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Forensic psychiatry is generally identified as a specialized offshoot of psychiatry, dealing with the calculated treatment and evaluation of mentally disordered offenders in secure hospitals, prisons and in the community. This branch of psychiatry requires an in-depth understanding and thorough knowledge of the connection between legality and mental health. Patients are generally those with personality dysfunctions, mental illness, psychopathic disorders, organic brain damage, learning disability and other conditions such as histories of abuse and traumatic experiences as well as substance abuse and misuse.
Nature of the work-
The most important prerequisite of this branch of psychiatry is a secure and safe environment where the subjects are liable to legal restrictions. Evaluation and assessment may vary from highly secured hospitals and prisons to low secure units and community based services. Forensic psychiatrists must have a thorough knowledge of civil, criminal and case law because of their frequent dealings with criminal justice agencies and the courts. An important component of forensic psychiatry is risk assessment and evaluation. Forensic psychiatrists must be fluent and adept at handling patients during emergencies or routine situations. Moreover, they should be calm, composed and professional in their dealings especially with patients who display instability or violent and aggressive behavior.
The probation service, the prison service, and the courts generally rely on forensic psychiatrists for expert advice, precisely because of their familiarity with preparing reports for mental health review tribunals and criminal justice agencies.
- Quintessentially, the obligatory role of a forensic psychiatrist requires:
- Ability to treat others with understanding and respect
- Ability to work flexibly
- Emotional resilience along with the ability to empathize with patients
- Anticipation and an inherent initiative to work in challenging situations
- Good communication skills
- A scientific and analytic approach and assessment
- Good leadership qualities
Body dysmorphic disorder is a type of psychiatric disorder. It is when you cannot think about one or more defects or flaws in your appearance. These flaws are usually very minor and sometimes even unnoticeable. This is actually a much more serious disorder than many other people may think. This is because people with body dysmorphic disease may avoid many situations and also suffer from severe anxiety or shame. Here is everything you need to know about body dysmorphic disease.
Just like other psychiatric disorders, there is no known cause of body dysmorphic disease. However, there are a lot of factors which increases your risk of developing it which include.
1. Brain disorders- Many people with abnormal brain chemistry disorders suffer from body dysmorphic disease.
2. Genes- People whose blood relatives have this disease or obsessive-compulsive disorder are more likely to develop this disorder as well.
3. Environment- Cultural and social influences are a major cause of body dysmorphic disorder as well.
Here are the symptoms of body dysmorphic disease -
There are, however, a lot of symptoms of body dysmorphic disorder, most of which are psychological in nature. They include.
1. Having a preoccupation with a flaw in the body which is very minor or perhaps even unnoticeable.
2. Beliefs that people are mocking you in relation to your flaw.
3. Being a perfectionist
It is also worth note that this obsession with a part of the body can be any part of the body and can also include several parts of the body or different parts of the body at different times. Here are the possible treatments of body dysmorphic disorder.
There are a variety of treatments which a patient can opt for and a variety of methods of curing the problem. Here are the most common.
1. Cognitive behavioral therapy- This is when a therapist tries to stop you from thinking about the flaw that you have been focusing on way too much.
2. SSRI- SSRI stands for selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors. They are given in cases where body dysmorphic disorder is caused by problems related to the brain chemical serotonin.
3. Hospitalization- This is a severe measure but may need to be taken if you are in danger of harming somebody or you cannot perform daily activities.
Are you suffering from acute depression? Well, in this case, nothing can be a better solution than taking anti-depressants. Anti-Depressants are nothing but specialized medicines or drugs that can help in releasing the stress hormones, and finally, the depression is completely eliminated.
These medicines need to be taken only if the doctors have prescribed the same, otherwise, you might face innumerable complications. Some people think that these drugs are equivalent to sleeping pills; in fact, they are not.
- Provide Tranquillity: You can feel calm by taking the tranquilizers. However, in this case, you have to be very much aware of the perfect dosage as an overdose can create innumerable troubles that cannot be easily rectified. In fact, these medicines can be treated as one of the major aspects of any psychological treatment. These drugs are the most powerful of all, and on the other hand, you can have greater effectiveness after consuming the same. If you are facing health complications while taking these anti-depressants, then you have to immediately inform about the same to the doctor so that you can remain absolutely safe and protected.
- Increases Comfort: Your comfort level can be increased to a great extent. If you think that alcohol can provide you comfort, then you are wrong. Your health will get deteriorated a lot by having alcohol. But in this case, you will not face any health complications until and unless dosage is exceeded. All anti-depressants are not suitable for your health, and this is the reason you should listen to your doctor and then only consume the same. You should learn the safest usage of anti-depressants so that you can remain healthy and safe along with the elimination of stress and depression.
- Treating Anxiety Disorders: Anxiety is of the most critical types of mental disorders that cannot be easily treated, and this is the reason doctors often prescribe different kinds of anti-depressants so that anxiety can be controlled. In this case, Barbiturate deserves special mention and this drug is suitable for all. Nembutal and Phenobarbital are also very much beneficial in treating anxiety disorders. Acute stress and panic attacks can be resolved only by consuming Benzodiazepines. Brain activity can be reduced, and your nerves can get relaxed. This calming effect is really quite soothing in nature and can help you to stay away from all kinds of depression.
Kleptomania is a form of psychiatric disorder. It is a difficult disorder, and an affected person experiences a lot of shame, remorse, stress or feels guilt, which are associated with stealing. It is categorized as an impulse control disorder which affects the behavior of a patient. Kleptomania may be associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder. The patient develops an impulse to steal and cannot control this impulse and later feels guilty.
- Understanding the situation: It must be clearly understood that a kleptomaniac person does not steal with the intention of becoming rich. It is done only for mental satisfaction and to pacify the urge of stealing that comes from within to an affected person. The patient usually does not care about the object he steals, but he only cares about the act of stealing. Usually, kleptomaniac patients steal insignificant things. When an affected patient becomes extremely nervous or fearful, they tend to steal an object. After the act, they feel much better and relieved. Later, a feeling of guilt arises in the person about his stealing act.
- Treat the affected person gently: A kleptomaniac person requires love, care and great understanding from his/her loved ones or family members in order to recover. The problem and the situation must be recognized and perceived carefully. A person close to the patient should deal with him gently and try to make him understand. In many situations, a kleptomaniac may be aware of his actions but does not confess to avoid harassment.
- The situation is different from stealing: It must be kept in mind that the actions of a kleptomaniac cannot be exactly termed as stealing. Stealing is an organized activity done by conscious individuals in order to gain something material or money related. Kleptomania is an act of impulse which a patient conducts for psychological satisfaction. The patients are fully aware that stealing is not the right thing, but yet they cannot control their impulse to steal.
- Treatment procedures: Once a kleptomaniac person accepts that they are suffering from a disorder, professional help must be taken. Cognitive Behavior Therapy is the primary treatment for kleptomania. This includes aversion therapy where a distraction is created when a person develops the impulse to steal an object. Systematic desensitization is another process where a patient is made to imagine a scenario to get over the urge of stealing. Covert desensitization makes a patient imagine negative impacts of the stealing act such as arrest or harassment.
The social life of a kleptomaniac becomes very difficult and both the patient and his family are subjected to a lot of trouble and harassment. Necessary measures must be taken for kleptomania.
Drug addiction is one of the social menaces and in most people, what starts off as a result of peer pressure and trying to be cool ends up affecting lives significantly. It is not just social but also affects financial, physical, emotional, and social well-being. The small period of happiness given by the drug is followed by months and years of torment.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has identified that drug addiction causes chemical and structural changes in the brain, leading to dangerous and self-destructive behaviours. The brain’s response to stimulus like pleasure, joy, happiness, and pain are altered with constant drug abuse. For instance, the neurotransmitter called dopamine, which makes one feel good, is usually produced by the brain in small amounts. However, drugs increase this level to 2 to 10 times more, making the person feel extremely high and happy. Since the body is unable to reach the highest level of happiness on its own, the dependency on these drugs to feel good increases.
Repeated use of the drugs leads to increased dependency, wherein the brain refuses to feel good without reaching those high levels of dopamine. The issue is mostly seen in teenagers and young adults but can be seen in any age group.
October 2 is recognized as National Anti-Drug Addiction Day and nationwide campaigns and drives are done to help people overcome addiction. One of the main reasons a drive this size is required is because of the social stigma attached to the problem. Most families shun away from recognizing it as a problem that can be easily treated, and so the affected person is sucked deeper into the problem.
Overcoming addiction: One of the main success factors for treating addiction is for the affected person to recognize that he or she is addicted and needs to get rid of the problem.
- There are national toll-free helplines that are set up, which can guide through the whole program. This way, if required, anonymity is maintained and support for overcoming addiction is increased.
- It involves a group effort involving the affected person, family and friends, medical and clinical personnel, and counselors in some cases.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy: The person is made conscious of the change in behaviour and the way drugs affect it. Healthier patterns to be happy and joyful are discussed.
- In most cases, the underlying reason for reaching out to drugs needs to be addressed also to prevent relapse.
- Group therapies where the person makes friends who have faced similar issues and overcome the problem. This increases their accountability and commitment to getting rid of the problem.
Drug abuse is a national social menace and needs more free admittance and management.
Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) is a disorder found in young children. Some common traits of a kid suffering from ODD include disobedient behavior, vindictiveness, manipulation, anger issues and irritability. These kids are known to have a negative mindset and are very difficult to get along with.
- Communicate your expectations clearly: Kids suffering from this disorder feels an irresistible urge to control the environment they are residing in. It helps when you lay down simple, but mandatory house rules such as not raising the voice, being kind to others, refraining from hurting family and friends etc. This will not only keep their behavior in check but will help them to make better choices.
- Be calm: Make sure you don’t give your kids any room to argue. Remind them that house rules apply for everyone. A back-and-forth argument will give your kids to impose his will on you. Explain in short the parental requirement that is expected. While giving instructions make sure you maintain a calm and collective dialect. Scolding or arguing your kid will do more harm than good.
- Use empathy: Instead of imposing parental will, it is best to be empathetic towards your defiant kid. For instance despite your repeated warnings, if your kid continues to watch TV or hook to the play station, remind them why it is important to go to bed early. Explain to them that you understand his feeling of having to leave the day for the night, but also tell them how his favorite activities can be continued the next day.
- Reward scheme: Kids with ODD reacts wonderfully to a reward system. For instance, if he successfully sticks to the rules laid in the house or behaves the way he is expected, he should be rewarded for the job well done. This reward scheme should be declared well in advance. As a parent, your job is to continuously remind him about the reward if he manages to do a job well. This incentive scheme will force your kid to be obedient.
- Don’t use false threats: Be very precise with your kid about the instruction you want them to follow. If you want him to brush his teeth before going to sleep, make it very clear to him what would be the consequences if the instruction is not followed. Do not use empty threats. As a parent, if you fail to keep your end of the bargain, your kid will not value your word anymore.
- Create a routine: A routine works well with kids suffering from ODD disorder. Every task should be time bound with more than one choice. For instance, between 5 PM to 7 PM allow them to do either of the two things like playing outdoor games or spending time with the play station.
A certain psychiatric condition which causes a person to be functionally impaired in social and occupational settings is known as Impulse Control Disorder. Most of you are granted with the ability to think before you act but it isn't the case for people suffering from such a condition. People diagnosed with this condition are not able to withstand the urge to do something detrimental to themselves or other people.
This condition is similar to other disorders such as kleptomania, compulsive gambling and pyromania to name a few. Although people suffering from this disorder do not plan their acts, the acts they do perform generally fulfill their conscious wishes. Other disorders of such similar nature like Kleptomania and ADHD, which are associated with difficulty in controlling impulses but that is not their chief feature. Patients of impulse control disorder find it highly distressful and are hence often seen to lose control of their actions and consequently their lives.
What causes this disorder?
Some medical practitioners are of the opinion that this disorder is a subgroup of other conditions such as stress, anxiety, OCD and other such. Scientists and researchers are not particularly sure what causes this condition but have determined that it can be caused due to a combination of physiological, emotional and psychological factors pertaining to cultural and societal aspects. Also, certain brain structures linked to emotions and memory functions in and around the frontal lobe are linked to planning functions and impulses.
Some studies show that certain hormones such as testosterone which are associated with aggression and violence may also play a role in forming such disorder. Aggressive and violent behaviors are apparent in people suffering from this disorder. Certain studies have shown a connection between certain forms of seizure disorders and aggressive impulsive behaviors.
People with such disorders are also more likely to contract addiction and mood disorders. Antidepressants are usually prescribed for treating such disorders.
Sleepwalking, also known as somnambulism is a type of parasomnia. A parasomnia includes undesired interruption in one's sleep.
Sleepwalking happens when you get up from your sleep, and walk around your house. You are actually still in a state of sleep when you are sleepwalking around. It can, likewise, include a progression of other complex activities.
You are likely to suddenly get up from sleep and sit on your bed, looking around like you are dazed or confused. Another type of sleepwalking involves abruptly rising in the midst of sleep and running away. Apparently, the patients feel that there is an acute threat, and they must escape from it by running away.
There are more features of sleepwalking. Here is a list of facts on sleepwalking which you should know.
1. You may talk or yell as you are sleepwalking. Your eyes are normally open and have a look of confusion. The eyes also seem to be glassy. You may perform some activities, which are not supposed to be done at night.
2. Strange, peculiar and weird actions are carried out while sleepwalking, in inappropriate places. Urinating in a garbage can, rearranging your furniture or jumping out of the window are common weird activities, which can be observed in sleepwalkers. The patient turns very violent and arrogant.
3. In uncommon cases, a patient will get into a car and set out for some unknown location. The patient may even choose to get separate for a long duration. Exposure of inappropriate body parts is also observed in sleepwalkers. Grown-ups may dream or fantasize while they sleepwalk.
4. Some people tend to eat during sleepwalking phase.
5. Waking up a sleepwalker is a very difficult thing to do. When a patient finally wakes up, he is in a state of utter fix and confusion. No memory of the events that happened during sleepwalking remain, and a patient cannot recall anything. Adult patients may sometimes recall very few traces of what might have happened. A clear memory of the events is rarely found in sleepwalkers.
6. At times, the patient becomes so violent that he may attack anyone who tries to wake him up. This is seen more in men. The sleepwalking may end abruptly, and the patient will find himself in an unknown place. The last memory that he might recall is going to sleep in the bed. Some patients return to their beds after a stroll automatically, without waking up
7. Sleepwalking usually occurs in the first of the third half of a person's sleeping phase.
Sleepwalking is an unhealthy phenomenon and measures should be taken if you find someone to be sleepwalking.
Depression is a serious yet common mental health problem that can affect all age groups ranging from young children to the elderly. It is found to be more common among women when compared to men. It can take a toll over one’s peace of mind, physical health, interpersonal relationships as well as job performance (or academic performance). What is deceiving is, the person can also be functioning well, in which case, it can go unnoticed, leading to grave consequences. The good news is that depression is treatable and individuals are able to function much better with treatment. Affected individuals feel sad most of the time. He/she loses the ability to enjoy/be happy.
As a result of this, the daily activities that he/she participates in do not seem to appeal to him/her anymore. This is especially true in the case of socializing. The affected person will just seem to drop out of social circles. This can be said to be ironic because it is times like these when the individual with depression is in need of friends the most!
The individual seems to have an overriding belief that the status quo will not be altered by anything and he or she will be stuck in a rut in perpetuity. In other words, depressed people experience a perennial feeling of helplessness. Negative thoughts can also drive one to commit suicide.
A lot of people who have depression tend to experience a loss of energy. As a matter of fact, this is quite the case with men who enter a phase of depression, as the symptoms which are displayed by them can contrast sharply to those displayed by women. One of the reasons for men tending to report a higher chance of this than women is the fact that they are less likely to express feelings of self-loathing. Rather, they usually talk about sleep problems and a loss of interest in things that once they might have found to be interesting or even captivating. They also gradually get quite irritable.
When it comes to women, guilt is quite likely to be felt. They may also sleep a lot longer than what is considered to be normal. Eating habits are a better indication of the presence or absence of depression than most people would realize. Overeating is one of the prime signs, especially in the case of women who are depressed. This leads to them putting on weight, as the rise in the intake of food is compounded by a drop in the amount of healthy physical activity. On the other hand, many may also experience loss of appetite, which over a period of time can even lead to weight loss. Some women who are depressed also complain of aches and pains in the body.
A few individuals who are depressed also complain of weird experiences, like being able to hear voices calling out to them, abusing them in dirty language, asking them to hurt themselves (hallucinations). Some may be found to be extremely suspicious about people around them.
Sleep is known to most as a period of rest and relaxation, but there are multiple disorders which are associated with sleep too. Hypersomnolence or hypersomnia is one of the most common sleep disorders. This is characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness and prolonged periods of sleep at night. They wake up fresh in the morning, but can easily go back to sleep any time of the day without feeling strained or tired. There is again no freshness associated upon waking up. Funny as it may sound, they can doze off even during a meal or in the middle of a conversation.
Causes: This condition is most common in men and in the early adolescent days.
- There is no underlying cause that has been identified, though there is a genetic predisposition.
- People with history of head trauma are more affected
- People with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorders, epilepsy, and other mental disorders are also more likely to be affected
- People with sleep apnea often are hypersomnolence
- Restless legs syndrome, narcolepsy
- Neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s tend to sleep more.
- Sleeping for longer hours at night time
- Excessively sleepy during daytime
- Able to doze off anytime during the day
- Inappropriate and involuntary sleeping pattern
- Having difficulty getting out of bed after waking up, even after prolonged sleep
- Feeling of disorientation
- Feeling agitated, anxious, lethargic, and irritated
- Impaired cognition and memory
- All these lead to extreme state of drowsiness
- Increased tendency for hallucinations
- Reduced appetite and even weight loss in some people
- There is restlessness, reduced pace of thinking and speaking
- Overall reduced energy levels
- Social interactions are affected including work life, social functions, etc.
- If a person happens to sleep more at night or falls asleep during the day easily for more than 3 times a week, it is usually concerning.
- The added feature of no tiring physical activity can also lead to suspicion
- In acute cases, these symptoms are present for at least a month and in chronic cases, it could be seen for up to 3 months
- It cannot be explained by lack of sleep on a regular basis
- One or more of the above conditions could be present, which can help in making the diagnosis
Most cases of hypersomnia would need treatment only to improve their energy levels and improve the quality of life. Very often, treating the underlying condition can lead to improvement of hypersomnia. The tired, lethargic, restless feeling affects the overall performance of a person, leaving them with a lowered self-esteem. Brain stimulating drugs like amphetamines are used to improve daytime alertness and also reduce sleepy feeling during the day.