Types of Mental disorders and what they mean

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A mental disorder is characterized by a clinically significant disturbance in an individual’s cognition, emotional regulation, or behavior.  It is usually associated with distress or impairment in important areas of functioning. There are many different types of mental disorders.  Mental disorders may also be referred to as mental health conditions. here as some thatr WHO has highlighted

Anxiety Disorders

 Anxiety disorders are characterized by excessive fear and worry and related behavioral disturbances.

Symptoms are severe enough to result in significant distress or significant impairment in functioning.

There are several different kinds of anxiety disorders

  •       Generalised anxiety disorder (characterized by excessive worry)
  •       Panic disorder (characterized by panic attacks)
  •       Social anxiety disorder (characterized by excessive fear and worry in social situations),
  •       Separation anxiety disorder (characterized by excessive fear or anxiety about separation from those individuals to whom the person has a deep emotional bond), and others.

Effective psychological treatment exists, and depending on the age and severity, medication may also be considered.


Depression is different from usual mood fluctuations and short-lived emotional responses to challenges in everyday life. 

During a depressive episode, the person experiences depressed mood (feeling sad, irritable, empty) or a loss of pleasure or interest in activities, for most of the day, nearly every day, for at least two weeks.

Several other symptoms are also present, which may include

  •       Poor concentration
  •       Feelings of excessive guilt or low self-worth
  •       Hopelessness about the future,
  •       Thoughts about dying or suicide
  •       Disrupted sleep
  •       Changes in appetite or weight
  •       And feeling especially tired or low in energy.

People with depression are at an increased risk of suicide. Yet, effective psychological treatment exists, and depending on the age and severity, medication may also be considered.

Bipolar Disorder

People with bipolar disorder experience alternating depressive episodes with periods of manic symptoms. 

During a depressive episode, the person experiences depressed mood (feeling sad, irritable, empty) or a loss of pleasure or interest in activities, for most of the day, nearly every day. 

Manic symptoms may include

  •       Euphoria or irritability
  •       Increased activity or energy
  •       Talkativeness
  •       Racing thoughts
  •       Increased self-esteem
  •       Decreased need for sleep
  •       Distractibility
  •       Impulsive reckless behaviour. 

People with bipolar disorder are at an increased risk of suicide. Yet effective treatment options exist including psychoeducation, reduction of stress and strengthening of social functioning, and medication.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

The prevalence of PTSD and other mental disorders is high in conflict-affected settings. PTSD may develop following exposure to an extremely threatening or horrific event or series of events.

It is characterised by all of the following

  1. Re-experiencing the traumatic event or events in the present (intrusive memories, flashbacks, or nightmares)
  2. Avoidance of thoughts and memories of the event(s), or avoidance of activities, situations, or people reminiscent of the event(s)
  3. Persistent perceptions of heightened current threat.

These symptoms persist for at least several weeks and cause significant impairment in functioning. Effective psychological treatment exists.


Schizophrenia affects approximately 24 million people or 1 in 300 people worldwide. People with schizophrenia have a life expectancy 10-20 years below that of the general population. 

Schizophrenia is characterised by significant impairments in perception and changes in behaviour.  Symptoms may include

  •       Persistent delusions
  •       Hallucinations
  •       Disorganised thinking,
  •       Highly disorganised behaviour, or extreme agitation. 

People with schizophrenia may experience persistent difficulties with their cognitive functioning.   Yet, a range of effective treatment options exist, including medication, psychoeducation, family interventions, and psychosocial rehabilitation. 

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, involve abnormal eating and preoccupation with food as well as prominent body weight and shape concerns.

The symptoms or behaviours result in significant risk or damage to health, significant distress, or significant impairment of functioning.

Anorexia nervosa often has its onset during adolescence or early adulthood and is associated with premature death due to medical complications or suicide.


Disruptive behavior and dissocial disorders

This disorder, also known as conduct disorder, is one of two disruptive behaviour and dissocial disorders, the other is oppositional defiant disorder. 

Disruptive behaviour and dissocial disorders are characterised by persistent behaviour problems such as persistently defiant or disobedient to behaviours that persistently violate the basic rights of others or major age-appropriate societal norms, rules, or laws.

Onset of disruptive and dissocial disorders, is commonly, though not always, during childhood.

Neurodevelopmental disorders

Neurodevelopmental disorders are behavioural and cognitive disorders, that arise during the developmental period, and involve significant difficulties in the acquisition and execution of specific intellectual, motor, language, or social functions.

Effective treatment options exist including psychosocial interventions, behavioural interventions, occupational and speech therapy. For certain diagnoses and age groups, medication may also be considered.