Psychotherapy is the communication between a client and a therapist that aims to help individuals to find relief from emotional distress, while becoming less anxious, fearful or depressed. Individuals can discover solutions to challenges in their lives such as dealing with disappointment, grief, family issues, and career dissatisfaction. Psychotherapy appears to be useful in changing those patterns of thinking and acting that prevent individuals from working productively and enjoying personal relationships.  Psychotherapy is the most suitable and effective way of treating mental health disorders.

Below you can read more about disorders that our team of psychologists in Leiden and The Hague supports in a

therapy session

Anxiety disorders include disorders that share features of excessive fear and anxiety and related behavioral disturbances. Fear is the emotional response to real or perceived imminent threat, whereas anxiety is anticipation of future threat. Obviously, these two states overlap, but they also differ, with fear more often associated with surges of autonomic arousal necessary for fight or flight, thoughts of immediate danger, and escape behaviors, and anxiety more often associated with muscle tension and vigilance in preparation for future danger and cautious or avoidant behaviors. Sometimes the level of fear or anxiety is reduced by pervasive avoidance behaviors. Panic attacks feature prominently within the anxiety disorders as a particular type of fear response. Panic attacks are not limited to anxiety disorders but rather can be seen in other mental disorders as well.

There are eight types of anxiety disorders: Panic disorder, Social anxiety disorder (social phobia), Specific phobias, Generalized anxiety disorder, Agoraphobia, Substance/Medication-Induced Anxiety Disorder, Separation Anxiety Disorder, Selective Mutism.

Bipolar disorder, formerly called manic depression, is a mental health condition that causes extreme mood swings that include emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression). When someone becomes depressed, he/she may feel sad or hopeless and lose interest or pleasure in most activities. When their mood shifts to mania or hypomania (less extreme than mania), they may feel euphoric, full of energy or unusually irritable. These mood swings can affect sleep, energy, activity, judgment, behavior and the ability to think clearly. Episodes of mood swings may occur rarely or multiple times a year. While most people will experience some emotional symptoms between episodes, some may not experience any. Although bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition, individuals can manage your mood swings and other symptoms by following a treatment plan. In most cases, bipolar disorder is treated with medications and psychological counseling (psychotherapy).

The diagnoses included are Bipolar I disorderBipolar II disorder, Cyclothymic disorder, Substance/medication-induced bipolar and related disorder, Bipolar and related disorder due to another medical condition, Other specified bipolar and related disorder, and Unspecified bipolar and related disorder.

Depressive disorder include Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder, Major depressive disorder (including major depressive episode), Persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia), Premenstrual dysphoric disorder, Substance/medication-induced depressive disorder, Depressive disorder due to another medical condition, Other specified depressive disorder, and Unspecified depressive disorder.

The common feature of all of these disorders is the presence of sad, empty, or irritable mood, accompanied by somatic and cognitive changes that significantly affect the individual’s capacity to function. What differs among them are issues of duration, timing, or presumed etiology.

Obsessions are unwanted thoughts, ideas or urges that are distressing. They may seem very strange or have to do with things you wouldn’t normally think about doing. You can’t control obsessions and they cause a lot of anxiety or ‘bad feelings’.

Compulsions are things you keep doing to lessen feelings of distress or to prevent something bad from happening. But, these behaviours or mental acts only work for a short time so you need to keep repeating them and they start to interfere with daily life. For example, if a child or youth has obsessions about getting very sick, they might stay away from sick people and ask their parents again and again if they will be okay. Compulsions take up a lot of time and affect the way you live.

Obsessive – compulsive and related disorders include Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), Body dysmorphic disorder, Hoarding disorder, Trichotillomania (hairpulling disorder), Excoriation (skin-picking) disorder, Substance/medication-induced obsessive-compulsive and related disorder, Obsessive-compulsive and related disorder due to another medical condition, and Other specified obsessive-compulsive and related disorder and Unspecified obsessive-compulsive and related disorder (e.g., body-focused repetitive behavior disorder, obsessional jealousy)

Trauma and stressor related disorders include disorders in which exposure to a traumatic or stressful event is listed explicitly as a diagnostic criterion. Previously, trauma- and stressor-related disorders were considered anxiety disorders. However, they are now considered distinct because many patients do not have anxiety but instead have symptoms of anhedonia or dysphoria, anger, aggression, or dissociation. Types of trauma and stressor related disorders are Reactive attachment disorder, Disinhibited social engagement disorder, Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Acute stress disorder, and Adjustment disorder.

Somatic symptom disorder and other disorders with prominent somatic symptoms constitute a new category in DSM-5 called somatic symptom and related disorders. All of the disorders in this category share a common feature: the prominence of somatic symptoms associated with significant distress and impairment. Individuals with disorders with prominent somatic symptoms are commonly encountered in primary care and other medical settings but are less commonly encountered in psychiatric and other mental health settings.

Types of somatic symptoms and related disorders are: Somatic Symptom Disorder, Illness Anxiety Disorder, Conversion Disorder (Functional Neurological Symptom Disorder), Factitious Disorder.

Feeding and eating disorders are characterized by a persistent disturbance of eating or eating-related behavior that results in the altered consumption or absorption of food and that significantly impairs physical health or psychosocial functioning.

Types of feeding and eating disorders are: Pica, Rumination disorder, Avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder, Anorexia nervosa, Bulimia nervosa, and Binge-eating disorder.

Disruptive, impulse – control and conduct disorders include conditions involving problems in the self-control of emotions and behaviors. While other disorders in DSM5 may also involve problems in emotional and/or behavioral regulation, the disorders in this section are unique in that these problems are manifested in behaviors that violate the rights of others (e.g., aggression, destruction of property) and/or that bring the individual into significant conflict with societal norms or authority figures. The underlying causes of the problems in the self-control of emotions and behaviors can vary greatly across the disorders in this section and among individuals within a given diagnostic category. The types of Disruptive, Impulse – Control, and Conduct Disorders are Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Intermittent Explosive Disorder, Conduct Disorder, Pyromania, Kleptomania.

The substance related disorders encompass 10 separate classes of drugs: alcohol, caffeine, cannabis, hallucinogens (with separate categories for phencyclidine [or similarly acting arylcyclohexamines and other hallucinogens), inhalants, opioids, sedatives, hypnotics, and anxiolytics, stimulants (amphetamine-type substances, cocaine, and other stimulants), tobacco, and other (or unknown) substances. These 10 classes are not fully distinct. All drugs that are taken in excess have in common direct activation of the brain reward system, which is involved in the reinforcement of behaviors and the production of memories. They produce such an intense activation of the reward system that normal activities may be neglected. Instead of achieving reward system activation through adaptive behaviors, drugs of abuse directly activate the reward pathways. The pharmacological mechanisms by which each class of drugs produces reward are different, but the drugs typically activate the system and produce feelings of pleasure, often referred to as a ”high.” Furthermore, individuals with lower levels of self-control, which may reflect impairments of brain inhibitory mechanisms, may be particularly predisposed to develop substance use disorders, suggesting that the roots of substance use disorders for some persons can be seen in behaviors long before the onset of actual substance use itself.

A personality disorder is a type of mental disorder in which you have a rigid and unhealthy pattern of thinking, functioning and behaving. A person with a personality disorder has trouble perceiving and relating to situations and people. This causes significant problems and limitations in relationships, social activities, work and school. In some cases, the individuals may not realize that they have a personality disorder because their way of thinking and behaving seems natural to them. It is also possible that they may blame others for the challenges they face.

There are ten types of personality disorders: paranoid personality disorder, schizoid personality disorder, schizotypical personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, avoidant personality disorder, dependent personality disorder, obsessive – compulsive personality disorder.

Symptoms of sleep disorder include being very sleepy during the daytime and having trouble falling asleep at night. Some people may fall asleep at inappropriate times, such as while driving. Other symptoms include breathing in an unusual pattern or feeling an uncomfortable urge to move while you are trying to fall asleep. Unusual or bothersome movements or experiences during sleep are also possible. Having an irregular sleep and wake cycle is another symptom of sleep disorder.

Some common types of sleep disorders include:

Insomnia, in which you have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep throughout the night.

Sleep apnea, in which you experience abnormal patterns in breathing while you are asleep. There are several types of sleep apnea.

Restless legs syndrome (RLS), a type of sleep movement disorder. Restless legs syndrome, also called Willis-Ekbom disease, causes an uncomfortable sensation and an urge to move the legs while you try to fall asleep.

Narcolepsy, a condition characterized by extreme sleepiness during the day and falling asleep suddenly during the day.

Sexual dysfunctions are a heterogeneous group of disorders that are typically characterized by a clinically significant disturbance in a person’s ability to respond sexually or to experience sexual pleasure. An individual may have several sexual dysfunctions at the same time. In such cases, all of the dysfunctions should be diagnosed.

Sexual dysfunctions include Delayed ejaculation, Erectile disorder, Female orgasmic disorder, Female sexual interest/arousal disorder, genito-pelvic pain/penetration disorder, Male hypoactive sexual desire disorder, Premature (early) ejaculation, Substance/medicationinduced sexual dysfunction, Other specified sexual dysfunction, and Unspecified sexual dysfunction.

All information regarding disorders and symptoms is based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-V by the American Psychological Association (2013).