Breaking the Stigma: The Different Types of Mental Health Disorders

Many people are often reluctant to talk about a mental health disorder, or will attempt to ignore it altogether. This can be due to the negative stigma clouding mental health, with many people unable to understand such a disorder and how it is considered an illness. There are, however, millions of people across the world living with various mental health conditions, and with more people having open discussions about their illnesses, the stigma is slowly breaking as we’re paving a future to a world where those suffering from depression, anxiety disorders and such are believed and not overlooked. Find out more about the different types of mental health disorders and their solutions.

Anxiety Disorder

Approximately 40 million adults in the US alone are living with an anxiety disorder, making it one of the most common mental health conditions in America. People experiencing the disorder will often respond to various social situations or objects with fear or trepidation. As a result, they may experience profuse sweating or a rapid heartbeat.

There are a number of conditions under the anxiety disorder umbrella, such as social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, phobias and generalized anxiety disorder. For help coping with anxiety, it may be helpful to consult a doctor for medication or natural coping techniques, such as deep breathing.

Mood Disorders

Many people are currently living with a mood disorder and may not even know it. If you have constant feelings of sadness, or experiences spells of intense happiness, you could be living with a mood disorder, such as bipolar disorder, depression, and cyclothymic disorder. People living with a mood disorder are also more likely to experience a substance abuse disorder, so may find it financially beneficial to invest in mental health insurance.

Fortunately, mood disorders can be improved with the help of antidepressants or mood stabilizing medications. The medications’ effectiveness for depression will also be more successful when combined with psychotherapy treatments and healthy lifestyle such as diet and exercise.

Eating Disorders

According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, eight million people in the United States are living with an eating disorder, which is approximately 3% of the population. Eating disorders occur when people have rather extreme attitudes and behaviors towards their weight and food. Unfortunately, the disorders can be detrimental to a person’s physical health. Common eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, binge eating disorder and bulimia.

People living with an eating disorder must not keep their problem inside. It is vital to talk to your loved ones and/or a doctor to discuss the condition. In addition to talking about the problem, you can potentially overcome an eating disorder through general awareness of each condition, so you will not have mistaken judgements towards foods, body shapes, eating disorder and weight. You also must not categorize foods as good or safe, or bad or dangerous. You should note, though, that many people who suffer from an eating disorder may be unable to see it themselves as their view on their appearance and weight can be distorted.

Psychotic Disorders

Abnormal thinking and perceptions are symptoms of psychotic disorders, which can cause people to lose touch with reality. For example, common problems they may experience include hallucinations, which cause a sufferer to see images that are not there or sounds that do not exist, such as hearing voices or delusions. A person will then believe what they have seen or heard is true, even if there is evidence to prove the contrary.

Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for psychosis. Yet, there are varying treatment options available to support those living with a condition. However, the disorder can sometimes arise from medication, so ceasing the intake can stop psychosis.

Impulse Control and Addiction Disorders

Many people living with an impulse control disorder will find it exceptionally difficult to resist their compulsions or urges to perform a harmful act, which can cause implications for themselves and others. There are numerous types of urges under the impulse control and addiction disorder umbrellas; for example, drugs and alcohol are common items people might try and later become addicted to, which can negatively impact their relationships and responsibilities. Impulse disorders can also include pyromania, kleptomania, or compulsive gambling. Seeking help can often be the first route to a successful recovery.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) can control almost every aspect of a person’s life, as they will be filled with fears or thoughts that cause people to perform various routines or rituals each day. For example, a person’s obsessions and compulsions may cause a person to worry about germs, so they may constantly scrub their hands clean, harming their skin.

Treatment is not always needed for people living with OCD. Yet, it can help people living with a severe form of the disorder. For example, you can undertake cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), or exposure and response prevention (ERP).

Personality Disorders

Those living with a personality disorder will have thoughts or behaviors that are different to the norms within society, and their mindset is so rigid that it can cause issues in social settings, such as in school or at work. The extreme, inflexible personality traits can, therefore, be both distressing to the individual and their loved ones.

Common forms of personality disorders include paranoid personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder. Medication is available for personality disorders, but it is viewed as a controversial treatment option, but it can reduce the symptoms associated with the condition.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

People may develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) following a traumatic experience or event. For example, it is possible to develop the condition following the unexpected death of a loved one, a natural disaster, or an assault. PTSD will cause people to experience frightening, long-lasting thoughts and re-live unwanted memories, which will prevent them from moving on from the event. Thankfully, there are numerous treatment options available to help people overcome PTSD, such as cognitive therapy, exposure therapy, and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR).

Tic Disorders

Tic disorders cause people to make involuntary sounds or body movements, which might be sudden, repetitive, and quick. Those who make uncontrollable sounds will experience vocal tics. Tourette’s Syndrome is a common tic disorder, which affects approximately one in every 100 Americans. There are also believed to be 200,000 Americans currently living with a severe form of Tourette’s Syndrome. Unfortunately, there is no current cure for Tourette’s, but there are treatments available to help people take control of their tics, which could otherwise impact their everyday functions and activities.

When it comes to mental health disorders, the more we know and understand, the better it will be for everyone involved. You may be lucky enough never to experience one, but what’s to say your mother, father or even child doesn’t? By educating ourselves, we’re understanding how we can help those who need it; it’s time we break the stigma.