The 6 Most Common Types of Mental Illness

Mental illness, or mental disorder as it’s sometimes called, affects the behaviors and the psychological patterns of an individual. While there’s still variation within the medical community regarding the definition, assessment and classification of mental illness, most doctors would agree that the disorders can be classified into two categories: common and uncommon. Here’s a look of six of the most common types and categories of mental disorders.

Eating Disorders

These are considered mental disorders because they involve extreme emotions, attitudes and behaviors towards food and weight gain. Bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa are the most common eating disorder in Western societies.

Personality Disorders

Characteristics of personality disorders include non-standard personality traits that usually cause problems in the patient’s daily work, school and social life. These traits are distressing to the patient and to those around him or her. People with personality disorders have significantly different thinking and behavior patterns from society around them. These thinking and behavior patterns interfere with normal functioning. Examples of this type of mental disorder are obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, paranoid personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder.

Anxiety Disorders

Those with anxiety disorders experience uncontrollable extreme feelings of nervousness or anxiety that interferes with their daily life. The illness differs from average anxiety in that those affected have responses that aren’t appropriate for the situation and the responses are much more intense and frequent. Besides the mental fear and dread of a situation, those with anxiety disorders experience physical symptoms like sweating and a rapid heartbeat. Phobias are anxiety disorders. Other examples are post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (which is also a personality disorder), generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder.

Addiction and Impulse Control Disorders

Individuals with these types of mental illnesses can’t resist the impulse to do acts that could be harmful to themselves or others, or are addicted to doing something that could be harmful to themselves or others. Compulsive gambling, pyromania (starting fires) and kleptomania (stealing) are examples of impulse control disorders. Those with addiction disorders become so involved in their object of addiction, like drugs or alcohol, that their relationships suffer and they ignore any responsibilities.

Psychotic Disorders

Patients with this type of mental illness have a highly distorted awareness and way of thinking. They tend to have delusions where they believe something is true despite being repeatedly shown otherwise. Another common symptom is hallucinations where a person hears sounds or voices that aren’t real or sees images that aren’t real. Schizophrenia is the most well-known type of psychotic disorder.

Mood Disorders

Mood disorders are directly related to the way an individual feels. They’re sometimes also called affective disorders. A person with this type of disorder experiences persistent emotional extremes that include extreme sadness, to excessive happiness or a fluctuation between the two. Depression and bipolar disorder are examples of mood disorders.

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