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What are the major types of Mental Disorders

Various mental disorders that affects human life


Mental health has become increasingly important as mental illnesses grow at an alarming rate. The Center for Disease Control reports that one in five Americans meet the criteria for a mental health disorder in a given year. That’s over 19% of the population.

Mental disorders, or mental illnesses, are those that affect a person’s mood, feelings, thinking, and behavior. There are over 200 diagnosable disorders, however, there are some more common than others.

a boy wearing jacket sit alone

The Most Common Types of Mental Disorders include:


A depressive disorder is a mood disorder, in which a person feels sad or down that goes above and beyond normal sadness or grief. Depressive disorders include not only negative thoughts, moods, and behaviors but also specific changes in bodily functions such as eating, sleeping, energy, and sexual activity, as well as potentially developing aches or pains.

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

​​PTSD develops after a traumatic experience such as a physical or sexual assault, a natural disaster, or the death of a loved one. Memories of the trauma can have disturbing effects on the person.

Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders compel people to respond to certain objects or situations with fear or dread. Common anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorders, and phobias

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is when someone has two moods on the opposite ends of the spectrum from the other. On one side, depression. Your bipolar depression can vary from being unable to get out of bed to feeling like you have the blues.


Schizophrenia is a type of psychotic disorder, characterized by distorted awareness and thinking. While we still do not know the cause of Schizophrenia, it results in the person experiencing acute psychosis. Psychotic means out of touch with reality or unable to separate real from unreal experiences

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

OCD is characterized by disturbing thoughts or fears that cause people to perform repetitive rituals or routines. It includes having irresistible ideas or images (obsessions) and/or behaviors or mental acts (compulsions) that may be driven by obsessions. Compulsions are not connected in a realistic way to the feared event.

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders involve abnormal thoughts or behavior about food and weight and may cause people to eat too much or too little. Eating disorders can lead to heart and kidney problems.

Anorexia, bulimia, and binge-eating disorder are the most common eating disorders. Many people with eating disorders feel out of control in other areas of their life. The one thing they can control is the food that enters or exits their body.

person eating burger


ADHD stands for Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Impulsive behaviors often accompany other ADHD symptoms. ADHD is found mostly in kids, but 50% of children do not outgrow it, but instead turn into adults with primarily inattentive symptoms.

Personality Disorders

People with personality disorders have unhealthy, inflexible thoughts and behaviors that create serious problems with relationships and work. Common personality disorders include narcissistic personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder.

What Causes Mental Disorders?

While mental disorders are not uncommon, certain factors put a person more at risk of developing these illnesses. These include:

  • Genetics

  • Family history of the disorder

  • Environment

  • Chemical imbalance in the brain

  • Physical health conditions such as thyroid problems or arrhythmia

  • Substance abuse

  • Trauma during childhood

  • Poverty and low levels of social support

However, all not all causes or risk factors are known, especially for certain disorders like Schizophrenia, we do not know the actual cause of the illness.

Early Signs of a Mental Illness

Signs and Symptoms of mental disorders vary depending on the disorder.

Symptoms of depression may include feeling sad or hopeless, most of the day, every day. It could also include feeling not caring about things, feeling lazy or fatigued, having a lack of energy, feeling guilty or worthless, forgetfulness, sleeping too much or too little, or weight gain or loss.

Symptoms of PTSD may be recurring negative thoughts and emotions, re-experiencing the trauma, repetitive flashbacks, nightmares, and extreme distress caused by reminders or other triggers of the trauma.

An anxiety disorder may result in feeling stressed, and often avoiding going out altogether, while physical signs may include shortness of breath, a pounding heart, and trembling hands.

Signs of eating disorders consist of major and rapid weight fluctuations (usually loss), constantly feeling tired, feeling cold, feeling dizzy, an inability to concentrate, low self-esteem, moodiness or irritability, negative emotions like anxiety, guilt or depression, and an obsession with weight

Symptoms of personality disorders include unusual or erratic behavior, extreme mood swings, a need for instant gratification, and problems at school, work, or in personal relationships.

types of mental disorders written in geometric shapes

If you are experiencing a few of the following regularly, consider seeking professional help:

  • Sleep or appetite changes — Dramatic sleep and appetite changes or decline in personal care.

  • Mood changes — Erratic behavior or unusual shifts in emotions or depressed feelings.

  • Withdrawal — Sudden social withdrawal, avoidance of socializing, and loss of interest in activities previously enjoyed.

  • Lack of Energy — Feeling tired, lazy and a drop in productivity, at school, work, social or physical activities, and performing familiar tasks.

  • Loss of Concentration — Problems with keeping attention/focus, memory, or ration thought and speech.

  • Increased sensitivity — Heightened sensitivity to temperature, smells, sights, sounds, or touch.

  • Illogical thinking — Unreal or exaggerated beliefs about your powers to understand or influence situations.

  • Indifference — Loss of attachment and feeling disconnected from yourself or your surroundings; feeling of losing touch with reality.

  • Nervousness — Anxiety, uneasiness, and/or fear or suspiciousness of others.

  • Unusual behavior – Odd, uncharacteristic behavior

Remember, one or two of these symptoms alone do not indicate or cannot predict a mental illness. But they could be early signs of deteriorating mental health and it is recommended to get a further evaluation. If you or someone you know is experiencing several of these symptoms at once, and these are hindering their daily life or causing problems in their relationships at school, work, or personally, we advise that you consult with a physician or mental health professional.

People with suicidal thoughts or intent, or thoughts of harming others, need immediate attention.

Seeking Help

The first step to dealing with mental health disorders is acknowledging them. It’s important to recognize that stigma toward mental illnesses tends to deter people from seeking help. When it comes to mental health disorders, being open, supportive, and encouraging can go a long way for both the patient and his/her family.

Years of global research have shown that early treatment can often minimize or delay symptoms, prevent hospitalization and improve prognosis. Even if a person does not yet show clear signs of a diagnosable mental illness, these “red flag” early warning symptoms can be stressful and disruptive.

Mental disorder treatment usually involves therapy, medications, or a combination. The next steps may include:

  • Getting an evaluation by mental health professionals.

  • Learning about mental illness, including signs, symptoms, and causes.

  • Share with your loved ones, who can support you through the process.

  • Counseling to manage stress and symptoms and avoid severe disruptions in your daily life.

  • Joining a supportive community.

  • Being monitored closely, in case of severe cases that need intensive care.

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