PSYCHOLOGICAL DISABILITIES

Psychological disabilities refer to a wide range of behavioral and/or psychological problems characterized by anxiety, mood swings, depression, and/or compromised assessment of reality. These behaviors persist over time; they are not in response to a particular event.  Psychological disabilities may be hidden with little or no apparent effect on a student's learning.  Many individuals with psychological disabilities are stabilized using medications and/or psychotherapy.  Below are brief descriptions of some common psychological disabilities.

Depression is a major disorder that can begin at any age.  Major depression may be characterized by a depressed mood most of each day, a lack of pleasure in most activities, thoughts of suicide, insomnia, and feelings of worthlessness or guilt.  It may appear as apathy, disinterest, inattention, impaired concentration, irritability, or as fatigue or other physical symptoms resulting from changes in eating, sleeping, or other living patterns.

Bipolar Disorder (manic depressive disorder) causes a person to experience periods of mania and depression.  In the manic phase, a person might experience increased initiative and a decreased need to sleep.

Anxiety Disorders can disrupt a person's ability to concentrate and cause hyperventilation, a racing heart, chest pains, panic and extreme fear.  Severe anxiety may reduce concentration, distort perception and weaken the learning process.  Anxiety may manifest itself as withdrawal, complaining of extreme fear.

Schizophrenia can cause a person to experience a distortion of reality and, in some instances, delusions and hallucinations.