Mental illness refers to a wide range of mental health conditions — these are disorders that affect your mood, thinking, and behavior.
Some classical, mainstream examples of mental illness diagnoses include Depression, Anxiety, Schizophrenia, Eating Disorders, and Parkinson’s disease.
These conditions have to interfere with daily functioning and the ability to live normally to be considered an illness.
Mental illnesses are complex and can manifest in different ways, ranging from mild to severe. They can be influenced by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, and psychological factors. It’s important to note that mental illnesses are not personal weaknesses or character flaws but are legitimate conditions that may require understanding, support, and appropriate treatment.
There are various types of mental illness. Let’s go through the psychiatric mental illness diagnoses and their symptoms characteristics below.
People with symptoms of anxiety disorders respond to certain situations with fear and dread, as well as with physical signs of anxiety or panic, such as a rapid heartbeat, restlessness, and sweating.
Anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and specific phobias.
These disorders involve persistent feelings of sadness or periods of feeling overly happy, or back and forth from being extremely happy to extremely sad. The most common mood disorders are depression and bipolar disorder.
Two of the most common symptoms of psychotic disorders are hallucinations and delusions.
Hallucinations are the experience of images or sounds that are not real, such as hearing voices.
Delusions are false fixed beliefs that the person accepts to be true, despite evidence to the contrary.
Schizophrenia and Schizoaffective are examples of types of mental illnesses called psychotic disorders.
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder:
or persistent patterns of hyperactivity-impulsivity and/or inattention that interferes with functioning and presents itself in two or more settings such as at home, work, school, and even social situations.
The DSM-5 specifies that several of the symptoms must have been present prior to the age of 12 and that these symptoms must have a negative impact on social, occupational, or academic functioning.
Autism spectrum disorder:
is characterized by persistent deficits in social interaction and communication in many areas of life.
Also includes restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviors.
The DSM specifies that symptoms of autism spectrum disorder must be present during the early developmental period and that these symptoms must cause significant impairment in important areas of life including social and occupational functioning.
Eating disorders involve extreme emotions, attitudes, and behaviors involving weight and food. Anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorders are the most common eating disorders.
Alcohol and drug abuse are common in addiction disorders. Often, people with these disorders become so involved with the objects of their addiction that they begin to ignore responsibilities and relationships.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD):
People with OCD suffer from constant thoughts or fears that cause them to perform certain rituals or routines.
The Disturbing thoughts are called obsessions. The rituals performed are called compulsions.
An example is a person with an unreasonable fear of germs who constantly washes his or her hands.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD):
PTSD is a condition that can develop following a traumatic and/or terrifying event, such as a sexual or physical assault, the unexpected death of a loved one, or a natural disaster.
People with PTSD often have lasting and frightening thoughts and memories of the event and tend to be emotionally numb.
This is a brain disorder that leads to shaking, stiffness, and difficulty walking, difficulty with balance, and with coordination.
Other illnesses or conditions include various sleep-related problems, such as sleep apnea, and Alzheimer’s disease can be classified as mental illness.
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- American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: American Psychiatric Publishing.
- World Health Organization. (2019). ICD-11 for Mortality and Morbidity Statistics. Retrieved from https://icd.who.int/browse11/l-m/en
Let’s move forward to signs and symptoms of mental health disorders below: