The Different Types of Mental Health Illnesses



The ability to manage and tolerate discomfort is a telltale sign of maturity and mental health. — Noam Shpancer Ph.D.

There are various conditions that are considered by experts as mental health diseases, some of which are not supposed to match the criteria recognized as mental illnesses because they affect the brain.

Below is a list of the most common types of mental disorders.

  • Anxiety Disorder. An individual is diagnosed with this disorder if his response to a certain situation is inappropriate, if he is unable to control his response, or if his anxiety hinders normal functioning. People with anxiety disorder typically respond with fear, panic, or too much worry. They also present with rapid heart rates and profuse sweating. Conditions that are classified under anxiety disorder include panic disorder, certain phobias, social anxiety disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder.
  • Psychotic Disorder. This encompasses distorted thinking and awareness. Hallucinations – hearing sounds and seeing images that are not real – are the hallmark and the most common symptom seen in patients with psychotic disorders. Other individuals may also have delusions, which are false beliefs about something or someone despite evidence of the opposite. An example of a psychotic disorder is Schizophrenia.
  • Mood Disorders. Also known as affective disorders, are characterized by extreme feelings of worry or being overly happy, or fluctuation of feelings from intense sadness to intense happiness. Prevalent types of mood disorders include bipolar disorder, cyclothymic disorder, and depression.
  • Eating Disorders. The most common eating disorders are bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa, and binge eating. When a person has an eating disorder, he is usually very emotional and has erratic behaviors and attitudes.

Diets, like the classic Mediterranean diet that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, colorful fruits and vegetables (high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties), nuts (rich in monounsaturated (almonds) and polyunsaturated (walnuts) fatty acids), beans, olive oil, whole grains and fish and low in dairy products, meat, and alcohol intake) increase the brain’s BDNF level that improves cognitive function, mood, lowers brain inflammation and promotes cellular growth. — Deborah Khoshaba Psy.D.


  • Personality Disorders. A personality disorder is characterized by a deviation or nonconformity of a person’s way of thinking, behaving, and feeling from what is typically accepted in our society and culture. Individuals who have one of the personality disorders exhibit inflexible and intense personality traits that are distressing and cause work, school, or relationship problems. The most common conditions under this category include paranoid personality disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and antisocial personality disorder.
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. Those with OCD have constant fears and thoughts that force them to practice routines that are supposed to ease their worries. The fears or thoughts are called obsessions, and the routines are known as compulsions. An example is the constant washing of the hands because of fear of germs or getting sick.
  • Impulse Control And Addiction Disorder. Individuals on this category are not able to resist their cravings or ‘itches,’ and they do things that may be dangerous to themselves or others. Kleptomania is one very common type of impulse disorder, as seen in some famous actors who are caught shoplifting. Pyromania, or the impulse of wanting to start fires, is also another harmful act that the individual might do.
  • Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. PTSD is a mental health illness that is usually seen in individuals who have experienced traumatic events, such as going into war, physical or sexual abuse, the sudden death of a loved one, and severe natural calamities. These individuals have trouble sleeping at night as terrifying thoughts of the event constantly haunt them.

There are also other kinds of mental diseases that are not commonly seen but need attention and vigilance.

  • Dissociative Disorder. People who are diagnosed to suffer from the disorder display an extreme disturbance in his identity, memories, and general awareness of things around him. They have a history of being overstressed, which may have been due to certain accidents, disasters, and other traumatic events that they may have experienced or seen. These are the groups of disorders that split personalities, or multiple personality disorders belong.
  • Adjustment Disorders. Also called stress response syndromes, adjustment disorders are a result of stressful circumstances that cause an individual to develop certain behavioral or emotional symptoms. The patient may have experienced a natural disaster like an earthquake; a life-changing crisis such as finding out about a non-curable disease like cancer; or a severe heartache from cheating or divorce. Upon interview of the patient, he has been experiencing the syndromes within three months of the stressful situation, and stopped within six months or just when the cause of the stress has been eliminated.


  • Factitious Disorders. This is a group of disorders that are seen in a person who intentionally makes his problems or complains that he feels emotional or physical symptoms. This is because the person wants to be a patient or someone in need of help.
  • Somatic Symptom Disorder. A person with this disorder feels pain or discomfort after experiencing an intensely stressful situation even without an exact diagnosis from a health professional. It is also called somatoform or psychosomatic disorder.
  • Tic Disorders. Tic disorders are characterized by unintentional body movements that are abrupt, sudden, uncontrollable, and repetitive. Some people also display vocal tics or involuntary sounds. Tourette’s Syndrome is a popular example.

Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, and some sleep-related disorders are sometimes categorized as mental health illnesses since they involve the brain.

…despite the fact that one in four families has a member with mental illness and the repeated call for further investment in research and treatment by the WHO, mental illness continues to be a neglected orphan in the field of medical research and development. — Amir A. Afkhami MD, Ph.D.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *