasive developmental disorder of early childhood characterized by severe impairment in: • Effective social skills • Absent or impaired language development • Repetitive and/or stereotyped activities and interests, especially inanimate objects System(s) affected: Nervous Genetics: High concordance in monozygotic twins; increased prevalence in siblings Incidence/Prevalence in USA: About… Read More »

Eating Disorders

Concern with eating disorders is relatively new and is found primarily in countries where abundance of food creates options of self-starvation or excessive eating. The media in the United States have stressed the desirability of thinness for women, as models, ballet dancers, and actresses are invariably very thin. Author Tom Wolfe, in The Bonfire of… Read More »

Eating Disorders: Assessment

People suffering from anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa have rigid, distorted attitudes about weight, eating, and fatness. Assessment often reveals an extreme interest in the preparation and planning of meals. Many will shop very carefully and take great pleasure in the preparation and presentation of meals, even if, in the case of those who suffer… Read More »

Eating Disorders: Clinical Course

The line between dieting and suffering from an eating disorder is not always clear, and if a clinician simply follows the DSM criteria, recognition of the extent of the problem may be delayed. A person may be losing significant weight but continue to menstruate; some people suffering from obesity may binge without purging; people may… Read More »

Eating Disorders: Etiology

The etiology of eating disorders appears to be multifactorial, with no single event or factor identifiable as the cause. Dieting, or difficulty in controlling overeating, can lead to acquiring an eating disorder. Factors that may influence the development of an eating disorder include society’s emphasis on the desirability of thinness; adolescent concerns with attractiveness, self-concept,… Read More »

Eating Disorders: Intervention

Although eating disorders are potentially life-threatening, people with these disorders usually do not seek out mental health professionals for intervention unless they have been urged to do so by their internists or concerned family and friends, or if they are experiencing related problems of anxiety, depression, or low self-esteem. Most people with eating disorders like… Read More »

Eating Disorders: Psychotherapy

If a person seeks intervention, an immediate goal — whether treatment is provided on an inpatient or an outpatient basis — is to stabilize weight, and since people with eating disorders express a range of feelings related to their eating habits, an initial approach may be cognitive-behavioral, in which the person is asked to keep… Read More »

Substance-Related Disorders

Substance abuse is a major social and public health problem that affects millions of Americans and their families. It occurs in all social classes, at all professional levels, and in most cultural and ethnic groups, and it can be comorbid with a variety of mental disorders. Social problems that occur as a result of substance… Read More »