The National Institute of Mental Health reports one in five Americans have been diagnosed with mental illness. Meaning they have negative symptoms that affect how they think, feel, and behave. A person must meet specific criteria found in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders to receive a diagnosis.
In this article, we’re taking a look at several common types of mental illness.
Types of Mental Illness
Mental illness has two categories: any mental illness (AMI) and serious mental illness (SMI). AMI can be mild, moderate, or severe, while SMI limits a person’s ability to function. In the most recent study, 51.5 million people reported having AMI, and 13.1 have SMI.
Both categories consist of various types of mental illness. Eleven types are detailed below.
1. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
Worrying much more than you should, having trouble controlling your worry, and having a constant feeling of nervousness are signs of generalized anxiety disorder. You may find it hard to concentrate or stay on a task due to worrying thoughts about your job, family, health, money, and other aspects of your life. GAD can interfere with sleep, leaving you feeling tired all the time.
It is difficult to relax, and you may experience physical symptoms like headaches, digestive problems, sweating, muscle aches, and twitches. There are various treatments to help you successfully overcome anxiety.
Learn more about anxiety treatment
Feeling sad or blue occasionally is natural. When symptoms last longer than two weeks and start to interfere with your ability to work and take care of personal responsibilities, you could have depression. Signs include changes in appetite, sleeping more or wanting to stay in bed, loss of energy, and no longer being interested in activities you once enjoyed.
You may also have trouble concentrating, feel worthless, or have thoughts of death. While you may feel hopeless, don’t give up. Help is available in the form of medication and psychotherapy. For those with treatment-resistant depression, you may try ketamine-assisted therapy.
Learn more about depression treatment
3. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
If you experience a trauma, like sexual or physical abuse, war combat, natural disasters, or even the loss of a loved one, you may notice symptoms that make it hard to function. Memories of the traumatic event won’t go away. Nightmares or flashbacks about the event, anxiety, and being easily startled are common signs of PTSD.
You may also have negative mood changes and avoid people or places that remind you of the trauma. Today, there are numerous post-trauma treatments to help you overcome symptoms and move forward.
4. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Obsessive refers to unwanted thoughts that lead to compulsive, repetitive behaviors. OCD can cause significant distress and interfere with work, home, school, and social activities. Obsessions are fear-based, like fear of contamination or losing control. You may even have thoughts of harm or a need for organization.
Compulsions may include washing, cleaning, checking, tapping, counting, and repeating phrases or prayers. There are both medications and therapies to help you gain freedom from your symptoms.
5. Eating Disorders
The most common eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. Anorexia symptoms include food and calorie restrictions, intense fear of gaining weight, low body weight, and distorted body image. Bulimia involves binging on foods, usually unhealthy, and purging the foods to avoid calorie intake.
Binge-eating disorder involves binging without purging, but extreme guilt and shame almost always follow. All types of eating disorders are dangerous and can lead to serious health problems. There are numerous therapies to help you overcome an eating disorder at any stage.
6. Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID)
Once called multiple personality disorder, symptoms include having two or more separate personalities. Each personality controls the behaviors of the person at different times. You can tell which personality is active due to their specific mannerisms and traits.
Accompanying symptoms include depression, anxiety, memory loss, delusions, and possible addiction. DID is often caused by a previous trauma, so working with a licensed therapist in trauma-based treatments can help you manage and possibly merge the personalities.
7. Bipolar Disorder
Extreme changes in mood from low to high or depressed to manic occur in those with bipolar disorder. Signs of mania include not sleeping, talking fast, acting impulsively and risky, and having overconfidence in yourself. Symptoms of depression include isolating yourself, sleeping more than usual, being unable to get out of bed, lacking appetite, and feeling hopeless.
Multiple treatments successfully treat the different types of bipolar, including medication, behavioral therapies, and electroconvulsive therapy.
8. Social Anxiety Disorder
Feeling nervous in social settings is not uncommon. For some, the fear is so bad it prevents them from attending social events. Fears are of being judged, messing up and feeling embarrassed, expecting the worst to happen, and fear of talking to strangers are a few common symptoms of social anxiety disorder.
You may avoid starting conversations, dating, making eye contact, eating or performing in front of others, shopping, school or work events, and other social gatherings. Social anxiety disorder is very treatable with therapy and medication.
9. Borderline Personality Disorder
Signs of a borderline personality disorder include unstable emotions, impaired relationships, impulsive and risky behaviors, and changes in their feelings about themselves. Some days they feel good about themselves. Other days they feel unworthy. Some days they seem perfectly fine, and other days they may seem paranoid.
Treatment for borderline personality disorder can include medication and therapy with a licensed mental health professional.
In conclusion, these are just nine of hundreds of mental illnesses. It’s important to remember that every mental illness is treatable. With help, you can control your symptoms and continue to live a happy, high-functioning life.
The most crucial step in coping with a mental illness is to get an accurate diagnosis. Work with a psychiatrist or licensed therapist who can thoroughly assess your symptoms, family history, as well as environmental, biological, medical, and social aspects of your life.
Once you have the correct diagnosis, you can create a treatment plan that includes individual, group, and family therapy on an outpatient or intensive outpatient basis. Having a mental illness does not have to interfere with your life.