Most Common Mental Disorders

A mental health disorder can affect people of every sex, age, gender, ethnicity, or socioeconomic group. Disorders can range from mild.

A mental health disorder can affect people of every sex, age, gender, ethnicity, or socioeconomic group. Disorders can range from mild to severe and like any medical condition, many factors can trigger illness. Those with mental disorders struggle to cope with everyday life because of their altered thinking, moods or behaviour. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 50% of individuals will be diagnosed with a mental illness in their lifetime. While there are many mental health disorders, some are more common than others. Below are ten of the most common mental illnesses affecting American adults.

  1. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): General disorders of autism include autistic disorder, Asperger’s syndrome and atypical autism (pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified).
  2. Schizophrenia: Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness that can cause people to have delusions, hallucinate or show no emotion at all. Individuals with schizophrenia can have difficulty thinking, managing emotions, making decisions, and relating to others. Although the disorder can occur at any age, the average onset tends to be in the late teens and early 20s for men and late 20’s to early 30s for women.
  3. Bipolar Disorder: Bipolar disorder is one of several mood disorders that leave people with emotions swinging from very high (manic) to hazardously low (depressive). The extremes are so severe that they can damage relationships, result in poor academic or work performance and possibly lead to suicide. It is estimated that 2.6% of the US population is diagnosed with bipolar disorder and over 83% of those cases are severe. Most people with bipolar disorder are diagnosed by age 25.
  4. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): OCD is characterized by repetitive, unwanted, obsessions and irrational, excessive urges for certain actions. Individuals with OCD will often see symptoms in childhood, adolescence, or young adulthood. Typically, symptoms will last more than an hour each day and will interfere with daily functioning.
  5. Anxiety Disorders: Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health condition in the US and can include OCD, panic attacks and phobias. It is estimated that 40 million adults have an anxiety disorder. We all have anxiety at some point in our lives, but when feelings of intense fear and distress limit daily functioning, an anxiety disorder may be present.
  6. Phobias: Anxiety disorder also comes in the form of phobias. Social anxiety disorder, or social phobia, occurs when everyday situations cause someone to become self-conscious and anxious. They spend days and weeks worrying about a single situation. As with panic disorder, social anxiety can lead to agoraphobia, sometimes causing the sufferers to become so overwhelmed with fear that they avoid activities or even leave their homes.
  7. Substance Use Disorder: Mental health disorders and substance use disorders can co-occur, making treatment for both disorders necessary. More than one in four adults with serious mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, and personality disorders, also have a substance use disorder. Individuals with a dual diagnosis must receive treatment for both issues.
  8. Eating Disorders: Bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder are marked by extreme behaviours, which usually are rooted in complex biological and psychological causes, including depression and anxiety.
  9. Personality Disorders: Common disorders include antisocial personality disorder, avoidant personality disorder and borderline personality disorder.
  10. Mood Disorders: Mood disorders have varying degrees of severity and can be difficult to diagnose however, they are the most frequently diagnosed mental disorders. In addition to bipolar disorder, mood disorders include major depressive disorder and dysthymic disorder. Major depression is a debilitating illness that usually reoccurs throughout a person’s lifetime. Symptoms include fatigue, lack of focus, changes in appetite and thoughts of suicide. People with dysthymia have symptoms that are less severe but longer-lasting — for periods of at least two years. Other forms of depression include seasonal affective disorder and postpartum depression.