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Mental Health Disorders Defined

by Vanessa Valerio, May 20, 2019

As a leading home care provider, Care Indeed can offer trained staff to help your loved ones diagnosed with a mental health disorder. However, as a person affected by the disease or a family member offering support, the more you know about the condition, the better you are able to cope.

 There are several common types of mental health disorders, though, and some individuals may be diagnosed with one or more. May is Mental Health Awareness month, which is why Care Indeed is launching a series on Mental Health Disorders to better educate our clients, caregivers and community.

Types of Mental Health Disorders

Whether you – or a loved one – is coping with anxiety, depression or another type of mental health disorder, the more you know, the better able you are to cope, seek treatment and offer/find support. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. experiences mental illness in a given year. In addition, the NAMI claims that approximately 1 in 25 adults in the U.S. experiences a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities.

 Learning more about the types of disorders is essential. The most common types of mental health disorders, include, but are not limited to:

  • Anxiety Disorders: In most cases, anxiety disorders are diagnosed when the condition interferes with daily functioning or the patient has no control or inappropriate reactions and responses. A person with anxiety may experience feelings of fear and dread, as well as physical symptoms, such as sweating and a rapid heart, according to WebMD. Common types of anxiety disorders include panic disorder, social anxiety disorders, generalized anxiety disorder and specific phobias.
    • The most common symptoms of anxiety disorders, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, include:
      • Feelings of apprehension or dread
      • Feeling tense or jumpy
      • Restlessness or irritability
      • Anticipating the worst and being watchful for signs of danger
      • Pounding or racing heart and shortness of breath
      • Sweating, tremors and twitches
      • Headaches, fatigue and insomnia
      • Upset stomach, frequent urination or diarrhea


  • Psychotic Disorders: An individual diagnosed with a psychotic disorder experiences distorted notions in relation to both thinking and awareness. Individuals with psychotic disorder may hear voices or have hallucinations in addition to delusions that are false fixed beliefs. One common form of a psychotic disorder is schizophrenia.


  • Mood Disorders: Also dubbed as affective disorders, mood disorders, such as depression and bipolar, produce strong feelings that fluctuate from overwhelming sadness to periods of feeling extremely happy.
    • According to the NAMI, many individuals with mood disorders experience symptoms such as:
      • Changes in sleep
      • Changes in appetite
      • Lack of concentration
      • Loss of energy
      • Lack of interest in activities
      • Hopelessness or guilty thoughts
      • Changes in movement (less activity or agitation)
      • Physical aches and pains
      • Suicidal thoughts


  • Personality Disorders: The most common types of personality disorders include obsessive-compulsive personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder and paranoid personality disorder. These disorders feature personality traits that alter thinking and behavior that does not always fit the expectations of society and interfere with normal functioning.


  • Eating Disorders: People who possess an eating disorder feature extreme behaviors, attitudes and emotions that are related to not just food, but also weight. The most common types of food disorders include binge eating, anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa.
    • The most common symptoms of an eating disorder includes denying themselves food, an obsession with weight loss or weight gain, irritability, fear of eating in public and social withdrawal.


  • Impulse Control Disorders: With these types of disorders, individuals are unable to resist impulses and strong urges to harm themselves or others. Addictions to alcohol and drugs are commonly classified as impulse control disorders, but additional disorders such as compulsive gambling, kleptomania and pyromania.


  • PTSD or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Commonly occurring after a traumatic event, PTSD causes individuals to feel emotionally numb and is often accompanied by terrifying memories of the traumatic event and frightening thoughts.
    • The NAMI asserts that an individual with PTSD often experiences the following symptoms:
      • Re-experiencing type symptoms, such as recurring, involuntary and intrusive distressing memories, which can include flashbacks of the trauma, bad dreams and intrusive thoughts
      • Avoidance, which can include staying away from certain places or objects that are reminders of the traumatic event. A person might actively avoid a place or person that might activate overwhelming symptoms.
      • Cognitive and mood symptoms, which can include trouble recalling the event, negative thoughts about one’s s A person may also feel numb, guilty, worried or depressed and have difficulty remembering the traumatic event.

Finding the Support and Care You Need

A mental health disorder can affect individuals at any stage of life and age. In some cases, the symptoms may be mild, but mental health disorders can also be life threatening.

 This is why support and care is essential at the onset of a mental health disorder. It’s important to learn as much about the symptoms and care needed to help support your loved ones. Tap into resources from local and national organizations to boost your knowledge of how the disorder affects everyone involved and to also identify coping skills. In addition, lean on caregivers, such as the qualified staff from Care Indeed, to help with daily living.

 Life with any type of mental health disorder is challenging and learning how to accept the challenge is the first step in living life. While you may struggle with grief and loss when coping with the symptoms as a patient, caregiver or family member, the support you need is only a click away.

 Care Indeed is committed to providing you the support and in-home caregivers who understand your challenges and daily struggles at work and home. Learn more about how to get the support you need while living with Dementiatoday