Also referred to simply as Alzheimer’s, is a chronic neurodegenerative disease that usually starts slowly and worsens over time. It is the cause of 60% to 70% of cases of dementia. The most common early symptom is difficulty in remembering recent events (short-term memory loss). As the disease advances, symptoms can include problems with language, disorientation (including easily getting lost), mood swings, loss of motivation, not managing self care, and behavioural issues.
As a person’s condition declines, they often withdraw from family and society. Gradually, bodily functions are lost, ultimately leading to death. Although the speed of progression can vary, the average life expectancy following diagnosis is three to nine years.
The cause of Alzheimer’s disease is poorly understood. About 70% of the risk is believed to be genetic with many genes usually involved. Other risk factors include a history of head injuries, depression, or hypertension. The disease process is associated with plaques and tangles in the brain. A probable diagnosis is based on the history of the illness and cognitive testing with medical imaging and blood tests to rule out other possible causes. Initial symptoms are often mistaken for normal ageing.
Examination of brain tissue is needed for a definite diagnosis. Mental and physical exercise, and avoiding obesity may decrease the risk of AD. There are no medications or supplements that decrease risk.
People with a depressed mood can feel sad, anxious, empty, hopeless, helpless, worthless, guilty, irritable, angry, ashamed, or restless. They may lose interest in activities that were once pleasurable, experience loss of appetite or overeating, have problems concentrating, remembering details or making decisions, experience relationship difficulties and may contemplate, attempt or commit suicide. Insomnia, excessive sleeping, fatigue, aches, pains, digestive problems, or reduced energy may also be present.
Is a mental disorder characterized by abnormal social behavior and failure to understand what is real. Common symptoms include false beliefs, unclear or confused thinking, hearing voices that others do not hear, reduced social engagement and emotional expression, and a lack of motivation. People with schizophrenia often have additional mental-health problems such as anxiety disorders, major depressive illness, or substance-use disorders. Symptoms typically come on gradually,begin in young adulthood, and last a long time.
The causes of schizophrenia include environmental and genetic factors. Possible environmental factors include being raised in a city, cannabis use, certain infections, parental age, and poor nutrition during pregnancy.
Genetic factors include a variety of common and rare genetic variants. Diagnosis is based on observed behavior, the person’s reported experiences, and reports of others familiar with the person. During diagnosis a person’s culture must also be taken into account. As of 2013 there is no objective test. Schizophrenia does not imply a “split personality” or “multiple personality disorder” conditions with which it is often confused in public perception.
A sleep disorder, or somnipathy, is a medical disorder of the sleep patterns of a person or animal. Some sleep disorders are serious enough to interfere with normal physical, mental, social and emotional functioning. Polysomnography and actigraphy are tests commonly ordered for some sleep disorders.
Disruptions in sleep can be caused by a variety of issues, from teeth grinding (bruxism) to night terrors. When a person suffers from difficulty falling asleep and/or staying asleep with no obvious cause, it is referred to as insomnia.
Sleep disorders are broadly classified into dyssomnias, parasomnias, circadian rhythm sleep disorders involving the timing of sleep, and other disorders including ones caused by medical or psychological conditions and sleeping sickness.
Some common sleep disorders include sleep apnea (stops in breathing during sleep), narcolepsy and hypersomnia (excessive sleepiness at inappropriate times), cataplexy (sudden and transient loss of muscle tone while awake), and sleeping sickness (disruption of sleep cycle due to infection). Other disorders include sleepwalking, night terrors and bed wetting. Management of sleep disturbances that are secondary to mental, medical, or substance abuse disorders should focus on the underlying conditions.
Bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, is a mental disorder that causes periods of depression and periods of elevated mood. The elevated mood is significant and is known as mania or hypomania, depending on its severity, or whether symptoms of psychosis are present. During mania, an individual behaves or feels abnormally energetic, happy, or irritable. Individuals often make poorly thought out decisions with little regard to the consequences. The need for sleep is usually reduced during manic phases. During periods of depression, there may be crying, a negative outlook on life, and poor eye contact with others. The risk of suicide among those with the illness is high at greater than 6 percent over 20 years, while self-harm occurs in 30-40 percent. Other mental health issues such as anxiety disorders and substance use disorder are commonly associated.
The causes are not clearly understood, but both environmental and genetic factors play a role.Many genes of small effect contribute to risk. Environmental factors include a history of childhood abuse, and long-term stress. The condition is divided into bipolar I disorder if there has been at least one manic episode, with or without depressive episodes, and bipolar II disorder if there has been at least one hypomanic episode (but no manic episodes) and one major depressive episode. In those with less severe symptoms of a prolonged duration, the condition cyclothymic disorder may be diagnosed. If due to drugs or medical problems, it is classified separately.
Is a state of low mood and aversion to activity that can affect a person’s thoughts, behavior, feelings, and sense of well-being. People with a depressed mood can feel sad, anxious, empty, hopeless, helpless, worthless, guilty, irritable, angry, ashamed, or restless. They may lose interest in activities that were once pleasurable, experience loss of appetite or overeating, have problems concentrating, remembering details or making decisions, experience relationship difficulties and maycontemplate, attempt or commit suicide. Insomnia, excessive sleeping, fatigue, aches, pains, digestive problems, or reduced energy may also be present.
Depressed mood is a feature of some psychiatric syndromes such as major depressive disorder, but it may also be a normal temporary reaction to life events such as bereavement, a symptom of some bodily ailments or a side effect of some drugs and medical treatments. A DSM diagnosis distinguishes an episode (or ‘state’) of depression from the habitual (or ‘trait’) depressive symptoms someone can experience as part of their personality.
Epilepsy is a chronic disorder, the hallmark of which is recurrent, unprovoked seizures. Many people with epilepsy have more than one type of seizure and may have other symptoms of neurological problems as well.
Sometimes EEG testing, clinical history, family history and outlook are similar among a group of people with epilepsy. In these situations, their condition can be defined as a specific epilepsy syndrome.
The human brain is the source of human epilepsy. Although the symptoms of a seizure may affect any part of the body, the electrical events that produce the symptoms occur in the brain. The location of that event, how it spreads and how much of the brain is affected, and how long it lasts all have profound effects.
These factors determine the character of a seizure and its impact on the individual. Essentially, anything the brain can do, it can do in the form of a seizure.
Having seizures and epilepsy can affect one’s safety, relationships, work, driving and so much more. Public perception and treatment of people with epilepsy are often bigger problems than actual seizures.
Is a long-term degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that mainly affects the motor system. The symptoms generally come on slowly over time. Early in the disease, the most obvious are shaking, rigidity, slowness of movement, and difficulty with walking. Thinking and behavioral problems may also occur. Dementia becomes common in the advanced stages of the disease.
Depression and anxiety are also common occurring in more than a third of people with PD. Other symptoms include sensory, sleep, and emotional problems. The main motor symptoms are collectively called “parkinsonism”, or a “parkinsonian syndrome”.
The cause of Parkinson’s disease is generally unknown, but believed to involve both genetic and environmental factors. Those with a family member affected are more likely to get the disease themselves.
There is also an increased risk in people exposed to certain pesticides and among those who have had prior head injuries while there is a reduced risk in tobacco smokers and those who drink coffee or tea. The motor symptoms of the disease result from the death of cells in the substantia nigra, a region of the midbrain. This results in not enough dopamine in these areas.
The reason for this cell death is poorly understood, but involves the build-up of proteins into Lewy bodies in the neurons. Diagnosis of typical cases is mainly based on symptoms, with tests such as neuroimaging being used to rule out other diseases.