Mental disorders, also known as psychiatric disorders or mental illnesses, are conditions that affect your behavior, mood, feeling, and thinking.
In this blog, you’ll get to know about the different types of mental disorders, their causes, symptoms, and medication.
What is a Mental Health Disorder?
Mental disorder is generally characterized by a combination of behavior, emotions, feelings, abnormal thoughts, and relationships with others. They may be occasional or last-longing. They impact multiple areas of life, i.e., day-to-day function or ability to relate to others. They can create distress for the person experiencing the symptoms.
According to mental disorders definition:
“They are the mental health problems that affect how a person interacts with people, how he behaves and thinks.”
A mental disorder is usually associated with distress or problems functioning in the family, work, or social activities. They are a group of mental health conditions that are diagnosed with different criteria.
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) states that mental disorders can happen due to several medical conditions. DSM is a handbook published by the American Psychological Association (APA) used by medical health professionals in the United States. This authoritative guide is used around the world for diagnosing mental disorders.
DSM provides the description of mental disorders, their causes, symptoms, and criteria for diagnosing the disorder. It guides the doctors on how to communicate with their patients and establish a reliable diagnosis. It also gives a platform for researchers to study potential future improvements that help develop medication.
Types of Mental Disorders
There are many different types of mental disorders. The most common mental disorders in the United States are depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, autism, etc. Some rare mental disorders include Stendhal syndrome, Apotemnophilia, Alice in Wonderland syndrome, etc.
DSM-5 has grouped several mental disorders into different categories. DSM-5 classification of mental disorders is as follow:
Mood disorders are usually known as affective disorders. They involve the feelings where the mood fluctuates from extreme happiness to extreme sadness. The following are common mood disorders:
Bipolar disorder is a shift in mood and a change in behavior, energy level, and activities. It usually consists of both depressive episodes and manic, separated by periods of normal mood. Manic involve irritable and elevated mood, distraction, excessive confidence, rapid speech, or decreased need for sleep.
On the other hand, depressive episodes involve depressed or sad moods and a lack of interest in activities. People who have panic attacks but do not experience depressive episodes also have bipolar.
Depression is a mental illness that is more common in women than in men. It is characterized by sadness, disturbed appetite or sleep, loss of pleasure or concentration, low self-worth, or feeling of guilt. It can be long-lasting or recurrent, and the most severe depression disorder can lead to suicide.
Feelings of fear or dread usually characterize anxiety disorders. The physical signs that indicate anxiety are sweating, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, etc. The following are common anxiety disorders:
Panic attacks characterize this anxiety disorder. These attacks often strikeout of the blue and for no reason at all. Panic disorder can create significant impairment in many areas of life. People may have problems carrying out routine activities.
Social Anxiety Disorder
Social anxiety disorder is an irrational fear of being judged or watched by others. It can badly affect a person’s life and may cause him trouble dealing with daily activities. A person may have problems functioning in social settings, schools, or work environments.
It is a fear of something, an object, an environmental situation, etc. For example, fear of the stage, fear of heights, fear of water, fear of snakes, or any other insects. Situational, animal, medical, and natural events are the four types of specific phobias.
People with agoraphobia have a fear of public places. They are afraid that they will have a panic attack in a setting where escape might be difficult. Because of this fear, people avoid such situations and eventually are unable even to leave their room.
Separation Anxiety Disorder
It is a condition when people feel extreme fear or anxiety related to being separated from known figures. For example, children fear being separated from their parents, and adults can experience a similar feeling.
This mental illness includes distorted thinking and abnormal behavior. The two most common symptoms of psychotic disorder are hallucination and delusion. The following is an example of psychotic disorder:
It is a chronic psychotic disorder that affects how a person thinks, behaves, feels, or reacts. People with schizophrenia have difficulty distinguishing reality from imagination. They may hear voices or see faces that do not exist in reality.
It is a psychological disorder that involves disconnected thoughts, feelings, or memories. People with dissociative disorder try to escape from reality involuntarily. It usually develops in reaction to a traumatic event. The following are common types of dissociative disorder.
It is a temporary loss of memory that may last only for a short period or many years. It is much more than simple forgetfulness. People with dissociative amnesia may remember a few things about an event but may not be able to recall everything.
Dissociative Identity Disorder
It is commonly known as multiple personality disorder. In DID, a person has two or more different personalities. Each of these personalities has their own perspective of the world and interacts with the environment in their own way.
Derealization is characterized by the feeling of being disconnected from reality. Depersonalization is characterized by a feeling of being outside of your own body. People with this disorder often realize the reality and feel disconnected from their feelings, memories, and consciousness.
These disorders are associated with the maldevelopment of the neural system, which leads to abnormal brain function. Imperfect development of the neural network may affect memory, self-control, learning ability, and emotions. The following are common neurodevelopmental disorders.
Autism is a severe developmental disorder that impairs the ability to interact or communicate. Common symptoms of autism are repetitive behavior, obsessive interest, difficulty with social interests, and communication. This disorder can cause significant impairment in important areas of life.
Intellectual disability is also known as intellectual development disorder and formally referred to as mental retardation. A person with an intellectual disability has significant limitations in both adaptive behavior and intellectual functioning. This disorder usually originates prior to the age of 18.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
It is a chronic disorder that includes hyperactivity, impulsiveness, and attention difficulty. A person with ADHD cannot pay attention and does not have control over their impulsive behavior. A person with ADHD may be restless and almost constantly active.
It impacts a person’s ability to use, understand, and detect speech and language. There are four subtypes of communication disorder; pragmatic or social, childhood-onset fluency disorder, speech sound disorder, and language disorder.
Global Developmental Delay
This disorder is usually found in children under the age of five. Kids may have delays in speech and language development, cognitive development, motor skills, and social functioning.
Eating disorders are a complex mental health condition which is characterized by disruptive eating patterns. These disorders are commonly known as Winnie the pooh mental disorder. They negatively impact physical and psychological health. The following are some common eating disorders:
It is characterized by extremely low body weight. People with anorexia nervosa have a fear of gaining weight and preoccupation. It causes people to obsess about weight and what they eat. Because of anorexia nervosa, people have distorted views of their appearance and behavior.
Binge Eating Disorder
It involves episodes of binge eating. A person consumes unusually big meals over the course of a couple of hours. People have no control over their eating. It is a life-threatening disorder, but it is curable.
It is another form of binge eating disorder. People with bulimia nervosa binge eat and then take extreme steps to compensate for that eating. Excessive exercise, the abuse of laxatives or diuretics, or self-induced vomiting are compensatory behaviors. It is a life-threatening eating disorder.
It is a mental illness in which a person has a rigid and unhealthy pattern of behavior, thinking, and functioning. The common types of personality disorders are:
Paranoid Personality Disorder
PPD involves odd or eccentric ways of thinking. It consists of distrust of others, even friends and family. People with PPD have a terrible habit of overthinking and perceiving others’ intentions as evil, and they may suffer paranoia.
Antisocial Personality Disorder
It is a mental condition in which a person disregards right and wrong, social norms, rules, and others’ rights. People with APDS begin showing symptoms during childhood, but the disorder cannot be diagnosed until adolescent. People lack remorse for their destructive behavior and have difficulty feeling empathy for others.
Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder
It is characterized by extreme neatness, perfectionism, and order. It is defined by strict adherence to orderliness and control over one’s environment at the expense of flexibility. People usually confuse it with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), but both are different.
Borderline Personality Disorder
It is characterized by an unstable mood, relationships, and behavior. It affects how a person thinks and feels about himself and others. Impulsive behavior, unstable self-image, intense interpersonal relationships, and emotional stability are common symptoms of BPDS.
Such disorders are the reaction to traumatic or stressful events. The following disorders are included in the stress-related disorder group:
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
It is a mental condition that is triggered by a terrifying event, either witnessing or experiencing it. A person with PTSD has difficulty recovering after experiencing a terrifying event. This disorder may last for months or years, and triggers can bring back the memories of trauma.
Acute Stress Disorder
It is a dysfunctional, unpleasant, and intense reaction that begins shortly after an overwhelmingly traumatic event. After experiencing a traumatic event, severe anxiety could occur for up to a month.
It involves disturbed or interrupted patterns of sleep. Changes in sleeping patterns can negatively affect your health. Sleep disorder includes the following disorders.
It is a condition in which a person has difficulty falling or staying asleep. It can be acute, only lasts for a short period. It can be chronic, may last for an extended period. People with insomnia are unable to get enough sleep and feel rested.
Breathing Related Sleep Disorder
It is a disorder in which breathing repeatedly starts and stops while sleeping. Breathing anomalies like sleep apnea can occur during sleep. People with BRSD feel tired even after having a full night’s sleep because their sleep was interrupted by disordered breathing. BRSD can lead to insomnia or daytime sleepiness.
It involves unwanted experiences or events that occur while falling asleep, sleeping, or waking up. Sleep eating, sleep talking, sleep terror, and sleepwalking are examples of parasomnia.
Restless Leg Syndrome
It causes an irresistible urge to move the leg. It is a neurological condition that creates an uncomfortable sensation in the legs while sleeping. People with this disorder may feel burning, creeping, tugging, and crawling sensations in their legs.
Other Mental Disorder List
Some other common mental disorders are listed below:
- Neurocognitive Disorder
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Age-related Cognitive Decline
- Learning Disabilities
- Disruptive Disorders
- Intermittent Explosive Disorder
- Substance Use Disorders
- Gambling Disorder
- Excoriation Disorder
- Adjustment Disorder
Mental Disorders in Children
Mental disorder in children is characterized as a serious change in how they behave, learn. And handle their emotions, which cause distress and problems getting through the day. Many children show disruptive behavior, experience fear, and worries.
The most common mental disorder in children are:
- Developmental Disorders
- Behavior Disorders
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Conduct Disorder
- Oppositional Defiant Disorder
- Tourette Syndrome
Just like normal children, children with mental disorders need to be understood and appreciated for their talents and strengths. They are just like the normal kids in their need to belong to their friends, families, and other communities. However, they require some special services and support to succeed in life.
Children with mental disorders may need some extra guidance to perform better in an educational environment. They may need extra attention or social skill groups to help them be a part of social settings and make friends. The symptoms of mental disorders in children may change over time as they grow.
Symptoms of childhood mental disorder often start in early childhood, but some disorders may develop in the teenage years. The diagnosis is usually made in the school years or earlier. But, there are some cases when a child goes undiagnosed and recognized as having a mental health issue.
However, mental disorders in children can be managed and treated. Many treatment options are available that help a child lead a healthy and normal life. Moreover, parents play a significant role in the child’s treatment. They need to work closely with therapists, doctors, coaches, teachers, and everyone involved in the child’s treatment.
Furthermore, an early diagnosis and appropriate treatment can make a huge difference in a child’s life.
Mental Disorders Symptoms
A major portion of people around the world has mental health concerns from time to time. But a usual problem can turn into a severe disorder if ongoing symptoms are experienced for a long period of time. A mental illness can make your life miserable and may cause problems in your daily life, i.e., at work.
However, mental disorder symptoms can vary, depending on the type of disorder, circumstances, and other factors. The common symptoms of mental illnesses include:
- Change in mood, behavior, thinking, and feelings
- Feeling down or sad or having a bizarre mood all the time
- Not taking part in any social activity
- Not engaging with people or withdrawal from friends
- Having a problem in initiating a talk
- Trouble understanding and relating to people or situations
- Confused and disorganized thinking
- Excessive worries and fears
- Having suicidal thoughts
- Extreme mood changes or extreme feeling of guilt
- Problem with sleeping, i.e., insomnia or oversleeping
- The reduced ability or unable to concentrate
- Low energy or significant tiredness
- Unable to deal with any problem
- Hallucination, paranoia, delusion
- Excessive anger, violence, or hostility
There are some cases when mental disorder symptoms appear as physical problems, i.e., headaches, back pain, stomach pain, etc. If you experience any of the symptoms for an extended period, you should consult a mental health professional.
Mental Disorders Causes
There may be many causes of mental disorders, but the most common causes are only three. Generally, mental disorders are thought to be caused by a combination of genetics, environmental factors, and brain chemistry.
Genetics: It plays a vital role in transferring mental disorders. Mental disorders are very common in people whose family members also have a mental disorder. Specific genes may increase your likelihood of getting a mental disorder, and some life situations may trigger them.
Environmental Factors: Many environmental factors cause mental disorders, i.e., pollution, noise, housing conditions. Smoking, sleep deprivation, exposure to toxins, or hazardous conditions at work are also included. Some social, environmental factors also contribute, i.e., poverty, toxic relationship, social stigma, lack of self-care, etc.
Brain Chemistry: Neurotransmitter, a brain chemical that transfers signals from nerve cell to the target cell. When this chemical in the neural network is impaired, the function of the nerve system changes, which leads to mental disorder.
The national institute of mental health suggests that many factors lead to mental disorders. The right diagnosis of the disorder requires finding the correct cause of the problem.
Mental Disorders Treatment
There are several ways to treat mental disorders. No one treatment works for everyone. Everyone experiences different symptoms and has various causes that require different ways of treatment. For some people, one treatment may work best, and for others, a combination of treatments may be required.
However, here are some common mental disorder treatments:
Therapy is always considered the first option for mental disorder treatment. It is a therapeutic treatment provided by a psychologist or psychiatrist. It explores a person’s thoughts, behavior, feelings, and seeks improvement for a person's well-being.
The common types of psychotherapies are exposure therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, talk therapy, and dialectical behavior therapy. A combination of psychotherapy and medication gives the most effective results and shows speedy recovery.
Most of the people who are not comfortable with psychotherapy go for the medication option. There are some cases when medication is necessary to control the symptoms of the disorder. However, it does not outright cure mental disorders, but it can help in symptom management.
It is a group of people who have some mental disorder, get together and share their stories. People in these groups are usually non-professionals, but they have dealt with similar problems. In these group meetings, peers guide each other towards the shared goal of recovery.
Self-Help Plans or Peer Support
Self-help plans may include addressing warning signs, recovery, or wellness. These are the unique plans that are designed for individuals so that they can address their conditions and promote wellness. Peer support is getting help from people who have experienced the same problems. Peers guide how to manage the symptoms and promote health.
It is the last option when no other treatment works. When a mental disorder turns into a severe condition, then hospitalization becomes necessary. It is essential to monitor the patient closely so that the right diagnosis can be made. And, treatment plans can be adjusted when the conditions worsen.
Mental Disorders Test
To determine a diagnosis of mental disease and check for related complications, an individual may have to do the following tests:
The doctor does the physical examination to rule out the physical problems that could cause the symptoms.
Various laboratory tests are done on your blood samples to diagnose the correct disorder. Laboratory tests include screening for drugs and alcohol or checking thyroid functioning.
Psychiatrist or psychologist talks to you about your symptoms. He observes your behavior, analyzes your thoughts and emotions, and how to react to certain situations. He may ask you some questions and provide you with a questionnaire to help answer those questions.
Apart from seeking professional help, an emotional support animal (ESA) can also help a person experiencing any mental disorder. ESA can provide care and companionship to people having any mental or psychological problem. If you are looking for a valid emotional support animal letter, you can contact RealESALetter.com. You will get your ESA letter without any hassle.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the five most common mental disorders?
The five most common mental disorder are:
- Anxiety disorder
- Mood disorder
- Psychotic disorder
- Eating disorder
What is the hardest mental disorder to live with?
As defined by the National Institute of Health (NIH), Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is considered the most common mental disorder to live with. It is a severe mental illness categorized by ongoing instability in mood, self-image, behavior, and functioning.
What is the weirdest mental disorder?
Here are the five weirdest mental disorders that you might have never heard of:
- Stendhal syndrome
- Alien hand syndrome
- Capgras syndrome
- Alice in Wonderland syndrome
What is a psychotic break?
A psychotic break means losing contact with reality, such as smelling, tasting, seeing, hearing, and feeling something that has no external correlation. It is also characterized by hallucination, delusion, and feeling emotions wildly inconsistent with external reality.
What is the easiest illness to treat?
All types of phobias are the easiest psychological disorder to treat. Specific phobia includes intense, irrational fear and avoidance of certain situations and objects such as stage performance, heights, etc.
What is stage 4 mental illness?
By stage 4, mental illness reaches its severe condition due to persistent, prolonged, and extreme symptoms. At this stage, an individual’s daily life will be disturbed to an extreme level that turns into homelessness, hospitalization, unemployment, or even incarceration.
What should you not say to a mentally ill person?
Here are the five things that you should never say to a person experiencing a mental disorder:
- Come on; it’s all in your head.
- But you always seem so happy; you have a great life.
- It does not look like you have an OCD/anxiety or any other mental illness.
- Snap out of it.
- Have you tried chamomile tea?
What is worse bipolar or schizophrenia?
Schizophrenia is worse than bipolar as it causes more severe symptoms than bipolar. Symptoms of schizophrenia include delusion, hallucination which make people's lives worse and disturb daily functioning.