The 16 most common mental disorders

Mental disorders are commonly diagnosed these days, and everyone knows more or less what depression, anxiety disorder, bulimia mean, Etc. However, some are more common than others, so the more common ones deserve extra attention.

Psychopathologies affect a large number of people. In fact, experts say that one in three people suffer or will suffer from some type of mental disorder in their lifetime.

Mental disorders that affect more people

But what are the most common disorders? What are these disorders that affect more people?

I present them below a brief explanation of the most common mental disorders.

1. Anxiety disorders

Anxiety is a normal reaction of people to situations of stress and uncertainty. Now an anxiety disorder it is diagnosed when various anxiety symptoms cause anxiety or some degree of functional impairment in the life of the individual who suffers from it.

A person with an anxiety disorder may find it difficult to function in different areas of their life: social and family relationships, work, school, etc. There are different types of anxiety disorders:

1.1. Panic attack

A panic attack is the sudden, intense onset of fear or dread, often associated with feelings of near death. Symptoms include shortness of breath, palpitations, chest pain, and discomfort.

1.2. phobic disorders

Many people admit that they are afraid of snakes or spiders, but they can tolerate this fear. People who suffer from a phobia, on the other hand, are not able to tolerate this fear. These experience irrational fear when confronted with the phobic stimulus, be it an object, animal, or situation, and this usually ends in avoidance behavior.

There are different phobic stimuli that trigger this irrational fear: Fly a plane, drive a vehicle, elevators, clowns, dentists, blood, storms, etc. Some of the most common are:

1.2.1. Social phobia

Social phobia is a very common anxiety disorder and should not be confused with shyness. It is a strong irrational fear of social interaction situations, as the person suffering from this disorder is extremely anxious to be judged by others, to be the center of attention, to have the idea of ​​being criticized or humiliated by other individuals and even talking on the phone with other people.

Therefore, he is unable to make public presentations, eat in restaurants or in front of someone, go to social events, meet new people …

1.2.2. Agoraphobia

Agoraphobia, as usual, typically defines irrational fear in open spaces, such as wide avenues, parks, or natural environments. But this definition is not entirely true.

The phobic stimulus is not the parks or the main avenues, but the situation of having an anxiety attack in those places, where it may be difficult or embarrassing to escape, or where it is not possible to receive help.

1.3. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Post-traumatic stress disorder manifests itself when the person has been exposed to a traumatic situation that has caused them a stressful psychological experience, Which can be disabling. Symptoms include: nightmares, feelings of anger, emotional irritability or fatigue, disaffection with others, etc., when the person relives the traumatic event.

Often the person will try to avoid situations or activities that bring back memories of the event that caused the trauma.

1.4. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a condition in which the individual experiences intrusive thoughts, ideas or images. It is an anxiety disorder, and is therefore characterized by being associated with a feeling of fear, anxiety and continuous stress so that it is a problem for daily life and has a negative impact on the quality of life of the person.

Thoughts causing discomfort (obsessions) cause the person to perform certain rituals or actions (compulsions) to reduce anxiety and feel better.

Obsessions include: fear of pollution, feelings of doubt (for example, will I have turned off the gas?), Thoughts of hurting someone, thoughts that go against a person’s religious beliefs, among others. Compulsions include: checking, counting, washing, repeatedly putting things away, etc.

1.5. Generalized anxiety disorder

Worrying every now and then is normal behavior, however when worry and feelings of anxiety continually affect and interfere with the normalcy of an individual’s life this person may have generalized anxiety disorder.

Therefore, the disorder is characterized by chronic worry and anxiety. It’s as if there is always something to fear: problems with studies, work or a relationship, an accident leaving home, etc. Some of the symptoms are: nausea, fatigue, muscle tension, problems concentrating, sleeping problems, etc.

2. Mood disorders

There are different types of mood disorders or affective disorders and, as the name suggests, its main underlying characteristic would be an alteration in the individual’s mood. The most common are:

2.1. Bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder can affect the way a person feels, thinks and acts. It is characterized by exaggerated mood swings, from mania to major depression.

Therefore, it goes beyond simple mood swings, that is, emotional instability: in fact, it affects many areas of life, and besides being one of the most common disorders, it is common to occur alongside obesity. The cycles of bipolar disorder last for days, weeks or months and seriously interfere with the work and social relationships of the sufferer.

Bipolar disorder can rarely be treated without medication because it is necessary to stabilize the mood of the patient. During episodes of mania, a person may even quit their job, increase their debt, and feel energized even though they only sleep two hours a day. During depressive episodes, the same person may not even get out of bed. There are different types of bipolar disorder, and in addition, there is a mild version of the disorder called cyclothymia.

2.2. Depression

Many people feel depressed at some point in their life. Feelings of discouragement, frustration, and even hopelessness are normal in the face of disappointment and can last for several days before gradually subsiding. However, for some people, these feelings can last for months and years, causing serious problems in your day-to-day life.

the depression it is a serious and debilitating psychopathology that affects the way an individual feels, thinks and acts. This can cause physical and psychological symptoms. For example: ingestion problems, sleeping problems, discomfort, fatigue, etc.

To learn more about the types of depression, you can read our article:

  • “Are there different types of depression?”

3. Eating disorders

There are different types of eating disorders. The most common are:

3.1. nervous anorexia

Anorexia is characterized by an obsession with controlling the amount of food eaten. One of its most characteristic symptoms is distortion of body image.

People with anorexia limit their food intake by dieting, fasting, and even exercising excessively. They barely eat and the little they eat causes them a intense feeling of discomfort.

3.2. Nervous bulimia

Bulimia is an eating disorder characterized by abnormal eating habits, with episodes of massive food intake followed by maneuvers to eliminate these calories (induce vomiting, consume laxatives, etc.). After these episodes, it is common for the subject to feel sad, cranky, and self-pity.

Bulimia nervosa, in addition to being one of the most common disorders, it is associated with alterations in the brain. Among them, the degradation of white matter (where the thick sets of neuronal axons pass) towards the radiated crown, which is linked among other things to the processing of flavors.

3.3. Binge eating disorder

Binge eating disorder is a serious disorder in which the individual suffering from it frequently consumes large amounts of food and feels he has lost control during the bing. After eating too much, you usually experience severe anxiety or worry about weight.

4. Psychotic disorders

the psychotic disorders are serious psychopathologies in which people lose touch with reality. Two of the main symptoms are delusions and hallucinations. Illusions are false beliefs, like the idea that someone is following. Hallucinations are false perceptions, such as hearing, seeing, or hearing something that is not there.

Unlike delusions, which are mistaken beliefs of reality about an existing fact or object, i.e. a distortion of an external stimulus, hallucinations are entirely invented by the mind and are not the product of the distortion of an object presentSomething is perceived without regard to external stimuli. For example, hearing voices coming out of an outlet. The most common psychotic disorders are:

4.1. Delusional disorder

the Delusional disorder or paranoia is a psychotic disorder characterized by one or more delusions. In other words, these people are totally convinced of things that are not true. For example, asking someone to chase them away to hurt them.

4.2. schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is another psychotic disorder, but in this case,the person suffers from hallucinations and disturbing thoughts that isolate them from social activity. Schizophrenia is a very serious illness, and although there is no cure, there are effective treatments available so that patients with this disorder can enjoy their lives.

5. Personality disorders

A personality trouble is a rigid and permanent pattern in the behavior of a person that causes discomfort or difficulties in their relationships and environment. Personality disorders appear in adolescence or early adulthood. The most common are:

5.1. Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

Borderline or borderline personality disorder is characterized by people who suffer from it they have a weak and changeable personality, and they doubt everything. Times of calm can turn instantly and without warning into times of anger, anxiety or hopelessness. These people live their emotions to the fullest and romantic relationships are intense because they often idolize the other person to the extreme.

Some of its symptoms are: intense anger and inability to control it, frantic efforts to avoid abandonment, real or imagined, alternation between extremes of idealization and worthlessness in interpersonal relationships, a distinctly self-image unstable and chronic feelings of emptiness.

5.2. Antisocial disorder (TASP)

The individual suffering from this disorder (not well known by labels such as psychopathy or sociopathy) is characterized by his tendency not to relate to society, avoiding any interaction. The different symptoms and behaviors that characterize TASP include: theft, aggression, tendency to loneliness, violence, lies …

Additionally, people affected by TASP tend to be shy, depressed, and suffer from social anxiety. This last point is due to their fear of being rejected. However, psychological therapy is very effective in dealing with the drawbacks of antisocial disorder.

Bibliographical references:

  • Metter, L. (2013). The integrity of white matter is reduced to bulimia nervosa. International Journal of Eating Disorders, 46 (3), pp. 264 -273.
  • Veale, D. (2014). Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. British Medical Journal, 348, 348: g2183.
  • Weeks, J. (2013). Avoid looking at social anxiety disorder. Depression and Anxiety, 30 (8), pages 749-756.
  • Zhao, Z. (2016). The potential association between obesity and bipolar disorder: a meta-analysis. Journal of Affective Disorders, 202, pages 120 to 123.

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