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Mental illness is a condition that affects a persons thinking, feeling, and behavior.

mainstream medical community recognizes more than 200 classified types of mental illness.
These conditions can alter your ability to relate to other people, work, and attend school, and
can prevent you from living a normal life. Different types of mental illness offer different
experiences, and symptoms may vary from person-to-person, even when they share the same
There are five major categories of mental illnesses:

Anxiety disorders

Mood disorders

Schizophrenia and psychotic disorders


Eating disorders

Its important to remember that each condition can vary greatly from person to person.

Stigma and mental illness

When youre concerned about your mental health or that or that of a loved on, you should
talk to a qualified health care provider. Many people with mental illness may feel stigmatized
for their condition, but treatment for these disorders has come a long way. Mental illness
requires the same need for treatment as many physical ailments.

Types of Mental Illness

Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety disorders affect approximately 40 million American adults age 18 years and older
each year.
Anxiety disorders are a form of mental illness that causes people to experience distressing
and frequent bouts of fear and apprehension. Many will experience these feelings when
periodically doing things like public speaking or a job interview. Those with anxiety
disorders experience these feelings frequently, and for an extended period six months or
If not treated, these symptoms can worsen and increase, including:

Panic attacks

Physical symptoms such as pain, nausea and headaches


Obsessive thoughts

Fear of leaving the house

Common diagnosis of mental illness, under the category of anxiety disorders, includes:

Panic disorder

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Social phobia (social anxiety disorder)

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)

Mood Disorders
Every one of us has experienced feelings of sadness, irritability, or a general case of the
blahs at one time or another.
While bad moods are common, and usually pass in a short period, people suffering with
mood disorders live with more sustained and severe symptoms and disruption. People living
with this mental illness find that their mood impacts both mental and psychological wellbeing, nearly every day, and often for much of the day.
It is estimated that one in 10 adults suffer from some type of mood disorder, with the most
common conditions being depression and bipolar disorder. With proper diagnosis and
treatment, most of those living with mood disorders lead healthy, normal and productive
lives. If left untreated, this illness can affect role functioning, quality of life and many chronic
physical health disorders such as diabetes and heart disease.

Schizophrenia and Psychotic Disorders

Schizophrenia is a serious brain disorder that is marked by significant changes and disruption
in both cognitive and emotional function. Schizophrenia has an effect on the most basic
human aspects of life (e.g. language/communication, train of thought, perception of objects,
self and others).
The most common symptoms of schizophrenia include:

Hearing voices



Social withdrawal

Incoherent speech

Abnormal reasoning

Dementia is distinguished by a disruption of consciousness, as well as changes in cognitive
health, such as memory loss and motor skills.
The most common forms of dementia include:

Alzheimers disease

Health conditions (e.g., head trauma, HIV, Parkinsons); and

Substance-induced dementia (e.g. drugs/alcohol abuse, inhalants, or exposure to


Eating Disorders
Eating disorders are serious, chronic conditions that can be life-threatening, if left untreated.
These conditions typically take root during the adolescent years and primarily affect females.
While there are variations in the expression, symptoms, and course of eating disorders, the
common thread is that they all involve obsessive and sometimes distressing thoughts and
behaviors, including:

Reduction of food intake


Feelings of depression or distress

Concern of weight, body shape, poor self-image

At the onset, these disorders begin with the person eating smaller or larger portions than
usual. However, over time, urges to decrease or increase the amount of food eaten take hold,
and the illness escalates. The three most common types of eating disorders are:

Anorexia Nervosa self-starvation

Bulimia Nervosa binge eating followed by purging, fasting or excessive exercise

Binge Eating Disorder episodes of uncontrolled eating, without the abuse of

laxatives or vomiting, associated bulimia

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