Mind is the element of a person that makes them conscious of the world and their experiences. It helps a person to feel, think and consciously react.
Most people often overlook mental health. Keeping the mind healthy is quintessential. Our state of mind can lead to various mental disorders.
To understand mental disorders, it is essential to know the basics of mental health.
What is mental health?
Mental health is the emotional and physiological well-being of a person. When a person has sound mental health, it will help them lead a happy and healthy life.
Strong mental health helps a person keep the resilience and cope with adversity.
Mental health can be influenced by numerous factors or life-altering events. Genetics can also play a role in influencing the mental health of a person.
Some of the ways a person can keep good mental health are by
- Having a positive attitude
- Physical activeness
- Practising gratitude
- Getting enough rest and
- Consuming a healthy diet
What is a mental disorder?
Mental disorders are always portrayed as a dark or depressing state of mind. Mental health is just not what meets the eye. Mental disorder is an extensive term that includes various conditions that affect the way a person thinks or feels.
A mental disorder is characterised by significant disturbances in the way an individual behaves, controls emotions and maintains good cognitive shape.
It is important for every person to underscore the importance of mental health to the people who lack awareness.
According to an article published by the World Health Organisation, in 2019, 1 in every 8 people worldwide are living with a mental health disorder.
Depressive disorders and anxiety are the most commonly found disorders among people. Irrespective of the disorder a person suffers, it is essential for every individual to know how to deal with specific health disorders.
Diving in detail and learning more about the types of disorders can help us get an overall idea of how mental health works and the ways to deal with the disorders.
What are the types of mental disorders?
Some of the most common mental disorders affecting people are as follows.
How would a person feel if they lived with awfully frightening thoughts or had frequent episodes of panic attacks?
That is how a person with anxiety disorder would feel every day if it is not treated properly.
It is normal to feel anxious. Anxiety disorder is a mental health condition that makes a person respond to certain things or situations with fear.
Anxiety disorders can also make a person experience physical signs and symptoms of anxiety like
- Pounding heartbeat
- Excessive sweating
- Cold or sweaty hand
- Dry mouth
- Numbness and muscle tension
- Breathlessness and heart palpitations.
Some of the mental symptoms include
- Feeling excessively frightened
- Repeated thoughts of traumatic experiences
- Uncontrollable or obsessive thoughts.
It is absolutely fine to have some anxiety or nervousness. They are essential for a person to fix a problem at work or make important decisions.
But an anxiety disorder is beyond regular nervousness and can interfere with the way in which a person behaves. This mental disorder makes a person.
- Overreact to some triggers
- Interferes with the ability to function normally
- Lack of control for the responses to situations.
Having an anxiety disorder will make it difficult for anyone to get through the day productively.
Anxiety disorders can be further classified into
- Generalised anxiety disorder
- Separation anxiety
- Panic disorders and
Anxiety disorders are one of the most common mental health conditions around the world. It often begins during childhood or early adulthood.
Usually, a mental health professional who diagnoses an anxiety disorder will use the specifically designed interview or assessment tools to figure out if a person has a mental disorder. Based on the disorder, treatment is provided.
Various research conducted on mental health has made leaping progress in the last few decades in treating various health conditions.
A psychiatrist will tailor a personalised treatment plan that would work effectively. Some medications and psychotherapy can help treat anxiety disorders.
Medications like anti-anxiety medications or antidepressants, or a combination of both in appropriate dosages, can contain the symptoms of anxiety disorder.
Psychotherapy or counselling can help a person deal with the emotional responses to the illness. Some of the approaches include cognitive behavioural therapy and exposure therapy.
Cognitive behavioural therapy is the most commonly prescribed psychotherapy to deal with anxiety disorders. With the help of this approach, a person with an anxiety disorder will be able to recognise their thought patterns and behaviours that can lead to trouble-causing feelings.
Exposure therapy bets on dealing with the fears behind the anxiety. This therapy helps a person engage with activities or situations that they have been avoiding due to their mental health condition.
Making proper lifestyle changes and seeking help can prevent anxiety disorders to an extent.
Anyone can surf in safe waters, but surfing in the sea with violent waves is an extreme sport. Bipolar disorder is just like surfing in a dangerous sea with waves of emotions.
Formerly called manic depression, bipolar disorder is a mental health condition that causes extreme mood swings that make a person emotionally high or low.
Emotional highs are also known as hypomania, and the lows are referred to as depression.
When a person becomes depressed, they may feel hopeless and lose interest in most activities. If their mood shifts from depression to hypomania, they may feel euphoric and full of energy. Episodes of bipolar disorder can occur multiple times or rarely based on how severe the condition is.
Even though bipolar disorder is a chronic condition that lasts for a lifetime, a person can manage the symptoms effectively with the help of a treatment plan.
In bipolar disorder, mania and hypomania are two distinct types of episodes. Mania episodes are more severe than hypomania, and they can cause more noticeable problems in social satire.
Both mania and hypomania make a person exhibit distinct symptoms like
- Abnormal upbeat
- Increased activity
- Increasing the agitation
- Exaggerated self-confidence or euphoria
- Decreased need for sleep
- Racing thoughts and
- Poor decision-making.
A depressive episode can make a person exhibit symptoms like
- Depressed mood
- loss of interest
- Unable to concentrate and
- Planning to attempt to suicide
Despite the mood extremes, people with this mental disorder do not recognise how much emotionally unstable they are. Such people can disturb their lives and also the lives of their loved ones.
Biological differences and genetics can cause bipolar disorder. However, the exact cause remains a mystery.
People who suffer from bipolar disorder have physical changes in their brains that can cause frequent episodes of intense mood swings.
Bipolar disorder is also commonly found in people who have first-degree relatives with the same health condition. If bipolar disorder is left untreated, it can result in severe health problems that can affect important aspects of life, such as
- Issues related to alcohol use or substance use
- Suicide attempt
- Damaged relationship
- Poor performance at school or work.
Treating bipolar disorder is done by a psychiatrist through various approaches like medications, continual treatment, hospitalisation and substance abuse treatment.
The primary treatments of bipolar disorder include various combinations or approaches of medications and counselling to manage the symptoms effectively and help a patient cope with life.
Some of the psychotherapy that is vital in treating bipolar disorders or cognitive behavioural therapy, psychoeducation and family-focused therapy.
Certain lifestyle changes and alternative medicine can also help to treat this mental disorder. Bipolar disorder is a challenging health condition that requires adequate coping and support.
Eating is never new to us. An eating disorder is more than just consuming food. They are complex mental health conditions that require psychological or medical help to change their course.
Eating disorders are psychological conditions that can cause unhealthy eating practices in a person. It can start an obsession with body weight or body shape.
When eating disorders are severe, they can cause health consequences that can be fatal if left untreated.
Eating disorders can make a person exhibit different symptoms depending on the condition and the food they eat.
Mental and behavioural symptoms include
- Excessive concern about eating in public
- Excessive weight loss
- Preoccupied with weight, calories and diet
- Frequent constipation, abdominal pain or excessive energy
- Constantly skipping meal time
- Intense fear of weight gain
- Refusing to eat some food
- Denying the feeling of hunger
- Specific patterns of binge eating
- Stomach cramps
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Lack of focus
- Low thyroid level
- Feeling cold
- Sleep irregularity
- Dry skin
- Muscle weakness and
- Poor immune function.
Experts believe that numerous factors can contribute to eating disorders, with genetics being the most common. People with a first-degree relative with a similar disorder can have a greater chance of developing eating disorders.
The exact cause of such disorders is unknown. However, some potential causes include cultural preferences and exposure to media promoting various ideals. Recent researches suggest that the difference in brain structure or biology of a person can also play a significant role in developing eating disorders.
Eating disorders are grouped into six types, namely
- Anorexia nervosa
- Bulimia nervosa
- Binge eating disorder
- Rumination disorder
- Restrictive food intake disorder
If a person has an eating disorder, identifying the condition and seeking treatment as soon as possible can improve the chances of recovery. If the above-mentioned symptoms resonate with a person, they can have an eating disorder, and it is important for them to reach out to medical health.
A personality disorder is a type of mental disorder that makes a person have unhealthy thinking, behaving or functioning pattern.
People suffering from a personality disorder will have trouble perceiving situations and people, causing significant problems in relationships and social activities.
In many cases, a person may not realise that they have a personality disorder because their way of thinking might seem natural to them.
Personality disorders are mainly grouped into three types based on the characteristics and the symptoms. A person can also experience multiple personality disorders causing them to exhibit various signs and symptoms.
Cluster A personality disorder
Cluster A personality disorder is characterised by eccentric thinking or behaviour. These include paranoid personality disorder and schizoid personality disorder.
Some of the symptoms exhibited by such disorders are
- Distressed suspicion of others
- Believe that others are trying to cheat a person
- Social withdrawing
- Tendency to hold grudges
- Lack of interest in social relationships
- Inability to take pleasure in various activities
- Flat emotions
- Minimal emotional responses
Cluster B personality
Cluster B personality disorder is characterised by dramatic or overly emotional thinking or behavioural pattern.
These personality disorders include borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder and histrionic personality disorder.
The symptoms exhibited are as follows.
- Disregard for other’s feelings
- Recurring problems with the loss of aggression
- Impulsive behaviour
- Lack of remorse
- Indulging in risky behaviour
- Frequent mood swings
- Suicidal thoughts
- Consistent need to seek attention
- Excessively emotional
- Emphasis on physical appearance
- Failure to recognise other people’s needs or feelings and
Cluster C personality disorder
Cluster C personality disorder is characterised by a feeling of anxiousness, fearful thinking and behaviour. They include dependent personality disorder, obsessive-compulsive personality disorder and avoidant personality disorder.
Some of the symptoms exhibited are
- Sensitive to criticism
- Feeling inferior or unattractive
- Avoiding work that requires inter-or intrapersonal contact
- Extreme shyness and
- Fear of disapproval
Depending on the disorder, a person will exhibit symptoms like
Excessive dependence on being submissive or clingy toward others, lack of self-confidence, difficulty agreeing with others, and need to start a new relationship when the other one has ended.
Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder can make a person exhibit symptoms like preoccupation with extreme perfectionism, desire to be in control, being rigid or stubborn.
Like other mental health disorders, genetics and the environment play a major role in causing personality disorders.
Personality is the combination of emotions, thoughts and behaviour that makes a person unique. It is the way in which a person understands and lets themselves to the outside world and also how well they see themselves. Personality forms during childhood and is shared through various events and biological factors.
The treatment that is best suited for such disorders depends on the severity and the situation. Psychotherapy is the primary approach used to treat personality disorders.
With the help of psychotherapy, a mental health professional can learn about the condition and helps a person cope with stress and manage the symptoms efficiently.
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental health condition triggered when a traumatic event happens in a person’s life or while witnessing it.
Most people go through a traumatic event or multiple events that can temporarily cause difficulty to cope with it. But with more time and good self-care it usually gets better.
If the symptoms get worse and don’t subside, there is a high chance that a person may have PTSD.
Post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms can set in a person within a month of experiencing a traumatic event but can also occur after years.
These symptoms can cause significant problems in work situations and relationships that can affect a person’s ability to go and perform normal daily tasks.
Post-traumatic stress disorder is generally grouped into four types, namely intrusive memories, avoidance of negative changes, and changes in physical or emotional reaction.
The symptoms exhibited by a person can vary over time and also changes based on the individual.
- Intrusive memories
- Recurring and unwanted distress of memories of the traumatic event
- Flashbacks of the traumatic event
- Nightmares about the traumatic event
- Intense emotional distress and
- Physical reaction to something that reminds a person of a traumatic event.
There might be symptoms of avoidance, like trying to avoid places or thinking about traumatic events, negative thoughts about oneself and other people in the world, hopelessness, memory problems, difficulty in maintaining relationships feeling of detachment, lack of interest and emotionally numb are the symptoms of negative changes in thinking or mood.
Some symptoms of changes in physical or emotional reactions include being irritated or frightened, easily always holding a guard for danger, self-destructive behaviour, sleeplessness, trouble concentrating easily, and excessive irritable feelings of guilt or shame.
Some of the traumatic events that can cause post-traumatic stress disorder include involving in combat, physical abuse during childhood, sexual violence, physical assault, being threatened or being in an accident.
After a person survives the traumatic event, most people have PTSD-like symptoms initially. Fear, anxiety, anger, guilt or depression are common reactions to trauma. However, the majority of people exposed to trauma do not develop long-term symptoms.
Recognising symptoms of PTSD is crucial to get timely help or support to prevent normal stress reactions from worsening and developing into a mental health disorder.
Proper support for a person from family and friends can help them cope with the health condition and prevent unhealthy coping methods like the usage of drugs or alcohol.
To understand psychosis disorder, it is essential to know what psychosis is.
Psychosis is a condition that can affect the way the brain process information. Psychosis causes problems and makes a person lose touch with reality.
Psychotic disorders are severe mental disorders that can cause abnormal perceptions or thinking and make a person lose touch with reality.
The main symptoms of psychotic disorders are delusions and hallucinations.
Delusion is a false belief or thinking that someone is plotting something bad against them. Hallucination is a false perception of a feeling, hearing or visualising something that is not actually present.
Some of the psychotic disorders are schizophrenia
- Schizoaffective disorder
- Psychotic disorder
- Delusional disorder
- Substance-induced psychotic disorder due to medical condition.
Psychotic disorders are mental health conditions that are most commonly found in people in their late teens or early 30s that are found in men and women equally.
The symptoms of the psychotic disorder are diagnosed by a doctor through physical examination and gathering medical history. With the help of a psychiatrist, specific tools are used to properly diagnose a psychotic disorder.
A psychiatrist can use two major approaches to treat psychotic disorders. Medication and psychotherapy can treat psychotic disorders and help manage the symptoms of the disease.
Psychotherapy for psychotic disorders can include several individual sessions, family sessions or support groups to treat a patient.
In more severe cases, when a patient’s overall well-being is in danger, hospitalisation might be necessary to effectively manage the condition. In addition to psychotherapy or medication, self-help groups can also help a person successfully manage to live with psychotic disorders. It is essential for the person to learn how to cope with episodes of recurring symptoms and find effective ways of dealing with them.
Neurodevelopmental disorders are the disability of a person that can affect the functioning of the neurological system and the brain.
This mental disorder is a condition that can affect how the brain functions. The impairment can range from mild or severe and affect the life of a person.
Some of the neurodevelopmental disorders include
- Speech disorders
- Language disorders
- Autism and
- Fragile X syndrome
With neurodevelopmental disorders, the signs and symptoms exhibited by a person will often begin to show as a child. However, with some disorders like schizophrenia, the symptoms can set in later during teenage or young adulthood.
Some of the signs and symptoms of neurological disorders or as follows.
- Withdrawal from social satire
- Disorganised thoughts
- Hallucinations and delusions
- Impulsivity and
- Excessive distractibility
Autism can make a person exhibit little or no contact, difficulty communicating and engaging in self-harm.
A person with a neurodevelopmental disorder can exhibit one or more symptoms depending on how severe their condition is.
The exact cause of the neurodevelopmental disorder is still a mystery, yet in some cases, genetics can play a major role in causing them.
Some of the other factors, like low birth weight, environmental contamination, premature birth and fetal exposure to alcohol or smoking, can cause such mental disorders.
There is no cure for neurodevelopmental disorders, yet there are therapeutic strategies that can help a person control the signs and symptoms of the disorder and lead a productive life.
Medications are prescribed by a doctor that can reduce anxiety or hyperactivity. Behavioural therapy can help a patient manage their behaviour and have a better relationship with their peers.
There is no definitive way to prevent these mental disorders. However, regular wellness check-ups can help a doctor recognise the signs and symptoms of neurodevelopmental disorders. Early diagnosis is the best way to overcome the challenges of this health condition.
Dissociative disorders are mental disorders that make a person experience a disconnection between thoughts, memories, actions, surrounding and their identity.
Dissociated disorders are usually developed as a reaction to a traumatic event and can help keep tough memories at bay.
Some of the signs and symptoms exhibited by a person suffering from dissociative disorders include
- Memory loss
- Being overly attached to emotions
- Perception of people or things
- Bad sense of identity
- Inability to cope with stress and
- Mental health problems like anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts.
Disassociative disorders usually develop as a reaction when a person finds a way to cope with trauma. These disorders are most commonly formed during childhood that can be subjected to long-term abuse.
The exact cause of how trauma causes such disorders are unknown, but a person who learns to dissociate to deal with a traumatic experience will use this as a coping mechanism to fight stressful situations in their life.
Somatic symptom disorder
Somatic symptom disorder is characterised by an extreme focus on physical symptoms like pain or fatigue that can cause emotional distress and problems in functioning.
Often, they think about the worst symptoms and seek medical care and continue to search for an explanation if there are other severe health conditions present in them.
If a person has a somatic symptom disorder, they may experience emotional or physical distress. Some of the symptoms exhibited by a somatic person are as follows.
- Specific sensations like breathlessness, fatigue and weakness
- Multiple episodes of varying symptoms
- Severe symptoms that result in major distress and cause problems in functioning.
- Excessive thoughts or feelings relating to a physical symptom
Pain is the most commonly exhibited symptom by a person with this mental disorder, but the excess of thoughts, feelings and behaviour related to the symptoms can cause problems and make it difficult for a person to function normally.
To diagnose a somatic disorder, a person will undergo a physical examination, and a doctor will determine the need for treatment.
A psychiatrist will conduct a psychological evaluation where they talk to a patient about their symptoms, relationship problems, and family history in order to assess their health condition.
A psychiatrist will also prescribe antidepressant medication to help reduce the symptoms that are associated with depression and related side-effects of somatic symptom disorder.
If a particular medication doesn’t work well for a patient, a doctor can recommend switching to a combination of various medications to boost effectiveness.
Adopting healthy lifestyle practices and home remedies like consulting a healthcare provider, practising stress management, adopting relaxation techniques, getting physically active and restricted consumption of alcohol can help manage the symptoms and improve the overall health of a person.
Very little information is known about how a person can prevent somatic symptom disorder. So, it is better to consult a doctor and seek professional help as early as possible.
Feeding and swallowing disorders in children
Feeding disorders can lead to various problems with sucking, eating from a spoon, drinking or chewing food. The other name for swallowing disorder is dysphagia, which causes difficulty with moving food or liquid from the mouth or throat to the stomach.
From birth, little children or infants consume food by sucking. When they grow older, they learn how to eat food and drink from a cup. Most children will have trouble at the beginning, and they might spill food from their mouth. This is normal behaviour to a degree and should go away with time.
However, a person with a feeding disorder will have continuous trouble and have a hard time eating or drinking.
Some of the signs of swallowing disorders include
- Crying or fussy while feeding
- Having problems during breastfeeding
- Arch their back while feeding
- Taking a long time to eat
- Hold food in their mouth for a longer period
- Have problems chewing
- Spit or throw up a lot
- Not gaining weight or growing
There are many possible ways a person can develop feeding or swallowing problems, including
- Nervous system disorders
- Acid reflux or other stomach problems
- Premature birth
- Heart diseases
- Breathing problems
- Neck problems
- Muscle weakness
- Medications and
- Behavioural problems.
A medical professional helps treat swallowing disorders with medications for specific health conditions like reflux. Feeding therapy includes different alternative ways to feed the baby, changing the position of the child while eating, making the muscles of the mouth stronger, surgeries and medications to help manage the symptoms.
Depression is a mood disorder that can cause a persistent feeling of excessive sadness and loss of interest in regular activities. Depression is a common term used globally, and people fail to understand it, whether just a normal blue or a weakness a person can simply snap out of.
Even though depression may occur only once during a lifetime, people can experience multiple episodes that include
- Feeling sad excessively
- Angry outburst
- Irritation or frustration in trivial matters
- Loss of interest and pleasure in most activities
- Sleep disturbances
- Reduced appetite
- Weight loss
- Delayed thinking
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Excessive guilt and
- Unexplained physical problems.
For most people suffering from depression, the symptoms usually are severe and are strong enough to cause noticeable problems in regular activities like school work or socialising.
Young children’s symptoms of depression include irritability, sadness, clinginess, unexplained body pains and being underweight.
If a person feels depressed, it is important to consult a doctor or a mental health professional as soon as possible to seek treatment and reduce the side effects.
The treatment for depression depends mainly on the type. Depression with specific features like anxious distress, melancholic features, atypical features or seasonal pattern require personalised treatment plan.
Usually, medications and psychotherapy are effective for most people suffering from depression. A doctor or a psychiatrist will prescribe medication for symptoms of depression.
What are the common causes of mental disorders?
Mental illness is a broad term that includes various conditions that can affect the way in which a person feels things and behaves. Such factors can affect the ability of a person to function productively every day.
Mental disorders can be influenced by various factors like a person’s genes and family history, life experiences, childhood abuse or trauma, biological factors like imbalance in the brain, traumatic brain injury and mother’s exposure to a virus or other chemicals during pregnancy.
The exact cause of mental disorders is not known. However, there are some factors that can cause mental disorders.
How do you identify mental health symptoms?
Every type of mental disorder can cause its own symptoms, but mental disorders collectively share some common characteristics and make a person exhibit several signs like
- Not consuming enough food
- Social withdrawal
- Feeling excessively sad
- Extreme mood changes
- Confused thinking
- Hearing voices in the head
- Difficulty in performing everyday activities
- Self-harming behaviour and
- Easily irritated.
Stress and emotional distress can also lead to episodes of symptoms, but a mental disorder can make it difficult for a person to maintain normal behaviour and perform activities.
How is the mental disorder diagnosed?
A doctor or a psychiatrist will check for a person’s medical history and conduct various physical examinations in labs, including various tests and perform a psychological evaluation to identify mental disorders of a person.
How is a mental disorder treated?
A psychiatrist treats a mental disorder based on the health condition and how severe the symptoms are.
Every mental disorder requires various approaches to treat them. Some of the common ways in which mental disorders are treated are by prescribing psychotherapy medications, support groups, hospitalisation, alternative medicine, self-help plans and peer support.
How do we prevent mental disorders?
Mental health is a vital concern for everyone around the world. Most people are not aware of the signs and symptoms of mental illness and cannot effectively manage them.
To prevent mental disorders, it is good to talk about your feelings to someone. Getting adequate rest with a good night’s sleep can help re-energise themselves.
Consuming a balanced diet and staying physically active can help improve the mental health and overall well-being of a person.
It is important to control the thoughts of a person during such cases. Practising mindfulness can help a person beat the mental disorder.
To sum up
Mental health refers to the physiological and emotional well-being of a person. If a person has good mental health, it will help them lead a happy life.
Mental health is influenced by numerous factors and life-altering events. It is important to have good mental health.
The exact cause of mental health is unclear, and the treatment depends upon how severe the illness is. Talking to a healthcare professional can give a clear insight into how to deal with mental disorders.
What are the levels of prevention in mental health?
Mental health prevention is broadly categorised into three types, namely primary prevention, which emphasises determining the whole population in the high-risk group. Secondary prevention involves early detection and intervention and tertiary prevention that targets advance to recovery for people in need.
What age is most affected by mental health?
Adults aged between 18 to 25 years had high chances of developing mental illness. However, mental health disorders can affect a person during their late childhood or early adulthood.
Can a mental illness be cured?
The signs and symptoms exhibited by a mentally ill person can be managed and controlled effectively with the help of treatment and medication. In some cases, there is no permanent cure for mental illness but a treatment can help a person lead a productive life.
How does someone acquire a mental illness?
Anyone can acquire a mental disorder if there is a strong gene and family history of traumatic life experiences, history of abuse, biological factors, injury and exposure to toxins.