Emotional disturbances – what are they?

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Feelings and emotions are inseparable from human existence. But what if the reactions to these external stimuli become abnormal? How to deal with emotional disorders?

Can we imagine life without emotions? Most often in difficult life situations, such as the death of a loved one or hurt feelings we dream about stopping to feel. But would we also consciously want to give up such emotions as falling in love, the birth of a child, or a romantic vacation? As humans, we are emotional beings. But what to do when they take over and start making decisions for us?

How do we define emotional disturbance?

Emotional disturbance is a very broad term. It is hard to come up with a single, concise definition. Basically, we can speak of emotional disturbance when we experience emotions in a distorted way, which leads to abnormal behavior and thinking. We react to external stimuli in an emotionally distorted way

Behaviors that should arouse our vigilance:

  • mood changes – we all undergo mood changes and this is perfectly normal behavior. However, excessive reactions – both low and high mood, long-lasting states of depression or euphoria, and mood swings may signal a problem;
  • vital energy – this refers to the attitude and drive to take action. Excessive excitement, agitation (often preventing sleep) on the one hand, and apathy and indifference on the other, are also signals that may indicate an emotional disorder;
  • anxiety – both brash behavior, lack of inhibition and excessive timidity should draw our attention;
  • force of expression – the expression of feelings and emotions. Overly violent, even frenzied reactions or indifference and not showing any emotion.
Photo by Nathan Cowley/Pexels

Where do emotional disorders come from?

Emotional disturbances can have a wide variety of causes. They can be directly related to other illnesses such as mental or neurological, or even metabolic. They may be related to the trauma experienced – events that have left their mark on the psyche. They may also result from personality factors, social factors, socialization, or be a consequence of using psychoactive substances. Emotional disorders can have very different, often difficult to identify causes

Emotional disturbances in Poles

Emotional disorders affect children, adults, and seniors alike. The environment we live in, the rush and pressure do not improve the mental health situation of Poles. A National Development Council report on the mental health situation in Poland leaves no illusions. “Mental disorders are a significant epidemiological and social problem” in our country. This is the main conclusion of the extensive research “Epidemiology of psychiatric disorders and availability of psychiatric health care – EZOP Poland” conducted in 2010. Among more than 10 thousand respondents in the research group between 18 and 64 years of age, more than 23% had faced at least one mental disorder during their lifetime

Approximately 10% of the respondents were diagnosed with a neurotic disorder – including as many as 4.3% with specific phobias and 1.8% with social phobias. As for mood disorders, they accounted for 3.5% among the respondents. The figures for substance use disorder and alcohol use disorder are alarming: nearly 13% and 12%, respectively.

Mental health in 2021

The situation in Poland is improved neither by the poorly functioning National Health Program nor by the negative attitude of compatriots towards treatment at psychologists and psychiatrists. The dire situation has been and continues to be exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Professor J. Heitzman from the Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology, Forensic Psychiatry Clinic in Warsaw, in a study entitled “The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health” points to a number of disorders that appeared or the number of people struggling with them increased as a result of the pandemic. Social anxieties and phobias, intrusive neuroses such as those related to excessive hygiene, anxiety disorders and those related to stress have increased.

Prolonged lockdown, job loss, death of loved ones, remote teaching. All of these are already taking their toll. However, it is to be expected that the peak of mental illness is yet to come, which is why it is so important to take care of ourselves and loved ones and keep a close eye on behavior. We should not be afraid to ask for help. Early detected disorders are easier to correct with the help of therapy and work on oneself.

Photo: Engin Akyurt/Pexels

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