Types of Mental Illness
Anxiety disorders affect over 284 million people in the world. 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 more.
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)
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 well-being, nearly every day, and often for much of the day.
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:
• Alzheimer’s disease
• Health conditions (e.g., head trauma, HIV, Parkinson’s); and
• Substance-induced dementia (e.g. drugs/alcohol abuse, inhalants, or exposure to toxins).
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.