Below is a list of brief descriptions of some mental illnesses.
If more information is needed, please visit the links listed at the bottom of the page.
Anxiety disorders are a group of mental illnesses that cause people to feel distressed or uneasy during situations in which most other people would not. PTSD and OCD are included in the list of anxiety disorders. Left untreated, anxiety disorders can cause serious negative affects in relationships or one's ability to complete tasks, such as those related to work or school. In the most severe cases, anxiety disorders can make daily activities such as shopping or going outside impossible.
It is a serious illness that affects one’s thoughts, feelings, behavior, mood and physical health. It is a life-long condition featuring alternating periods of wellness and recurrences of illness. Some individuals may only have one episode of depression in a lifetime, but often people have recurrent episodes. More than one-half of people who experience a first episode of depression will have at least one other episode during his/her lifetime. If untreated, episodes commonly last anywhere from a few months to many years. Depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide and represents a global public health challenge. As devastating as depression can be, it is very responsive to treatment and people are able to life full productive lives.
Bipolar disorder is a chronic illness with recurring episodes of mania and depression that can last from one day to a period of many months. This mental illness causes unusual and dramatic shifts in mood, energy and the ability to think clearly. Cycles of high (manic) and low (depressive) moods may follow an unusual pattern that deviates from the typical ups and downs experienced by most.
Eating disorders are extremely challenging mental illnesses to contend with and overcome. Untreated, they can result in severe medical complications and even death. Studies suggest that nearly one-in-twenty people will experience symptoms of an eating disorder at some point in their lives, and that proper diagnosis and treatment of these complex conditions is of critical importance. While many people may experience unhealthy eating habits and have concerns with their body image from time to time, people with eating disorders generally experience severe dysfunction resulting from their symptoms. Diagnoses are made by a trained clinicians based on the signs and symptoms exhibited.
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD/ADHD)
Attention-deficit (hyperactivity) disorder is a condition characterized by inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity. Although it has its onset and is usually diagnosed in childhood, it is by no means a disorder limited to children. For many, the condition persists into adolescence and adulthood.
Although it affects men and women with equal frequency, schizophrenia most often appears in men in their late teens or early twenties, while it appears in women in their late twenties or early thirties. Schizophrenia is a serious illness that interferes with a person's ability to think clearly, manage their emotions, make decisions, and relate to those around them in a meaningful way. Research has linked schizophrenia to multiple varied causes, including aspects of brain chemistry and structure, as well the impact of certain environments.
We realize that these descriptions are incomplete. For more detailed information on each of these disorders, including causes, signs, symptoms and treatment, please visit The National Institute on Mental Health (NIMH)
For a more comprehensive list of disorders please visit The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)