Home » What are Some Common Mental Illnesses?

Mental illnesses impact people’s lives in several ways and disrupt their everyday activities. A major step for recovering from a mental illness is to seek professional help. But before individuals can take this step, they need to know some of the more common mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety and addiction.

Most people understand that behavioral health conditions impact an individual’s mood and thoughts. Research is showing that these conditions are often due to many reasons ranging from environmental to genetic factors. However, many people are not aware as to how common mental illness is in society.

According to statistics from NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), 1 in 5 adults in the United States experiences a mental illness each year. Here are few other facts on the annual occurrence of these health concerns:

  • Affects 20% of U.S. adults.
  • About 1 in 6 adolescence (age 6-17) experience a disorder.
  • One half of all mental illness starts by age 14.
  • Roughly 75% of all illness is occurs by the age of 24.

Depression as an Illness:

One of the more common psychiatric aliments is depression which impacts a wide variety of people. More than just a feeling of sadness, one of the more severe conditions is known as major depressive disorder. There are different types of depression, but major depression disorder (MMD) is one of the more well-known illnesses.

Common signs of depression often include symptoms such as a loss of interest for hobbies or activities, thoughts of death or suicide and a general feeling of sadness. The symptoms usually need to persist for a minimum of two weeks before a mental health provider can make a diagnosis. In some cases, episodes of major depression can last for many weeks or months. This is particularly true for a type of chronic depression known as dysthymia or persistent depressive disorder.

Dysthymia is a mental illness that is challenging to diagnose. Because this is a type of depression that is chronic or low-grade in nature, individuals may not realize that they have the condition. People may feel like everything is fine, yet their personal feelings and thoughts are not typical. People may even feel like they have to fake being happy. This is a continuous type of depression that is estimated to appear in roughly 1.5% of the U.S. adult population.

Another type of depression that people are aware of is a condition called seasonal affective disorder or SAD. This condition can create feelings of sadness and drowsiness in people. Researchers are still studying the factors that relate to SAD, but there appears to be a correlation between the amount of sunlight and the brain’s chemical levels. Researchers theorize that, for people living in northern regions of the United States, the reduction of sunlight during the winter months disrupts the bodies circadian rhythm. This can create problems for some people. Less exposure to sunlight can disrupt the body’s internal clock which regulates hormones, sleep and mood.

Depression creates emotional and physical problems for people who are suffering from the illness. It is important to recognize the signs of depression and seek professional help.

Anxiety as an Illness:

People may dismiss the impact of anxiety on their mental and physical health. Everyone at some point in their life will experience anxious thoughts and feelings. Problems arise when an individual is experiencing excessive amounts of anxiety. These can generate powerful negative feelings that are detrimental to a person’s self-image and overall mental health. Highly anxious thoughts can create a feedback loop that generates additional feelings of anxiety. So the problem with anxious thoughts become worse over time.

Data from the American Psychiatric Association states that there are six overall types of anxiety disorders: generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, phobias, agoraphobia, social anxiety disorder and separation anxiety disorder. Out of these six types of anxiety, phobias are the most common ailment.

The symptoms for anxiety disorders can very, so it is always best to seek the advice of a trained healthcare professional. For example, a generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and a panic disorder (panic attacks) are types of anxiety disorders, but they have different symptoms.

Common Anxiety Attacks (GAD) symptoms:

  • An impending sense of fear or danger.
  • A generalized feeling of irritability and nervousness.
  • Feeling tired and unable to concentrate.
  • Increased heart rate for no foreseeable reason.

Common Panic Attacks (Panic Disorder) symptoms:

  • An accelerated heart rate for no apparent reason.
  • The rapid onset of breathing difficulties.
  • A sudden onset of excessive sweating for no apparent reason.
  • The sudden onset of hot flashes or cold chills.

Other anxiety disorders may resemble common stereotypes of a person who is extremely shy or introverted. The symptoms for social anxiety disorders resemble the extreme shyness. This type of illness causes individuals to have an intense and persistent fear of being judged by other people. This fear can push people to actually avoid social situations. These intense fears negatively affect an individual’s daily activities due to feelings of dread and doom.

It is best to realize that anxiety is a serious health issue that should not be ignored. The impact of excessive anxiety on a person’s physical and mental health are real.

Addiction as an Illness:

In the past when people experienced an addition to a substance like opioids or alcohol (SUD), it was sometimes seen as a character flaw or moral failing. However, modern psychiatric research now understands that addiction is a disease and should be treated as such. Severe problems arise due to the fact that these substances disrupt a person’s daily life and can even lead to overdose and death.

Much in the same way that there are successful medication treatment options for ADHD or depression, there are also medical treatment options for addiction. For example, MAT programs are designed to administer specific medications that are made to treat addiction from such substances as heroin, alcohol and prescription pain relievers. At the same time, MAT programs also provide mental health counseling and other therapeutic interventions.

Another challenge in treating conditions like addiction is the presence of a comorbidity. The term comorbidity refers to cases where people experience two or more illnesses at the same time. Many medical specialties see comorbidity of illness in their patients, and the specialty of mental health is no different.

Comorbidity is a common occurrence that can add a layer of complexity when providing treatments for addiction. So a person may struggle with a substance use disorder but also have an undiagnosed PTSD. In some cases, the substance was perhaps originally used to self-medicate the other mental health illness.

Some of the more common signs of addiction are:

  • Craving for the addictive substance.
  • Negative changes in a person’s personal hygiene.
  • Excessive sweating for no apparent reason.
  • Experiencing drowsiness or insomnia.

People need to realize that have a mental health condition does not meant that they are “broken” or that they did something wrong. Individuals should not feel like it is their fault that they were diagnosed with a Mental illness. An experienced mental health professional can help guide people down the road to recovery. Behavioral health professionals play an essential role in the recovery process.

About Emerald Psychiatry:

Our patient’s successful recovery and good mental health is the primary goal of Emerald Psychiatry & TMS Center. They are an experienced psychiatric center that understands the needs and concerns of their patients. They are located near Columbus, Ohio in the town of Dublin. For more information about their mental health treatments, email or call them.

Their main office number is (614) 580-6917.

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Contributor:  ABCS RCM