The main symptoms and syndromes of mental disorders

Published At: 11 January 2020 , 06:42 PM

The term "mental disorder" refers to a massive number of different painful conditions. To learn to navigate them, to understand their essence, we will use the experience of presenting the doctrine of these disorders, that is, psychiatry, in textbooks intended for specialists.

The study of psychiatry traditionally begins with a presentation of general psychopathology and only then proceed to private psychiatry. General psychopathology includes the study of symptoms and syndromes (signs) of mental illness, since any illness, including mental illness, is, first of all, the totality of its specific manifestations. Private psychiatry describes specific mental illnesses - the causes of their occurrence, development mechanisms, clinical signs, treatment, and preventive measures.

Consider the main symptoms and syndromes of mental disorders in order of their weight - from the lungs to the deeper.

Asthenic syndrome.

Asthenic syndrome (asthenia) is a widespread condition, which is manifested by increased fatigue, exhaustion, decreased performance. People with asthenic disorders have a weakness, instability of mood, they are characterized by impressionability, sentimentality, tearfulness; they are comfortable to touch, they are easily irritated, lose their temper due to any trifle. Asthenic conditions also characterized by frequent headaches, sleep disturbances (it becomes superficial, does not bring rest, increased drowsiness observed during the day).

Asthenia is a non-specific disorder, i.e., can be observed in almost any mental illness, as well as somatic, in particular after surgery, acute infectious diseases, or with overwork.


Obsessions are called experiences in which a person, in addition to his will, has any particular thoughts, fears, doubts. Moreover, a person recognizes them as their own; they revisit him, and again, it is impossible to get rid of them, despite the critical attitude towards them. Obsessive disorders can manifest themselves in the appearance of excruciating doubts, completely unjustified, and sometimes just ridiculous thoughts, in an irresistible desire to recount everything in a row. A person with such disorders can check several times whether he turned off the light in the apartment, closed the front door, and if he moves away from home, doubts again seize him.

The same group of disorders includes obsessive fears - fear of heights, enclosed spaces, open spaces, travel in vehicles, and many others. Sometimes, to relieve anxiety, internal tension, calm down a bit, people experiencing obsessive fears and doubts perform specific obsessive actions, or movements (rituals). For example, a person with an obsessive fear of pollution can spend hours in the bathroom, wash his hands repeatedly with soap, and, if he is distracted by something, start the whole process over and over again.

Affective syndromes.

These mental disorders are the most common. Affective syndromes are manifested by persistent changes in mood, more often with its decrease - depression, or increase - mania. Affective syndromes usually found at the very beginning of the mental illness. They may remain predominant throughout its duration, but may become more complex, coexist for a long time with other, more severe mental disorders. With the reverse development of the disease, depression, and mania often disappear last.

Speaking of depression, we, first of all, have in mind the following manifestations of it.

  1. Decreased mood, feelings of depression, depression, longing, in severe cases, physically felt as heaviness or chest pain. This is a painful condition for humans.
  2. The decrease in the mental activity of thought becomes more unsatisfactory, shorter, vague). A person in this state does not answer questions immediately - after a pause, gives quick, monosyllabic answers, speaks slowly, in a low voice. Quite often, patients with depression note that they find it difficult to understand the meaning of the question asked by them, the essence of what they read, complain about a decrease in memory. Such patients have difficulty making decisions, cannot switch to new activities.
  3. Motor inhibition - patients experience weakness, lethargy, muscle relaxation, talk about fatigue, their movements are slow, constrained.

In addition to the above, the characteristic manifestations of depression are:

guilt, ideas of self-accusation, sinfulness;

a sense of despair, hopelessness, a dead end, which is often accompanied by thoughts of death and attempted suicide;

daily fluctuations in the state, usually with some relief in the evening;

sleep disturbances night sleep is superficial, intermittent, with early awakenings, disturbing dreams, sleep does not bring rest).

Depression can also be accompanied by sweating, tachycardia, fluctuations in blood pressure, a sensation of heat, cold, coldness, loss of appetite, loss of body weight, and constipation (sometimes symptoms such as heartburn, nausea, belching occur from the digestive system).

A high risk of suicide characterizes depression!

Read the text below carefully - this will help you to notice the appearance of suicidal thoughts and intentions in a person with depression in time.

In the presence of depression, suicide attempts are possible

sayings of a sick person about his uselessness, guilt, sin;

a sense of hopelessness, the meaninglessness of life, unwillingness to make plans for the future;

sudden calm after a long period of anxiety and longing;

accumulation of drugs;

sudden desire to meet old friends, ask for forgiveness from loved ones, put things in order, make a will.