Having a mental health disorder is not something to be ashamed of. Your brain is the most complex organ in your body, after all. Unfortunately, mental illnesses are often misunderstood and can be challenging to diagnose. While some are more common, we will discuss four common mental health disorders: depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and eating disorders.
Depression is a mood disorder that affects how you think, feel, and behave. It can be triggered by genetics, life experiences, or a chemical imbalance in the brain. Depression typically causes sadness, hopelessness, and worthlessness that build up over time.
Depression is not a sign of weakness; it is a condition that can be treated with therapy, medication, or both. If you suspect you suffer from depression, it’s essential to seek help from your doctor so they can provide treatment options tailored to your needs and lifestyle.
Anxiety is a feeling of fear, dread, or apprehension. It's completely normal to feel anxiety when faced with stress. Anxiety can be triggered by many things, including stress, trauma, and loss. This can lead to feelings of panic and fear that you won't be able to handle the situation.
Anxiety disorders affect 40 million adults in the U.S., according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). People who struggle with anxiety often have trouble functioning normally because they are so focused on their symptoms—nervousness, worry, restlessness, irritability, and muscle tension—that they withdraw from normal activities out of fear of having another panic attack or feeling overwhelmed by anxiety symptoms.
There are several types of anxiety disorders: generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), social phobia, and specific phobias such as arachnophobia (fear of spiders). Although these conditions differ in their causes and symptoms, some strategies work for all types: therapy combined with a healthy diet, breathing exercises, and daily exercise in nature may decrease symptoms associated with each disorder.
Schizophrenia is a mental disorder that causes people to have difficulty distinguishing between real and unreal experiences, thinking clearly, and behaving normally. People with schizophrenia may hear voices or see things that aren’t actually there. They may believe that other people are reading their minds, controlling their thoughts, or plotting to harm them.
Many people with schizophrenia seem perfectly normal at first. However, it's not until they are treated for the illness that friends and family members realize something is wrong. Schizophrenia can occur at any age and does require professional treatment.
Eating disorders are severe mental health conditions that can cause significant physical harm. The two most common eating disorders are anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, but other types also exist. If you think you might have an eating disorder, it’s essential to seek help right away.
If you want to learn more about getting treatment for a mental health condition, please visit the NIMH website at www.nimh.nih.gov/findhelp or call 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
Depression is America's most common mental health disorder, followed by anxiety and schizophrenia. Eating disorders come at number four on our list of most common mental illnesses.
Sleep disorders are also common, with nearly one in five people experiencing some type of sleep problem. The problems can range from an inability to fall asleep or stay asleep through the night to restless leg syndrome and sleep apnea (a condition where your airway becomes blocked as you sleep). People who suffer from chronic pain also have a higher risk of having trouble falling asleep because pain medication can interfere with normal body functions that help us fall asleep.