Health Stories - Mental Health and Behavior

Psychological Disorders - Symptoms


Healthgrades Editorial Staff

What are the symptoms of psychological disorders?

Symptoms of psychological disorders vary based on the specific disorder, but mood and behavioral symptoms are common. Symptoms can be chronic and relapsing. They can interfere with your ability to interact in society. Some psychological disorders can also cause physical symptoms. For example, panic attacks associated with anxiety disorders may have symptoms that look and feel like a heart attack. Somatoform disorders, conditions in which symptoms suggest a medical cause but none can be found, frequently involve symptoms of pain or achiness.

Common symptoms of psychological disorders

Psychological disorders can cause a variety of symptoms; common symptoms include:

  • Agitation, hostility or aggression

  • Alcohol or drug abuse

  • Alterations in energy levels

  • Anxiety

  • Confusion or disconnectedness

  • Erratic behavior

  • Irritability and mood changes

  • Perception or thought process disturbances (psychoses), such as hallucinations and delusions

  • Persistent or abrupt mood changes that can interfere with day-to-day life

  • Problem denial

  • Social withdrawal

Physical symptoms that may accompany psychological disorders

Psychological disorders may also be associated with physical symptoms including:

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  • Inexplicable physical problems

  • Lethargy or malaise

  • Sleep disturbances

  • Weight and appetite changes

Serious symptoms that might indicate a life-threatening condition

In some cases, psychological disorders can be life threatening. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have any of these life-threatening symptoms including:

  • Being a danger to oneself or others, including threatening, irrational or suicidal behavior

  • Inability to care for one’s basic needs

  • Trauma, such as bone deformity, burns, eye injuries, and other injuries

Medical Reviewers: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Review Date: Sep 6, 2016

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Medical References

  1. Beesdo K, Pine DS, Lieb R, Wittchen HU. Incidence and risk patterns of anxiety and depressive disorders and categorization of generalized anxiety disorder. Arch Gen Psychiatry 2010; 67:47.
  2. Bope ET, Kellerman RD (Eds.) Conn’s Current Therapy. Philadelphia: Saunders, 2013.
  3. Domino FJ (Ed.) Five Minute Clinical Consult. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2013.
  4. Major depression. PubMed Health.
  5. Mental and behavioral health care. Ohio State University Medical Center.

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