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5 Common Mental Disorders

Mental disorders, or mental illnesses, are a wide range of conditions that affect mood, thinking and behavior. There are many causes of mental disorders including genetics, environmental causes, medications, traumatic brain injuries and life experiences. Listed below are different classifications of mental disorders.

Anxiety disorders

Anxiety disorders include generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), phobias, social anxiety and separation anxiety. They deal with the uncertainty of the future and causes intense feeling of distress, worry, fear and panic when exposed to a certain stressor (major life changes, medical environments, new situations, etc.) For some people, anxiety is caused by an underlying medical condition such as thyroid problems, heart disease, drug abuse or withdrawal, chronic pain and more. Anxiety can also be a side effect of certain medication. Scientists and medical professionals have speculated that anxiety may also be hereditary.

Mood disorders

Mood disorders affect your everyday emotional state. Examples of mental disorders include depressive disorders, bipolar disorder and cyclothymic disorder. These disorders are apparent when your general emotional state is inconsistent with your present circumstances. Some depressive disorders can be genetic, a result of drug or alcohol abuse, the result of a chronic illness or more. Bipolar disorder types can be genetic, caused by hormonal imbalances or may be caused by traumatic events. Signs and symptoms of mood disorders include mania (a feeling of power, invulnarability and excessive high energy, activity and good moods), feelings of sadness or hopelessness, irritability, hypersomnia or insomnia, substance abuse, poor judgement, low energy and difficulty concentrating.

Personality disorders

Personality disorders are disorders are deeply ingrained and maladaptive patterns of behaviour specific to each disorder. They are defined as a set of chronic behaviours and mental traits that distinguish them from the rest of society. They generally manifest around adolescence and often cause long-term problems in personal relationships and functioning in society. There are three cluster-types; Cluster A disorders are characterised by odd, eccentric and often paranoid thinking or behaviour. They include paranoid, schizoid and schizotypal personality disorders. Cluster B disorders are characterised by dramatic, overly emotional or unpredictable patterns of behaviour and include antisocial, borderline, histrionic and narcissistic personality disorders. The final grouping, Cluster C disorders, are recognised by anxious, fearful thinking and behaviour. They include avoidant and dependant personality disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

Psychotic disorders

Psychotic disorders are severe mental disorder defined by abnormal thinking and perceptions and loss of touch with reality. People with psychotic disorders commonly experience delusions (believing things that are not true) and hallucinations (seeing, hearing and feeling things that are not there) as well as a disconnect with reality. Examples of psychotic disorders include schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, delusional disorder and substance-induced psychotic disorder.

Eating disorders 

Eating disorders are defined as any range of psychological disorders characterised by extreme, abnormal or disturbed eating habits. The three most common types of eating disorders are:

  • Anorexia nervosa - Anorexia is classified as excessive self-starvation and dramatic weight loss.¬†
  • Bulimia nervosa - This is known as binge-eating followed by extreme compensatory methods such as inducing vomiting or extreme and excessive exercise to undo or compensate for the effects of binge eating.
  • Binge eating disorder - Binge eating involves recurring episodes of eating large amounts of food, often very quickly and to the point of discomfort without using compensatory measures.