People all over the world live with many different types of disabilities. These disabilities can range from physical to mental and can hinder a person’s life.
There are the 4 different types of disabilities that a person can have:
- Physical disabilities
- Learning disabilities
- Mental disabilities
- Chronic illness
The 4 types of disabilities above are the main categories that a person can fall under when disabled. Below is more information on what falls under these categories.
The Different Types of Disabilities People Live With
I really want to bring attention to our first type of disability here “Mental Disabilities”. The reason being is because I feel like people really mistaken this for something that is not quite real. This includes doctors as well.
Now I know that there are a lot of credible mental disabilities out there that people do accept. Here is a list of few of those disabilities.
- Speech disorders
That is not a big list. Especially for a world who suffers from so much more when it comes to mental disorders. The sad thing is though, that we as a society really question the next set of mental illnesses that plague other people on a daily basis.
Here is a mental disability that does not get much light shined on it, yet it is one of the biggest that our civilization as a whole suffers from
each day. This disability is MORE THAN SOMEONE BEING SAD!
It is a disability that really traps a person in their own mind and can even cause other disabilities to occur as well. I always hear people say that depression is not that big of a deal. That it is just in that person’s head.
While that statement is somewhat true (due to our bodies natural chemicals being released in our head) but there is a lot more of a physical cause then you might think.
What causes depression.
Depression and other emotions come from chemicals in our brain. These chemicals help us feel joy, sadness, stress, etc.
The simple fact is that no one knows precisely what chemicals cause what moods. We know that there are serotonin levels in the brain, bowels, and blood platelets that help regulate your mood.
Scientists have suspected for years that a lack of serotonin levels in the brain is responsible for depression. New research is coming out from Havard Medical School stating that there are millions, if not billions, of chemicals in a person that works inside and outside of the nerve cells in your body.
To be sure, chemicals are involved in this process, but it is not a simple matter of one chemical being too low and another too high. Rather, many chemicals are involved, working both inside and outside nerve cells. There are millions, even billions, of chemical reactions that make up the dynamic system that is responsible for your mood, perceptions, and how you experience life.
Havard Medical School
So you can see why there is so much confusion on what exactly depression is and how it affects people’s lives on a daily basis. Short answer, there are just too many variables to know exactly what causes depression and how we can cure it.
I personally have tried depression pills and have seen little to adverse effects (suicidal thoughts) with use of these pills. Why, because doctors truly don’t know the billions of chemicals that are in your brain.
Now granted, we have come along ways in the study of depression and what chemicals do what, but with that many chemicals running through a person’s mind and body we are really just touching the tip of the iceberg.
Increasing one chemical in a person’s brain could have a very different effect on another chemical in a person’s brain and cause that person to feel even worse! There is just not enough data to prove one way or another.
Effects of Depression on the Body
This is another area of question for a lot of people who doubt the legitimacy of depression and what effects it has on the body. I am here to state that “YES”, depression can cause other types of physical disabilities to occur in a person’s body.
Some of these are:
- Thyroid Conditions: Your thyroid produces hormones and proteins that our bodies use every day. The thyroid is another chemical in your body that is a bit of a mystery but has been linked to excessive weight gain, thinning of your hair, lack of energy, increased blood pressure and much more.
- Physical Pain: Yes, depression can cause or increase your level of physical pain. Depression has been associated with back pain, stomach pain, ulcers, digestive issues, diarrhea, cramps, and headaches.
- Heart Disease: Depression has been linked to an increase in heart disease as well. A Norwegian study found a 40% increase in heart disease in people who suffer from depression. Depression can raise stress hormones that cause inflammation and arterial plaque buildup.
- Cancer: The big C word that has taken more lives on this earth than any other disease besides old age! Depression has been associated with pancreatic cancer.
- Parkinsons: New studies are now discovering links between depression and Parkinson’s disease. People who are diagnosed with depression are twice as likely to develop Parkensins.
This is why when someone suffers from depression it should be taken seriously and not as “someone just having a bad day”.
Anxiety disorders are one of those types of disabilities that you hear people having all the time, yet associate it more with characters on television than a real problem.
Well, going beyond fictional people like “Monk”, this is a real problem for many people out there today. People who suffer from anxiety disorders have an unnatural fear and dread of situations or objects.
I think we all suffer from this in one form or another. Whether it be public speaking or a spider crawling on your desk, we all have a little anxiety.
But anxiety disorders go a little more beyond being scared of a spider on your desk. It goes to say that it is more of what people would call “unnatural fears” to these objects and situations.
I might be scared of the spider, but I still can step on one and kill it. A person with an anxiety disorder will go and cover their whole house with Raid bug spray and possible wrap themselves up in saran wrap at night just to make sure a spider does not get on them.
That is what we call an “unnatural fear” to an object or situation. Very recently doctors have actually found the spot in the brain which controls fear. Now whether this part of the brain is what causes anxiety is still inconclusive, but scientists are hopeful.
The part of the brain we are looking at is the Striatum. This part of the brain has been linked to obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD) and scientists are now looking at this part of the brain for anxiety as well.
The study indicated that this portion of the brain was larger in those that suffered from “fear from the uncertainty of the future”, then those that do not have this fear.
The Different Types of Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorder is really a generalized term that includes different conditions:
- Panic Disorder: This is a disorder that is derived from fear and can attack at any time. There does not have to be a cause for this fear, it just happens. Some symptoms of panic disorder are chest pains and palpitation.
- Social Anxiety Disorder: A fear of everyday social situations. People with social anxiety tend to be really self-consciousness in social environments. They also tend to fixate on others judging them or being embarrassed or ridiculed. This disorder is also called Social Phobia.
- Specific Phobias: Like the fear of spiders, this is a phobia that is specific to an object or thing. The fear goes way beyond what we might entail as a normal reaction to a certain object or thing. Like my spider example above.
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder: This is a broad definition of anxiety where you just feel excessively anxious or worried for no real reason.
I really wanted to cover these two types of disabilities as I feel they are very misunderstood by the people. The fact is though, there are so many mental disabilities that I could not list them all here.
Learning Types of Disabilities
Millions of people suffer from learning disabilities. Again this is one of those types of disabilities that is really misunderstood. Now I really don’t like to use the word “Hate” too often, but I “Hate” when people think that someone is just stupid, or look down on people who are struggling to learn.
Learning disabilities are often diagnosed during a person’s school years. But this is not always the case. Sometimes people can go undiagnosed until their post-secondary education or even in the workforce.
Now, I don’t want learning disabilities to be confused with other types of disabilities. Learning disabilities DO NOT fall into the same categories as:
- Mental retardation
- Visual impairment
- Hearing impairment
- Motor handicaps
- Emotional disturbance
The truth of the matter is that learning disabilities usually are classified as “hidden disabilities”. The reason being is because people with learning disabilities usually have average to above average intelligence. Yes, you read that right.
Learning disabilities are more of a “gap” in one’s ability to process a certain type of information. This information can be reading, writing, auditory, language, math, copying, etc.
There is no cure or fix for a person who suffers from a learning disability but with proper support and intervention, a person with a learning disability can be successful with school, work, and relationships.
The Different Types of Learning Disabilities
- Auditory Processing Learning (APD): This is a type of learning disability that affects how sound is registered by the brain. There is nothing impeding the sound physically in the ear or other, it is just the brain’s interpretation of that sound that is miscalculated. This can affect how words and sentences are interpreted. Learn more about Auditory Process Learning.
- Dyscalculia: Here is a specific learning disability that affects a person’s ability to process and understand numbers and math facts. People with Dyscalculia also may have trouble organizing numbers, telling time, or counting. Learn more about Dyscalculia.
- Dysgraphia: A disability that affects a person’s fine motor skills. Affect’s can be seen in a person’s handwriting which can consist of poor spelling, inconsistent spacing, and difficulty with thinking and writing at the same time. Learn more about Dysgraphia.
- Dyslexia: This is a common learning disability that affects a persons ability to process language based information. This may include reading, writing, spelling, and even speech. Severity differs from person to person. Learn more about Dyslexia.
- Language Processing Disorder (LPD): Much like Auditory Processing Learning (APD) this is in reference to how the brain interprets words and sentences. The major difference being that Auditory Processing Learning deals more with sound while Language Processing Disorder (LPD) is more specific to how the brain interprets words and has nothing to do with sound interpretation. Learn more about Language Processing Disorder.
- Non-verbal Learning Disabilities (NLD): This learning disability is focused on the inability to interpret body language and social cues. A person who suffers from (NLD) may not pick up on certain facial expressions and can also have poor coordination. Learn more about Non-verbal Learning Disabilities.
- Visual Perceptual/Visual Motor Deficit: A learning disability that affects the way a person understands information that they see or has trouble copying or drawing. This is a disability that you see often associated with Dysgraphia or Non-verbal Learning Disabilities (NLD). A person who has this condition may miss subtle differences in letters (like mixing up the d and b) or shapes, losing place frequently, struggling with cutting, holding a pencil too tight, and poor hand/eye coordination. Learn more about Visual Perceptual/Visual Motor Deficit.
When it comes to types of disabilities learning disabilities should not go unnoticed. I also want to point out that there is a common learning disability that I did not put on this list.
ADHD is a disability where a person has trouble staying focused for long periods of time. Now the reason this is not on the list is that it is not technically considered a learning disability. The reason this gets associated with a learning disability is that 30-50% of children who suffer from ADHD usually have one or more of the learning disabilities mentioned above. Learn more about ADHD.
Chronic Illness and Physical Disabilities
I really feel like these go hand in hand when coving the different types of disabilities. Though there are some differences, both are usually a physical condition that affects your body in one form or another.
Difference between chronic illness and physical disabilities
Chronic illness: The term “illness” is in reference to a sickness. Colds, flu’s, sore throats, this type of thing all falls under the category of illness. Chronic illness is associated with a form of sickness that is lifelong. Cancer, diabetes, asthma all fall under lifelong illnesses and are considered chronic.
Physical disabilities: These are disabilities that can limit or prohibit one’s mobility and/or physical functions, dexterity or stamina. This may include blindness, respiratory disorders, epilepsy, and more.
Physical disabilities and chronic illnesses can lead to mental disabilities such as depression and anxiety being the top two. Please seek a treatment plan for these conditions as well as they will surely arise.