Mental health conditions

Just like any other disease or illness, mental illness can affect any person at any time. Many people, thanks to advances in medications and therapy, manage their mental illness quite well and are able to live happy, productive lives. The proliferation of social media has prompted many celebrities to discuss their mental illness publicly, having the effect of finally helping to reduce the stigma of the disease. However, even with the advancement in treatment and the lessening of stigma, there are still many individuals in need to help with mental health disorders.

There are many types of mental illness though the most common types of mental health disorders will fall under one of the following categories:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Behavioral disorders
  • Mood disorders
  • Personality disorders
  • Psychotic disorders

In learning to understand these disorders and what they look like, individuals dealing with mental illnesses have a better chance at being able to seek help when it is needed rather than staying silent about it.

What to look for

As can be expected each disorder or type of disorder can be identified through a number of signs or symptoms. These will vary though according to what the disorder is and its severity in most cases. There are common signs and symptoms to watch for though when trying to identify different types of mental health disorders.

  • Anxiety disorders: Anxiety disorders vary from mild to severe and can range from Generalized Anxiety disorder to Post-traumatic stress disorder. Most anxiety disorders will include some of the same symptoms. These symptoms can include unremitting worry, restlessness, trouble concentrating, an inability to make decisions and more. The physical signs of anxiety disorder include fatigue, irritability, muscle tension or aches, trembling, a high startle reflex, difficulty sleeping, sweating, nausea, diarrhea and headaches
  • Behavioral disorders: Negative or unhealthy thoughts or emotions result in behavioral disorders which can range from Oppositional defiant disorder to OCD to dissociative disorders. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is an example of a behavioral disorder and is characterized by difficulty remaining focused and paying attention and inability to control impulsive behavior. Many behavioral disorders are distinguished by other symptoms such as an inability to maintain good relationships, learning difficulties, inappropriate behavior and more
  • Mood disorders: Mood disorders are characterized by emotional responses inconsistent with the circumstances. There are several different mood disorders including major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and more. Most most disorders are characterized by a depressed mood, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, an inability to enjoy things that were previously sources of pleasure and, in extreme cases, suicidal thoughts and behaviors
  • Personality disorders: These are characterized by a fixed and unhealthy thinking pattern, functioning and behaving and can include Borderline personality disorder, dependent personality disorder and others. Those with a personality disorder experience difficulty observing and relating to people and various situations, causing difficulties and limitations in relationships, social life, school and work. The person affected by personality disorder may not be aware that anything is wrong as their condition seems normal to them, they tend to blame other circumstances or other people for their behavior. These disorders commonly begin in the teen years or early adulthood and may be less apparent as a person ages
  • Psychotic disorders: Schizophrenia is a psychotic disorder in which a person’s perception of reality is abnormally altered. There can be a combination of delusions, hallucinations and extremely tumultuous thoughts, emotions and behavior. Schizophrenia is a disruption of the balance of those thoughts, emotions and behavior. It is a chronic condition, requiring lifelong treatment. Symptoms typically appear in the early to mid 20s for men and closer to the late 20s in women. It is not common in children and rarely appears after the age of 45 years. Other symptoms include jumbled thinking, confused or senseless speech, lack of emotion, eye contact avoidance and unchanging facial expression. There may also be social withdrawal and no ability to experience pleasure

Suicidal behavior

In some cases, a person who is struggling with a mental health disorder may consider suicide. Suicide is not only a tragedy for the person who takes their own life; the consequences ricochet and deeply affect the family members and friends of the deceased person. Suicide can be prevented if others are aware that the possibility exists. Anyone feeling another may be contemplating suicide should reach out and attempt to get that person to see a medical professional. Suicide warning signs include:

  • Speaking of death or suicide
  • Possession of a gun or hoarding of pills
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Spending much time alone
  • Obsession with death, dying or violence
  • Feeling trapped or helpless
  • Increased use of alcohol or drugs
  • Alteration in eating and sleeping habits
  • Risky behavior such as driving dangerously
  • Disposing of belongings or putting affairs in order

Warning signs of suicide may not be obvious, some are quite open about it while others keep suicidal thoughts and feelings secret.

If you would like further information regarding mental health conditions or how to get help and treatment for a mental health issue, please call 866-846-5588 to speak with a member of our team.