People of all sexes, ages, genders, races, and socioeconomic groups can suffer from mental health disorders. Many factors can trigger illness, and illnesses can range from mild to severe. In general, people with mental disorders find it difficult to cope with everyday life because of their altered thinking, moods, or behaviors.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that more than half of all people will be diagnosed with a mental illness at some point in their life. Though there are many different mental disorders, some are more common than others. This article examines ten of the most common mental illnesses among American adults.
1. Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety is something we all experience from time to time in our lives, but when these feelings dominate everyday life, an anxiety disorder may be to blame. Anxiety disorders account for the most significant mental health disorders in the United States, including OCD, panic attacks, and phobias. More than 40 million adults are estimated to have anxiety disorders.
2. Bipolar Disorder
A person with bipolar disorder experiences dramatic changes in their mood, energy, and ability to think clearly. This disorder causes extreme highs and lows, known as mania and depression. People can go for years between episodes without having symptoms. Without treatment, bipolar disorder usually gets worse. Fortunately, many patients with bipolar disorder can lead healthy and normal lives with a suitable treatment plan that entails psychotherapy, medications, a healthy lifestyle, and early recognition of symptoms.
When we talk about depression or depressive disorder, it is more than just feeling sad or going through a difficult time. The condition can influence the individual’s mood, thinking, and behavior and requires understanding and professional treatment. The effects of untreated depression can be devastating, not only for those who suffer from it but also for their loved ones. The good news is that many people can and do get better with early detection, diagnosis, therapy, and a treatment plan that includes medication, psychotherapy, and healthy lifestyle choices.
4. Dissociative Disorders
Dissociative disorders (also known as dissociative episodes) can be described as involuntary escapes from reality. Disconnection of thoughts, identity, consciousness, and memory are all examples of dissociating. People of all ages and backgrounds can suffer from dissociative disorders. According to research, approximately 75% of Americans experience one or more episodes of depersonalization/derealization at some point in their lives. Around 2% of those include chronic episodes.
5. Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Hyperactivity, inattention, and impulsivity are hallmarks of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Most often, the diagnosis is during adolescence. According to some estimates, 8.8% of children between the ages of 4 and 17 have ADHD. The disorder is not unique to children, however. About 4.4% of adults 18-44 are known to suffer from ADHD.
6. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
A person’s mental health can be affected by traumatic events such as accidents, assaults, military combat, and natural disasters. Many people will have extreme short-term reactions during life-threatening incidents, but some will develop longer-term symptoms, leading to PTSD. There is often a correlation between PTSD symptoms and disorders such as substance abuse, anxiety, and depression. A comprehensive medical evaluation best provides individual treatment plans.
Schizophrenia affects the ability to think clearly, control emotions, make decisions and relate to others. Having schizophrenia is a lifelong illness involving many complex problems. While it is difficult to estimate the exact prevalence of schizophrenia in the United States, estimates range from 0.25% to 0.64% of American adults. While schizophrenia can occur at any age, the average onset age for men is in their late teens to early 20s, and for women, it is in their late 20s to early 30s. Schizophrenia is rare in children and adults younger than 12 and older than 40. If diagnosed and treated appropriately, you can manage schizophrenia to lead a fulfilling life.
8. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
Symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) include repetitive, unwanted, intrusive thoughts (obsessions) and irrational, excessive urges to perform certain behaviors (compulsions). Despite sometimes knowing that their thoughts and behavior don’t make sense, people with OCD are often powerless to stop them. A person typically develops symptoms during childhood, adolescence, or early adulthood, although males often show signs younger than females.
9. Eating Disorders
A preoccupation with food and weight that makes it difficult to focus on other parts of your life may signify an eating disorder. When left untreated, eating disorders can control a person’s life and cause serious, even fatal medical complications. Women are more likely to suffer from eating disorders than men, but they can affect people of any age or gender. Adolescence and early adulthood are common times for symptoms to appear.
10. Addiction & Substance Abuse
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 5th edition (DSM-5) classifies addiction to prescription drugs and alcohol as mental health disorders. There are severe, sometimes life-threatening, side effects associated with different drugs. Almost all addicts and substance abusers struggle with co-occurring disorders. Mose of those co-occurring disorders means they also suffer from depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or other untreated illnesses in addition.
If you or a loved one is struggling with a mental health disorder, Life Adjustment Team can help. We are eager to help you get your life back on the right track and feel better so you can take on the world again.