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Emotional disorder generally refers to any emotion related disease with symptoms usually lasting four weeks or longer and with negative impacts on the daily life (e.g. work or learning performance, social life, family relations etc.) of patients.

Common emotional disorders are generalized under six categories including constant anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.

Statistics in recent years indicate that one of five Hong Kong people is suffered from emotional disorder to a certain degree.

Although emotional disorder is mainly characterized by emotional troubles such as fidgets, nervousness, anxiety and depression, it also has physical symptoms like insomnia, headache, fatigue, informal pain etc. Causes of emotional disorder are complicated.


Besides psychological factors (e.g. thinking pattern, personal character etc.) and environmental factors (e.g. heavy pressure, unemployment and bad interpersonal relationship), imbalance of chemical transmitter substances, especially serotonin, in the brains of patients is also a principal cause, as is shown by many medical documents.

Common Types of Mood Disorder


Blue Abstract

Cardinal symptoms:

  • Feeling depressed

  • Losing interest or motivation in most things


Other symptoms:


  • Obvious changes in appetite/weight

  • Wakefulness/sleepiness

  • Fatigue

  • Acting slowly

  • Much fewer daily activities, etc.



  • Fidgets, anxiety

  • Difficult to concentrate the mind

  • Forgetful

  • Having suicidal tendency or idea


Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Graffiti Wall

Cardinal symptom:

  • Often thinking/dreaming about traumatic incidents

  • Feeling very distressed, frightened or helpless

  • Having intensive physiological and psychological reactions when confronted with situations related to traumatic incidents

  • Making great efforts to avoid memories, feelings or people related to traumatic incidents

  • Difficult to relax owing to too much vigilance, etc.


Other symptoms:

  • Insomnia

  • Headache

  • Easy to lose temper

  • Pessimistic about the future

  • Having no interest in most things

  • Feeling being isolated from others etc.


Social Anxiety Disorder

Swimmer Pattern

Cardinal symptom:

  • Always unwilling to attend social occasions for fear of behaving foolishly.


Other symptoms:

  • Avoiding social activity

  • Cannot overcome fear although knowing that it is unreasonable

  • Feeling distressed for fear of its impacts on normal social life, learning or work


Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Girl with Tiger

Cardinal symptom:

  • Anxiety about various things is beyond control for most of the time. 

Other symptoms:


  • Muscle tension

  • Insomnia

  • Excessive hand perspiration, and accelerated heartbeat

  • Easy to get tired, etc.



  • Nervous

  • Difficult to concentrate the mind

  • Easy to lose temper

  • Restless all the day, etc.


Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Banana Pattern

Cardinal symptom:

  • Patients have intensive obsessive thinking / behaviours, and understand that such thinking / behaviours are unreasonable.

Obsessive thinking:

  • Persistent and unreasonable obsessive thinking (e.g. feeling that the hands are too dirty, or doors and windows are not locked etc.) or imaginable shadows , and so feeling great anxiety .


Obsessive behaviour: 

  • Forcing himself/herself to repeat some behaviours continually (e.g. repeatedly washing hands or checking doors to ensure they are safely locked ) in order to alleviate the disturbance brought by obsessive thinking.


Panic Disorder

Hands Pattern

Cardinal symptom:

  • Feeling frightened or anxious suddenly for many times, and such symptom reaching its peak within about 10 minutes, and having at least the following four symptoms.


Other symptoms:


  • Accelerated heartbeat

  • Sweating

  • Trembling

  • Having difficulty in breathing

  • Feeling uncomfortable in the chest

  • Feeling stuffy / nausea

  • Dizziness

  • Feeling cold / having a fever

  • Having numb / stinging sensation

  • Feeling a lump in the throat, etc.



  • Fearing losing control / off one's nut

  • Fearing death

  • Feeling things around are not true

  • Feeling that the soul has left the body


Other symptoms

  • Unwilling to go outside alone for fear of relapse of disease

  • Depression

  • Self-confidence declines

  • Worrying about the sequelae of the relapse of disease, etc.

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