What are the types of mental health problems?


Mental health disorders are patterns of symptoms – psychological, behavioral or both – that cause distress and can have negative effects on your personal, social or professional life.

Mental health disorders are characterized by problems with mood, thoughts and behavior. They may also be referred to as psychological disorders, mental illnesses, and mental health problems.

According to National Institute of Mental Healthmental illness affects approximately 1 in 5 adults (52.9 million) in the United States.

Depressive disorders and anxiety disorders are among the most common mental health disorders. Rates are higher among women, young adults, and adults who identify with more than two races.

In the United States, mental health professionals diagnose mental health problems using a manual of symptoms called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition (DSM-5), which also offers a list of diagnostic codes. Please keep in mind that only an experienced mental health professional can make a diagnosis.

Most mental health problems can be treated, often with talk therapy (psychotherapy), medication, or both.

Although this is not a complete list of all mental health diagnoses, you can learn more about different mental health disorders, their symptoms and treatments by browsing the list below.

Anxiety disorders are defined by disproportionately high levels of fear, anxiety, and avoidance in response to certain objects or situations. Panic attacks are common in anxiety disorders, but they can also occur in other disorders.

Mood disorders are mental health issues that affect your mood. Depressive disorders involve sad, empty or irritable moods as well as physical and thinking (cognitive) changes that affect your ability to function. Bipolar disorder involves extreme mood swings, such as between highs of mania and lows of depression.

Alcohol and substance abuse disorders involve changes in brain chemistry that create addiction to the substance you are using. People with these conditions may experience addiction, withdrawal symptoms, and impairments in their personal or professional lives that are related to substance use.

Schizophrenia Spectrum Disorders are defined by challenges in one or more of these five domains: delusions, hallucinations, disorganized thinking or speaking, abnormal movements such as catatonia, and negative symptoms, such as lack of motivation, lack of pleasure or emotional expression.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and OCD spectrum disorders involve elements of thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions). The disorders in this group share some characteristics, but are different in many ways.

Some experts believe that the conditions should be considered independent disorders rather than OCD spectrum disorders.

Eating and eating disorders are defined by disrupted eating habits that involve a change in the amount of food you eat or the amount of food your body takes in. For a diagnosis to be made, these eating habits will have significant effects on your body or your personal, social, work, or school life.

Trauma- or stressor-related disorders are disorders where having experienced trauma or extreme stress is an essential part of the diagnosis. Stress-related disorders have strong links with anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, and dissociative disorders.

Dissociative disorders involve a disruption of typical states of consciousness, altering your awareness, memory, identity, emotions, and perceptions of yourself and your surroundings. Often they develop due to a stressful or traumatic situation.

Neurodevelopmental disorders start early in a child’s development, often before the child starts elementary school. These disorders are defined by developmental issues that affect your personal, social, academic or work life.

Personality disorders are a group of 10 disorders that involve a persistent pattern of thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that are very different from cultural expectations and can cause significant stress and disruption in your life.

Sexual dysfunctions are defined as significant problems with your ability to experience sexual arousal or sexual pleasure. Some people have several of these disorders at the same time.

Sleep disturbances affect the quality and quantity of sleep you get. Symptoms usually involve daytime distress and may interfere with your ability to function on a day-to-day basis.

Neurocognitive disorders involve a decrease in your cognitive (thinking) abilities. By definition, neurocognitive disorders are not present at birth or at an early stage of development, but rather represent a loss of previously acquired functions or skills.

Childhood mental health disorders, often referred to as developmental or learning disabilities, most commonly occur and are diagnosed when the child is of school age. Adults can also be linked to some of the symptoms of these disorders, but usually their symptoms must have first appeared at some point in childhood.

Other mental health disorders, conditions and symptoms include:


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