Dysphoria: why everything infuriates and pleases nothing.
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Episodes of mood decline, loss of strength happen in every person. This happens due to fatigue, amid stress, failures in personal life and at work. Irritability, dissatisfaction with oneself and others, apathy, “nothing is interesting”, “I don’t want anything”, “everything enrages” – this is accompanied by a condition that we usually characterize as “no mood”. This happens to everyone, it’s normal. However, sometimes it turns into a mental disorder – dysphoria. Let’s find out everything about the disease: what is dysphoria, its definition, symptoms and treatment, why it arises, what is dangerous.
Dysphoria: what is it
Dysphoria is a mental disorder in which a person is in a state of depression. This is a mood disorder. The individual feels anger, longing, dissatisfaction with himself, the whole world. He becomes moody, irritable. Sometimes dysphoric disorder is combined with numerous phobias, aggression. It happens both as an independent disorder and as an element of other disorders, for example, psychopathy, epilepsy, as well as a symptom of central nervous system diseases.
The moment of occurrence, development, completion of an attack of dysphoria is fast or slow. Often the scale of the traumatic situation (presumptive cause) does not match the scale of the manifestation of the mood disorder. A dysphoria condition can occur in both healthy and mentally or somatically unhealthy people.
The concept of dysphoria
What is this in psychology? The name is derived from the Greek word dysphoria, which means “to suffer, to suffer, to be irritated, to annoy.” Dysphoria in psychology is the opposite of euphoria, that is, a form of a pathologically-reduced background of mood. It is accompanied by irritability, hatred of a person to the world and himself.
Types of Dysphoria
Psychologists distinguish three specific types of dysphoric disorder: gender, premenstrual, postcoital. Consider all types in more detail.
What is it? This is a gender identity disorder. It is manifested by the extreme dissatisfaction of a person with the gender with which he was born. The individual does not accept, does not recognize his gender.
Psychologists distinguish several forms of gender dysphoria:
- Gender non-conformity. A person behaves, looks like a representative of the opposite sex.
2.Transvestism. A man changes clothes in the representative of the opposite sex.
3.Transsexuality. The individual completely denies his gender, changes his gender and passport.
Reasons for the development of gender dysphoria:
- Anomalies in the period of fetal development;
- hormonal abnormalities in the body of a woman during the period of pregnancy;
- Anomalies in the endocrine system (imbalance between male and female hormones);
- mental disorders.
It is important to distinguish this type of dysphoric disorder from homosexuality. What is gender dysphoria? This is a feature of human self-awareness. Most transgender people are mentally healthy, but they do not feel in their bodies from early childhood. Before sex reassignment surgery, they receive an opinion, permission from a psychiatrist. Transgender people do not like people of their gender, although from the outside it looks exactly like that.
Most women have experienced PMS. Sleep problems, depression, irritability, weakness, decreased mood, tearfulness, pain throughout the body, problems with concentration, depression are classic manifestations of PMS. Occur about a week before the onset of menstruation, gradually disappear during the menstruation.
Psychologists have not yet reached a consensus on whether this is the norm or pathology. Some researchers argue that this is an indicator of the psychological, physical ill health of a woman. Others are sure that this is a normative phenomenon due to natural hormonal changes.
Manifestations of premenstrual dysphoric disorder are similar to PMS, but have even greater intensity. The condition is classified as pathological if it affects the quality and standard of living of a woman. The disorder is diagnosed if there are at least five signs from the following list:
- depressive tendencies;
- mood swings;
- problems with sleep;
- changes in appetite;
- difficulty concentrating;
- depressed state;
- feeling of depression;
- fatigue, fatigue.
This is a breakdown after sex. Lasts from a few minutes to several hours. More common in men. It is associated with fatigue, hormonal changes that necessarily occur during sexual intercourse. Postcoital dysphoric disorder in women occurs less frequently. Reasons: dissatisfaction with oneself or with a partner, relationship.
Dysphoria and depression: what is the difference
The main difference between dysphoric disorder and depression is that the latter feeds on the positive, and the former on the negative. With dysphoria, a person wants others to be even worse than him. He becomes aggressive, auto-aggressive. He increases sensitivity to words, actions of other people. Symptoms of a dysphoric state arise unexpectedly, have an obsessive nature, and disappear sharply. Symptoms of depression increase gradually, are more stable, do not go away by themselves. With depression, a person feels better when he receives positive emotions. With dysphoric syndrome, it becomes easier for a person when he realizes that someone is even worse than him.
The syndrome is mild, moderate and severe. A mild degree is felt by all people during times of stress. Its symptoms include:
- hostility to others;
- stinging ridicule and remarks about other people;
In older people, the disorder is often accompanied by anxiety and depressive tendencies, in young people, by pickiness, irritability and grouchy. A person can live a long time with mild dysphoric syndrome and take this for character traits. His associates relate to this the same way.
In pathology of moderate severity, the symptoms mentioned above are supplemented by the following manifestations:
- affective outbursts of anger and rage;
- unreasonable attacks of aggression aimed at objects, people;
- tension, despair, a feeling of hopelessness;
- cognitive distortions (rejection of reality, oneself, inability to think adequately, problems with concentration);
- loss of interest in life.
Somatic manifestations gradually develop:
- problems with sleep;
- loss of appetite;
- pressure surges.
Severe pathology is accompanied by motor impairment. Some people show excessive activity (intrusive and involuntary movements, chaotic actions). Other people fall into a stupor, become inhibited. In the latter case, sometimes delirium, a change in consciousness, complete or partial amnesia is observed.
Dysphoric disorder in combination with epilepsy or schizophrenia is accompanied by manic drives: running away from home, nymphomania, alcoholism. With epilepsy, the following pattern is observed: the fewer seizures of epilepsy, the more often episodes of a dysphoric state occur.
Dysphoric disorder in brain injuries is accompanied by headaches, migraines, and increased sensitivity to any external stimuli. Often there is discomfort throughout the body, the pain of an uncertain location (senestopathy).
Reasons and negative factors
Reasons for the development of a dysphoric condition:
- disorder in the work of the main processes of the central nervous system (inhibition and excitement);
- organic brain injuries;
- hormonal disbalance;
- problems with gender identity;
- vascular diseases;
- atrophic processes in the brain;
- borderline personality and any mental disorders, for example, dysmorphophobia, depression, dissocial personality disorder;
- genetic inheritance (if the mother was dysphoric throughout her pregnancy, the child may inherit the “gloom virus”).
The negative factors that increase the risk of developing pathology include the following:
- lack of sleep;
- chemical dependencies;
- prolonged illness;
- hormonal changes in women (PMS, menopause, pregnancy, lack of intimate life);
- advanced age (natural physiological changes);
- low self-esteem of the person;
- chronic pain;
The risk group includes people from asocial families and people who have experienced violence in childhood.
The disorder is diagnosed based on an analysis of the severity and frequency of attacks of mood decline. With an upset, the attack lasts 2-3 days, sometimes lasts up to several weeks. The onset and completion of an attack is not associated with external factors, the severity of the attack does not correspond to the strength of the influence of an external stimulus.
There are no special tests to detect the disorder. The psychotherapist makes a conclusion based on the anamnesis, observation, results of a comprehensive examination of the client. A medical and psychological examination is indicated. It is important to conduct a differential diagnosis, to exclude mental disorders and somatic diseases. Depending on the type of pathology, you may need the help of a number of specialists, for example, a gynecologist, endocrinologist and psychiatrist or neurologist and psychotherapist.
A psychotherapist is involved in the treatment of dysphoria. As a rule, complex therapy is indicated: taking medications and psychotherapy. Consultation with a psychologist is the main method of treatment. Drug therapy is an adjunct. At an early stage of the development of the disease, only psychotherapy sessions are sufficient.
Such methods of psychotherapy as psychoanalysis, cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy are used. The work is carried out in the following areas:
- stopping aggression and training the client in rational ways to outburst aggression;
- the approximation of the self-ideal image to the self-real;
- customer training in self-regulation techniques, emotions management;
- elimination of cognitive distortions (replacing destructive reactions and emotions with socially acceptable ones);
- the development of empathy, the ability to empathize (it is important to give the patient himself);
- correction of personality self-esteem;
- development of communication skills;
- development of positive thinking;
- the formation of internal motivation to build productive relationships.
After treatment, the client needs psychotherapeutic support. It is important for him to support relatives and a psychologist, acceptance and understanding from others. It is necessary to help a person accept himself and adapt again in society.
The list of medicines is selected individually. As a rule, drugs are prescribed to reduce anxiety, stop attacks of aggression, restore a depleted body, and normalize sleep. If dysphoria is a secondary disorder, a sign of another pathology, then treatment is aimed at eliminating the primary cause. Depending on the specifics of the course of the disorder, antipsychotics, antidepressants, sedatives, anticonvulsants, and barbiturates are prescribed. In especially severe cases, treatment in a hospital setting is indicated.
Dysphoria in PMS is treated with oral contraceptives, sedatives and painkillers, sleeping pills. Hormone therapy, antidepressants, and tranquilizers are sometimes prescribed.
Gender dysphoria requires hormonal medication. In rare cases (with the appropriate conclusion of a psychotherapist), a gender reassignment surgery is prescribed.
Postcoital dysphoria does not require medical treatment, passes by itself. However, it is useful to consult a psychologist.
What is dangerous dysphoric condition
In a state of dysphoria, a person is dangerous for himself and society. Even if it is not combined with another disorder, the individual is capable of crime and suicide. Often, patients try to cheer up due to food, alcohol, drugs, risky behavior. All this destroys the body and personality, it is dangerous for health and life.