Types of Mental Health Disorders

5 Types of Mental Health Disorders

There was a time when mental health was not openly discussed.

Now that our society has evolved into one which seeks to identify and assist those who suffer from mental health disorders, it is common to hear the psychological terms for such conditions discussed in newscasts, blogs, and social media feeds.

In this article, we’re taking a closer look at five of the most common types of mental health disorders and the importance of seeking help from a mental health treatment professional.

Types of Mental Health Disorders

While there are many specific descriptors for the types of disorders that can impede our quality of life, there are five major categories that they tend to fall under.

Here are five common types of mental health disorders.

1. Mood Disorders

Mood disorders are characterized by the presence of negative feelings that are not able to be successfully navigated.

A person with a mood disorder won’t be able to find rational reasons for feeling sad but will continue to feel down, nonetheless. The following are some of the more common mood disorders that are diagnosed.

There are also additional mood disorder diagnoses that capture the less extreme experiences.

Discover how depression treatment can help.

Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)

Around 10 percent of adults in the United States are diagnosed with this disorder, each year.

MDD is identified when a person experiences pervasive feelings of sadness, lack of motivation, and feelings of hopelessness for a period of two weeks or more. MDD can be diagnosed as a single episode or recurrent experience and can range from mild to severe symptoms.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder was once known as manic-depressive disorder.

Both terms refer to the tendency of a person to fluctuate between feelings of depression and those of feeling good. While in a state of low mood, a person with this disorder will experience the symptoms associated with MDD. Unlike with a diagnosis of MDD, however, depression will be followed by periods of high energy.

Depending on the severity of the disorder, these periods of high energy can result in a person engaging in the extreme, or even risky, behaviors.

Seasonal Effective Disorder (SAD)

Seasonal Effective Disorder has a lot in common with MDD. What sets this disorder apart is that it tends to only manifest during certain times of the year.

The most common experience of SAD occurs during the winter months, but there are also instances of it arising during other seasons. The experience of SAD may be related to biological changes that occur when exposed to varying levels of sun and temperature or may be due to specific experiences that have previously taken place during the season in question.

2. Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders are characterized by feelings of worry, fear, insecurity, or dread. Anxiety is a future-based disorder, meaning that the uncomfortable thoughts and feelings will be centered on events that might happen or situations that might unfold.

A person who suffers from anxiety will have a hard time convincing the brain and body that there is no imminent danger lurking around the corner.

Discover how anxiety treatment can help.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Generalized Anxiety Disorder is precisely what it sounds like. With this disorder, there will be feelings of anxiety that permeate and span across multiple areas. Unlike with more specific areas of anxiety – such as with social anxiety disorder – those suffering from GAD will be worried or concerned about life outcomes, in general.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is a disorder that has often been characterized in television and movies. It involves feelings of anxiety that prompt someone to engage in ritualistic and repetitive behaviors. Failure to indulge the urge to engage in these behaviors increases the feelings of anxiety to intolerable levels.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was first recognized in military veterans who had experienced the devastation of war. Being exposed to near-death experiences can result in developing a state of constant flight-or-fight awareness, meaning that the anxiety levels are always running high.

For a person suffering from PTSD, specific events can trigger severe flashbacks and panic responses.

Discover how trauma treatment and trauma-informed yoga can help.

3. Personality Disorders

Unlike mood or anxiety disorders, personality disorders are those which are considered to be stable over time. While it can be considered that a person with MDD or GAD can recover – and the diagnosis can be discontinued – those who are diagnosed with a personality disorder can expect to be confronted with challenges associated with the disorder throughout their lifetime.

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

BPD is characterized by a poor sense of self-identity. People with BPD are likely to experience difficulties in forming and maintaining healthy relationships and may be prone to trying on several lifestyles in an attempt to find themselves. A sense of perpetual emptiness and lack of social skills is also common with this disorder.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)

It is interesting to note that those with NPD will rarely seek out help for mental health problems. People with this form of personality disorder tend to believe that the only problems in life have to do with other people. For people with NPD, relationships with other human beings are simply a means to improve their own standing.

Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD)

Of a similar vein to NPD is those who are diagnosable as having ASPD. A person with ASPD does not find value in conforming to social norms or expectations. As such, this diagnosis is most often prescribed to those who have found themselves incarcerated for crimes against others.

4. Psychotic Disorders

Psychotic disorders are those which involve a disconnect from reality.

Symptoms of psychosis include experiencing auditory and visual hallucinations, unfounded paranoia, and delusions about how the world works. The most commonly encountered psychotic disorder is that of schizophrenia.

Other psychotic disorders include schizoaffective and delusional disorder.

5. Substance Abuse Disorders (SUD)

Substance abuse disorder is increasingly discussed in our current times.

The numbers of those who have experienced a struggle with substance abuse disorders are increasing each year. While the specific type and severity of the substance being used will be included in the official diagnosis, all substance abuse disorders diagnoses have in common the factors of the substance use causing problems in the life of the user, and in the lives of those around.

Substance abuse disorders can be accompanied by any of the aforementioned mental health disorders, as well.

Discover how alcohol addiction treatment or drug addiction treatment can help.


These are just a few of the most common types of mental health disorders. If you or someone you love lives with one of these mental health disorders, consider reaching out to a professional for help.

The sooner you reach out, the sooner you can begin working toward improvement.