The Top 5 Mental Disorders: Symptoms and Treatment

Mental illnesses are characterized by mild to severe disturbances in the individual’s thoughts or behaviors which may result in the inability to cope with daily life. There are many forms of mental illness, approximately 200 or more. The most common mental disorders are depression, schizophrenia, anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, and dementia.

1. Depression

Depression is a mental disorder brought about by a persistent, depressed mood which causes an individual to lose interest in daily activities. Depression thereby causes some form of impairment in everyday life. Depression may be identified by symptoms such as overreacting and underreacting, changes in appetite, or irregularities in sleeping patterns.

Symptoms may include the constant feeling of sadness, mood swings, loss of appetite, excessive crying, weight gain or loss, lack of concentration, suicidal thoughts, slowness in activity, restlessness, sadness, hopelessness, anxiety, apathy, guilt, general discontent, social isolation, agitation, irritability, insomnia, restless sleep, and more.

There are several treatments for depression including electroconvulsive treatment (ECT), which is typically used for extreme cases. Other treatments are antidepressant medications, psychotherapy, and many other somatic therapies.

2. Bipolar Disorder

It is formerly known as manic depression. Bipolar disorder is a mental state that causes extreme mood swings: emotional lows (depression) and highs (hypomania or mania). It is mainly caused by hormonal imbalances and traumatic events or experiences. The types of bipolar disorders include bipolar I disorder, bipolar II disorder, cyclothymic disorder, and several others.

Symptoms of bipolar disorder are difficulty falling asleep, paranoia, excess sleepiness, depression, delusion, aggression, hyperactivity, excess sexual desire, self-harm, disorganized behavior, restlessness, unwanted thoughts, frenzied speaking, fatigue, superiority, risk-taking behaviors, impulsivity, loss of interest in most activities, euphoria, elevated moods, and mood swings.

Bipolar disorder is usually a lifetime condition and treatment is often focused on the management of symptoms. Treatments may include continued treatment with medications like antidepressants, mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, and anti-anxiety medications, day treatment programs, hospitalization, and substance abuse treatment.

3. Dementia

Dementia is the severe decline in mental capability that mostly or entirely interferes with one’s daily life routine. It is memory loss caused by brain cell damage. Vascular dementia is common and occurs after a stroke. Vitamin deficiencies and thyroid problems are reversible conditions that cause dementia symptoms.

Treatment for dementia is dependent on its cause. Most progressive dementias like Alzheimer’s disease neither have a cure or treatment to slow it down. However, there is a drug treatment option that improves symptoms temporarily. Having a healthy diet, pursuing physical fitness, and avoidance of smoking could help prevent dementia.

4. Anxiety disorder

Anxiety problems include different specific disorders such as panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and social anxiety disorder, which are mainly caused by factors like environmental stress, genes, and changes in the brain. Symptoms include sleeping problems, nausea, dizziness, fear, panic, uneasiness, shortness of breath, numb or tingling feet or hands, dry mouth, and more. Treatment includes medication and psychotherapy.

5. Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a severe mental disorder whose symptoms includes hallucinations, delusions, negative symptoms, disorganized thinking, and abnormal motor behavior (e.g. being extremely disorganized) due to genetics or brain chemistry. There is no information yet on how to prevent schizophrenia. People who are suffering from this disorder need to take antipsychotic medications and cognitive behavioral therapy to help prevent relapse.

Many people suffer from various forms of mental illness. Regardless, seeking and adhering to therapy and medications will help manage the symptoms and even cure some conditions in the long run.