Determination of Diagnosis

Mental Illness Overview. Mental illness refers collectively to all diagnosable mental disorders.  Mental disorders are characterized by abnormalities in cognition, emotions, mood, and behavior. Our mental functioning is all mediated by the brain.  It is evidenced based that our thoughts directly impact our emotions and ultimately our behavior. When our thoughts are distorted our perceptions of reality and behavioral choices can negatively impact our daily social functioning. Most mental disorders exist on a continuum from mild to moderate to severe. The dividing line has to do with severity of symptoms, duration, and functional impairment. Ultimately, there is no bright light that separates health from illness. All people are at risk of developing a poor mental state of mind at varying degrees in their lifetime. 

Symptomology and degree of severity of a particular illness varies with age, gender, race, and culture. Some mental illnesses are hereditary (genetically based) while others are chemically, hormonally or situationally based. Persons suffering from any form of mental illness typically present with a variety of symptoms that may include inappropriate anxiety, disturbance of thought & perception, dysregulation of mood, and cognitive dysfunction. These types of symptoms typically are relative specifically to a particular diagnosis or cultural influence. At H.O.P.E. Counseling Services our professional clinical staff, take special care to ensure proper diagnosis & treatment. 

Anxiety is of the most common symptoms observed in a mental disorder that typically impacts most people at some point during the course of a life time. Anxiety is observed to exist on a continuum from mild to severe. It is generally characterized by rapid heart-beat, sweating, fear, shortness of breath, restlessness, trembling, light headedness or dizziness, and/or cold hands & feet. Experiencing anxiety does not necessarily equate a disorder; however, if the anxiety is of a disproportionate nature to the circumstance, is difficult for the individual to control, and interferes with daily functioning, the individualís symptoms would likely be described by one of the disorders associated with anxiety. Specifically, Panic Disorder, General Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Specific Phobia Disorder, Acute Stress Disorder, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy along with medication management are common methods of treatment. 

Mood. Disturbances of mood as with anxiety may occur in a variety of patterns associated with mental disorders. Most individuals have an intuitive understanding of mood and ultimately are able to comprehend what it means to feel happy or sad. The two most common mood disorders include Major Depression and Bi-Polar Disorder. Major Depression is characterized by a sustained feeling of sadness. Other symptoms observed in those with depression also include decreased appetite, fatigue, lack of concentration, irritability, insomnia, hopelessness, poor self-esteem, feelings of helplessness, and suicidal ideation. Where, Bi-Polar Disorder is described by a persistent elevation and/or fluctuation of mood. Individuals with Bi-Polar Disorder vacillate between a euphoric mood, grandiosity (inappropriately high self-esteem), psychomotor agitation, decreased sleep, racing thoughts & distractibility, poor judgment, impaired impulse control, rapid or pressured speech (manic state) and symptoms related to major depression (depressed state). As one can see sleep and appetite are altered in disorders of mood as well as sex and physical activity. Regulation of mood is essential to healthy social functioning. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and medication management can help stabilize oneís mood and ultimately improve daily living.

Determination of Diagnosis. H.O.P.E. Counseling Services specializes in treating Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Reactive Attachment Disorder. We further provide treatment for Adjustment Disorders, Depression, Generalized Anxiety, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, and Bi-Polar Disorder. In order to develop the most effective plan of care for the client, a proper diagnosis must be determined. Thus, the patient first receives an evaluation by a licensed mental health professional. The assessment process consists of evaluating the clients/patients medical history, social functioning, emotional and psychological functioning. The diagnosis is determined by the clients/patients report of symptoms, observations of behavior, and family history. Many folks who present with a mental health and/or behavioral health condition are able to be treated through individual and/or family therapy along with possible medication management. H.O.P.E. Counseling Services believes it is important for the client and/or his or her parent(s) participate in developing goals and objectives in order to help the client/patient achieve wellness, stability and emotional/behavioral control.

Mental Illness Overview


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