Mental Illness Types, Symptoms, and Diagnosis

Mental health conditions can be a variety of things. They might affect how you think, feel or behave in some way – it all depends on what mental function is being impacted by the problem at hand! Mental illnesses cause distress and disability when wanting to carry out everyday tasks such as work or relationships with friends or family members but also tend towards an impactful quality about one’s life if left untreated which we should never allow happen because there’s always help available for those who need them.

What Is Mental Illness?

The American Psychiatric Association defines mental health condition as “a change in emotion or behavior -or both.” The most common types of disorders include depression which affects moods; anxiety diseases involve feelings such as panic attacks with increased heart rate among other things while temperamentally-based conditions may lead people into self harm behaviors due their unstable mind sets that they cannot control even when trying really hard.


Mental illnesses are incredibly common in the United States. Each year:

  • 1 in 5 U.S. adults experience mental illness
  • 1 in 25 U.S. adults live with serious mental illness
  • 1 in 6 U.S. youth aged 6 to 17 years experience a mental health illness

Serious mental illness (SMI) is a term used by health professionals to describe the most severe conditions. These illnesses significantly interfere with or limit one major life activity, such as work performance and social functionings among others things that can happen because of bipolar disorder and schizophrenia respectively . 

Two common SMIs are diagnosed when their symptoms cause significant difficulties in daily living for an individual who also meets criteria set out before them fromytonica outpatient program at our clinic.


The DSM-5 is a diagnostic manual for mental illnesses. It’s full of categories and subcategories, all with their own criteria to diagnose an individual case – or in some cases multiple people who have similar symptoms!

Anxiety Disorders

People with social anxiety disorder experience extreme feelings of panic and dread, often accompanied by physical symptoms. For example they might feel dizzy or lightheaded when meeting new people; their heart rate speeds up due to increased blood pressure in the veins (pandemic).

Three major anxiety disorders are:

Bipolar and Related Disorders

Individuals with a bipolar disorder experience periods where they have severe mood swings, including fits of mania and depression.

There are three broad types of bipolar disorder:

  • Bipolar I
  • Bipolar II
  • Cyclothymia

Depressive Disorders

Some people experience sadness, irritability and anger with periods. These symptoms can significantly affect a person’s capacity to function in everyday life – this is known as major depressive disorder (MDD). Additionally there are other types of depression which have their own unique features but share some commonalities such as significant mood changes along with physical pain or cognitive impairment due to the slowness of thought process of those suffering from any forms.

Disruptive, Impulse-Control, and Conduct Disorders

These are conditions in which problems with self-control of emotions and behaviors arise.

Disorders in this group include:

  • Intermittent explosive disorder
  • Kleptomania
  • Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD)
  • Pyromania

Dissociative Disorders

These psychiatric syndromes are characterized by an inability to connect emotions, memories or perceptions with behavior. This can lead people feeling like they don’t know themselves and their own identities.

Elimination Disorders

These children have a dozens of various elimination disorders that cause them to void urine or feces at inappropriate times and in places.

Feeding and Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are characterized by a persistent disturbance of eating patterns that leads to poor physical and psychological health.

Three major eating disorders include:

  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Binge-eating disorder
  • Bulimia nervosa

Gender Dysphoria

The intense feeling of discomfort or distress caused by a person’s conflicting gender identity is known as Gender Dysphoria.

Neurocognitive Disorders

The disorders in this category are characterized by a decrease in people’s previous level of cognitive function. Alzheimer’s disease is one such condition, but other examples include:

  • Huntington’s disease
  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Neurocognitive issues due to HIV infection

Neurodevelopmental Disorders

The spectrum of disorders that manifest early in development is vast and complex. These conditions can be characterized by impairments across personal, social or academic areas to occupational functioning.

Examples of neurodevelopmental disorders include:

  • Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Autism
  • Learning and intellectual disabilities

Obsessive-Compulsive and Related Disorders

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a mental illness that causes sufferers to constantly worry about certain things or perform repetitive actions.

Examples obsessive-compulsive and related disorders include:

Paraphilic Disorders

The repeated sexual fantasies, urges or behaviors involving atypical interests can cause intense distress.

Personality Disorders

There are 10 recognized personality disorders. These enduring patterns of experience and behavior cause distress or impairment in the sufferer, but may be beneficial for some people who struggle with mood swings like bipolar disorder (Manic-Depressive Illness).

Schizophrenia Spectrum and Other Psychotic Disorders

These disorders are defined by abnormalities in one or more of the following areas:

  • Delusions
  • Disorganized thinking
  • Disorganized or abnormal motor behavior
  • Hallucinations
  • Negative symptoms

Sexual Dysfunctions

Heterogeneous group of disorders characterized by a person’s inability to fully engage in or experience sexual pleasure.

Some of the most common sexual dysfunctions include:

  • Delayed ejaculation
  • Erectile disorder
  • Female orgasmic disorder
  • Female sexual interest/arousal disorder

Sleep-Wake Disorders

There are many types of sleep disorders, and all involve problems falling asleep or staying awake at desired times. 

These misalignments can be anywhere from just being out-of Sync with your surroundings (initiated by going against what’s normal) to having more serious issues such as insomnia where you struggle day in/day out due too lackness their physiological needs for restful slumbering hours upon hour each night before waking up undisplaced without warning throughout any given 24+hour period.

Somatic Symptom and Related Disorders

People with these disorders have an intense preoccupation about physical symptoms, such as pain and shortness of breath. Their worry is so debilitating that it disrupts their daily life.

Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders

Substance-related disorders are a severe form of addiction that affect both the mind and body. They’re characterized by withdrawal symptoms, tolerance to medications or substances being used in an attempt for more frequent usage–and craving whenever someone goes without his/her preferred substance(s). 

Most common classes include:

  • alcohol
  • marijuana cravings 
  • cocaine sessions
  • nicotine craves
  • ALS+ODT subtypes
  • amphetamine 
  • opioid 

When candidates first start out trying these types but not all will develop any one symptom.

Trauma and Stressor-Related Disorders

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD is a condition that can develop after exposure to traumatic events. 

The most common type of disorder related to it affects members’ cognitive function and involves problems remembering things as well as making sense out of information previously learned; this leads many people who suffer from the illness feeling irritable while having trouble sleeping due an increase in anxiety over what might happen next!

Signs and Symptoms

When we experience a stressful event, such as the loss of loved ones or major changes in our lives; it’s common for people to feel sadness and anger. Loss is an extremely difficult thing that can happen at any time – even when you’re doing your best not let yourself get overwhelmed with these feelings! But if left unchecked, this typeof feeling might become more than just temporary-it could permanently alter how someone feels about themselves mentally (and physically). 

The most common signs of mental illness in adults and adolescents include: 

  • The feeling of being afraid, anxious or nervous is known as “fear.”
  • Mood changes: These could include deep sadness, inability to express joy in any situation and indifference towards others around you as well feelings like hopelessness or laughter at inappropriate times for no apparent reason.
  • Problems thinking: Problems concentrating, problems with memory and thoughts that are hard-to explain might all fall into this category of mental disorder called “problem solving” or “concentration.”
  • Sleep or appetite changes: Habits like sleeping more or eating less than usual can have a dramatic effect on your weight.
  • Withdrawal: Sitting down for long periods of time will make you more tired, and dropping out can lead to an assortment stress-related problems like mood swings or headaches.

These signs may point to a mental illness, but it’s important not diagnose yourself just yet. You should get further evaluation from someone who knows what they’re doing!

The symptoms of anxiety can be exhausting, and if they prevent you from going about your daily life it is time for professional help.


Mental illness can be caused by a wide range of factors, some which are environmental and others that lie within our genetics. The following list includes just some examples:

  1. Biology: The brain is a complex organ that performs many functions. Some people believe the way we think and feel can be affected by changes in our neurotransmitters, or chemical messengers inside of us which regulate moods., stress levels etc…
  2. Environmental exposures: You may be at higher risk for mental illness if your mother drank alcohol, used drugs or was exposed to harmful chemicals when she was pregnant with you.
  3. Genetics: Some people believe that mental illnesses are passed down through genes. The idea being, if your relative has any type of diagnosable condition like autism or schizophrenia then you’re more likely to develop it yourself too because these conditions often run in families – hence why experts suggest there is an genetic component.
  4. Life experiences: The list of stressful life events you’ve experienced is endless, but they may all contribute to mental illness. For example the trauma from an event can cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).


Mental illnesses are often complex and require an overlap between different areas in order for treatment plans not only meet patient needs; they also help specialists stay up-to date on evolving knowledge within their field so mistakes can be avoided

Physical Exam

Diagnosing mental illness can be difficult, but it’s essential to rule out any physical causes first. Some examples of this include thyroid problems and other medical conditions that may appear similar in symptoms or diagnose as a result

The importance lies not just in finding the right diagnosis for your condition; instead hitting all possible avenues before making such an important determination cannot hurt!

Your doctor will take an extensive history and may order lab tests to rule out physical issues that could be causing your symptoms. If they don’t find a cause within the body, you’ll likely have been referred for mental health treatment so we can evaluate whether or not there is anything wrong with our brain’s communication system.

Psychological Evaluation

The mental health professional will ask you questions about your symptoms and family history. They may even request that one of their patients participate in this interview, so they can better understand what’s going on with them from an insider perspective.

The mental health professional will often administer tests and other psychological evaluation tools in order to pinpoint your exact diagnosis or help determine how severe an illness you have. Most psychiatrists and psychologists use the APA’s Diagnostic Statistical Manual Of Mental Disorders (DSM) when diagnosing certain illnesses, such as those dealing with depression and anxiety disorders.

This manual provides a detailed list of symptoms and criteria for all mental illnesses. This includes information on what conditions should be present, how many minutes or hours it takes to receive that particular diagnosis as well any other limitations imposed by diagnostic standards in order to qualify someone qualified under those guidelines.

Mental illness can often be a symptom of another disorder. For instance, someone who struggles with depression may also experience symptoms related to anxiety and vice versa in some cases.


Mental illnesses are no different than any other illness in the sense that they can be treated. The severity and type of treatment will vary depending on your diagnosis, but mental health professionals generally offer a range from medication management through therapy or lifestyle changes such as mindfulness training to accommodate every individual’s needs

Mental Health America reports an estimated 20% (or nearly 9 million) U.S adults suffer from some form of depression each year—that’s about 1 out 5 Americans – which means there is hope! We offer several resources below where you’ll find information for getting help-and know someone who might need our support too.

Mental illnesses can be treated with medications, talk therapy or complementary and alternative medicines. The best treatment depends on the condition you’re struggling from. It might include a combination of these three things in order to find out what works for your specific needs!

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