- February 11, 2023
- Mental health
Common Mental Health Disorders
Common Mental Health Disorders
Mental health disorders affect a person’s thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and overall functioning. They range from mild to severe and impact a person’s daily life and relationships. Some common mental health disorders include depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), borderline personality disorder (BPD), attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), eating disorders, and substance use disorders, among others.
It’s essential to note that mental health is a continuum, and not everyone experiences mental health disorders similarly. Some people may have more severe or long-lasting symptoms, while others may experience mild symptoms that come and go. A lot of factors can contribute to the development of mental health disorders, including genetics, brain chemistry, life events, and personal and environmental factors.
Following are some of the common mental health disorders:
Depression is a common mental issue characterized by sadness, hopelessness, and a lack of interest in activities that were once amusable. Depression can also cause bodily symptoms such as disturbances in appetite or sleep patterns, fatigue, and trouble concentrating. It can range from mild to extreme and last for a short period or long-lasting.
Depression can be provoked by a variety of factors, including biological, genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. It can also occur due to life events such as loss, stress, or trauma. Depression can impact a person’s daily life, relationships, work, and overall functioning, making it difficult to manage daily tasks and responsibilities.
Anxiety disorders are mental health disorders characterized by feelings of worry, nervousness, or fear that are excessive or out of proportion to the situation. These feelings can intervene with daily activities and cause significant distress. Several types of anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, social phobia (social anxiety disorder), and specific phobias.
Various factors, including genetics, life events, and personal and environmental factors, can trigger anxiety disorders. They can also occur in response to a traumatic event or symptom of another condition, such as depression.
Bipolar disorder is a mental health disorder with the characterization of extreme mood swings. People with bipolar disorder experience periods of high energy and euphoria (mania), followed by periods of depression. The severity and frequency of these mood swings can vary from person to person.
Schizophrenia is a chronic and severe mental issue affecting an individual’s behavior, feeling, and attitude. People with schizophrenia experience symptoms such as delusions, hallucinations, disordered thinking, and abnormal movements. These symptoms can be positive (such as delusions and hallucinations) and negative (such as apathy and decreased emotional expression). Schizophrenia can affect a person’s ability to function in daily life and can cause significant distress.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
OCD is a mental illness characterized by intrusive, unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive behaviors (compulsions) that a person feels compelled to perform. The compulsions relieve the anxiety caused by the habits, but they are not enjoyable and can interfere with daily activities. Some common obsessions include fear of contamination, aggressive or sexual thoughts, and a need for symmetry or exactness.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
PTSD is a mental issue that can occur after being exposed to to a traumatic event, such as combat, sexual assault, or a natural disaster. People with PTSD experience symptoms such as intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, avoidance behaviors, and feelings of distress or anxiety in response to reminders of the traumatic event. PTSD can interfere with daily activities and cause significant pain.
Borderline personality disorder (BPD)
In this disorder, the patient has unstable moods, behaviors, and relationships. People with BPD may have intense and dangerous associations, impulsive behaviors, and mood swings. They may also engage in self-harm behaviors, fear abandonment, and experience feelings of emptiness. BPD can interfere with daily activities and cause significant distress.
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity symptoms. People with ADHD may have difficulty focusing, completing tasks, and controlling impulsive behaviors. They may also have symptoms of hyperactivity, such as fidgeting, talking excessively, and being unable to remain seated. ADHD can interfere with daily activities and cause significant distress.
Eating disorders are a group of mental conditions characterized by unhealthy relationship with food. The most common type of eating disorders seen among teenage girls, like anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. People (commonly girls) with anorexia nervosa have an intense fear of gaining weight and may restrict their food intake to the point of starvation. People with bulimia engage in binge eating behaviors and compensate by purging through vomiting or using laxatives. Binge eating disorder is marked by frequent binge eating episodes without purging.
Major Depressive Disorder
Major depressive disorder, also called clinical depression, is a mental issue characterized by persistent sadness, hopelessness, and loss of interest in activities. People with major depression may also experience fatigue, difficulty sleeping, and changes in appetite. Depression can interfere with daily activities and cause significant distress.
Panic disorder is a mental issue characterized by recurring and unpredicted panic attacks. Panic attacks are episodes of extreme fear or discomfort that come on suddenly and reach a peak within a few minutes. People with panic disorder may also experience anxiety and fear between panic attacks.
Social Phobia (Social Anxiety Disorder)
Social phobia (commonly also called social anxiety disorder) is a mental issue characterized by intense fear and anxiety in social situations. People with social phobia may experience extreme self-consciousness, embarrassment, and shame in social cases. They may also experience physical symptoms of anxiety, such as sweating, shaking, and a racing heart.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a mental issue characterized by excessive and persistent anxiety and worry. People with GAD may worry excessively about everyday situations, such as work, health, and finances, and experience physical symptoms of anxiety, such as fatigue, muscle tension, and difficulty sleeping.
Substance use disorders
Substance use disorders, also known as addiction, refer to a group of mental health conditions characterized by the frequent use of drugs or alcohol despite negative consequences. Substance use disorders can range from mild to severe and significantly impact an individual’s physical and mental health, relationships, and daily functioning.
Dissociative disorders are a group of mental issues characterized by disruptions in an individual’s sense of self, memory, and identity. There are several types of dissociative disorders, including dissociative identity disorder (also called multiple personality disorder), dissociative amnesia, and depersonalization/derealization disorder.
Dissociative disorders often develop due to severe or chronic trauma, such as childhood abuse or military combat. Dissociation is a coping mechanism that helps an individual escape or disconnect from distressing experiences but can become problematic if it persists and interferes with daily life.
Symptoms of dissociative disorders can vary but may include gaps in memory, feeling detached from oneself or surroundings, and experiencing multiple identities or personalities. Treatment for dissociative disorders typically involves therapy, such as trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy, to help individuals process and integrate traumatic experiences and reduce dissociative symptoms.
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that occurs during specific seasons, typically in the winter months. It is characterized by sadness or hopelessness, low energy, and changes in sleep patterns or appetite. SAD is thought to be caused by a combination of factors, including changes in sunlight exposure and the body’s natural circadian rhythm.
Treatment for SAD typically involves light therapy, where individuals sit in front of a light box for a specific period each day. Antidepressant medication and psychotherapy can also be effective treatments for SAD. In some cases, lifestyle changes such as regular exercise, eating a balanced diet, and maintaining a consistent sleep schedule may help alleviate symptoms.
Personality disorders are mental health conditions characterized by patterns of thoughts, behaviors, and emotions that are rigid, persistent, and impair daily functioning. Personality disorders are classified into several types, including borderline, narcissistic, antisocial, and paranoid personality disorders.
Personality disorders often develop in adolescence or early adulthood and can be influenced by genetic and environmental factors, such as childhood trauma or abuse. Symptoms can change depending on the type of personality disorder but may include intense and unstable relationships, impulsive behavior, distorted self-image, and difficulties in maintaining employment or social relationships.
Delusional disorder is a mental health condition characterized by one or more delusions, which are false beliefs that a person holds despite evidence to the contrary. Delusions can take many forms, including thoughts about being persecuted, having a special relationship with a celebrity or historical figure, or being under the influence of a supernatural force.
Delusional disorder is a rare condition typically diagnosed in individuals with clear thinking in all other areas of life except their delusional beliefs. The delusional disorder’s exact cause is unknown, but it may be related to a combination of genetic, brain chemistry, and environmental factors.
In conclusion, mental health disorders are a common and complex group of conditions that can significantly impact daily functioning and overall well-being. From anxiety and depression to bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, many different types of mental health conditions can affect individuals at any stage of life. Understanding the symptoms, causes, and treatment options available can help individuals seek the support they need to manage their mental health and improve their quality of life. If you or anyone you know is suffering from a mental health disorder, it is important to seek help from a professional as soon as possible.
Dr Ghazia Dua