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Mental disorders: Types, Treatment and Support

Mental disorders: Types, Treatment and Support

Mental disorders, often viewed through a veil of misconceptions, remain a prevalent concern globally. They affect millions of lives, shattering individuals’ normal functioning and casting a shadow over societal well-being. But what if we told you that understanding mental disorders isn’t an insurmountable task? What if the key to demystifying these complex conditions lies in seeking knowledge, fostering empathy, and building resilience? Let’s embark on this enlightening journey, shall we?

Key Takeaways

  • Mental disorders, including anxiety, depressive, bipolar, and eating disorders, are more prevalent than often recognized, affecting significant portions of the global population with onset typically by age 24.

  • A complex interplay of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors contribute to the risk of developing mental health conditions, with family history, trauma, and everyday habits playing influential roles.

  • Treatment for mental disorders involves a comprehensive diagnosis process and often includes a combination of medication, therapy, and alternative approaches, with support from loved ones being critical for managing and recovering from the conditions.

Common Mental Disorders

Mental disorders

The spectrum of mental health is vast, encompassing a multitude of conditions, including mental health disorder, that impact our thoughts, emotions, behaviors, and overall quality of life. Some common mental health conditions include:

  • Anxiety disorders

  • Depression

  • Bipolar disorder

  • Psychotic disorders

  • Schizophrenia

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

  • Eating disorders

These mental health conditions are more common than one might think, affecting three-fourths of all cases by the age of 24.

We will explore some of these frequently occurring mental illnesses, illuminating their traits, frequency, and possible outcomes if they are ignored.

Anxiety Disorders

Imagine living in constant fear, worry, and distress. This is the reality for those battling anxiety disorders, a group of mental health conditions characterized by excessive fear and worry. The spectrum of anxiety disorders is wide, including conditions like:

  • Agoraphobia

  • Generalized anxiety disorder

  • Panic disorder

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder

Each with distinct symptoms and triggers.

Approximately 3.6 percent of the global population, or about 264 million individuals, are affected by anxiety disorders, demonstrating their global prevalence, not just an isolated issue.

Depressive Disorders

Depressive disorders, another category of common mental health conditions, are characterized by persistent feelings of sadness and a marked loss of interest in daily activities. Major depressive disorder, one of the most common types of mood disorders, is characterized by a persistent feeling of sadness, a loss of interest in activities, low mood, a lack of energy, and difficulties with daily activities.

Depressive disorders impact around 280 million people globally, accounting for about 5% of the adult population, emphasizing the importance of awareness, comprehension, and efficient treatment.

Bipolar Disorder

Navigating the world of mental health, we encounter bipolar disorder, a serious mental illness characterized by recurring episodes of depression and mania. Individuals with bipolar disorder may exhibit cycles of:

  • Elevated and depressed moods

  • Feelings of sadness, worthlessness, anxiety, guilt

  • Lack of interest in activities

  • Fatigue, lack of motivation

  • Feelings of hopelessness

It is important to seek professional help if you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of bipolar disorder.

Bipolar disorder, with an estimated global lifetime prevalence of 2.4%, touches the lives of around 7 million adults in the United States annually.

Eating Disorders

Next, we shift our focus to eating disorders, which are marked by unusual eating habits and an intense fixation on body weight. These disorders, which include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder, can have severe health risks and complications.

The prevalence of eating disorders varies significantly across different age groups, often beginning between the ages of 16 to 22, with 95% of all cases occurring by the age of 25.

Risk Factors and Causes

Mental disorders

Venturing further into the realm of mental disorders, it’s evident that these conditions don’t just spontaneously emerge. They are often the result of a complex interplay of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors.

Comprehending these risk factors can offer essential insights into the causes of mental disorders and their effective management.

Genetic Factors

Our genetic makeup plays a critical role in our overall health, including our mental health. Genetic predisposition can significantly impact the likelihood of developing a mental disorder, with certain genetic glitches and mutations predisposing individuals to a higher risk.

The role of family history is also significant in the emergence of mental disorders, as shared family factors contribute to the likelihood of psychiatric conditions.

Environmental Factors

Our environment, too, has a profound impact on our mental health. Traumatic experiences, prolonged stress, and substance abuse are all environmental factors that can contribute to the development of mental disorders. Moreover, our exposure to different environmental elements such as:

  • green spaces

  • noise

  • air pollution

  • housing conditions

Various factors can influence our mental health problems.

Lifestyle Factors

Our lifestyle decisions, including diet, exercise, and sleep, significantly impact our mental health. Ensuring a balanced diet, regular exercise, adequate sleep, and effective stress management strategies can help mitigate the onset of mental health disorders and manage existing conditions.

Diagnosis and Treatment 

Mental disorders

Once mental disorders have been identified, the next steps involve diagnosis and treatment. Diagnosis is a critical step in understanding what’s happening and determining the best course of action.

Treatment, on the other hand, typically involves a combination of medications and therapy, with the ultimate goal of managing symptoms, improving overall well-being, and restoring normal functioning.

Diagnosis Process

Diagnosing mental disorders involves a comprehensive and meticulous process that includes:

  • Physical check-ups

  • Psychological evaluations

  • In-depth assessment based on collected data

  • Thorough medical history

This process is essential for accurate diagnosis and the formulation of an effective treatment plan.


Medication frequently forms an essential component of the treatment strategy for mental disorders. Medications such as:

  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs)

  • Antipsychotics

  • Mood stabilizers

  • Benzodiazepines

and other pharmaceutical treatments are commonly used to target biochemical imbalances and manage symptoms. While these medications can be effective, like all drugs, they can have side effects.


Another key element in the treatment of mental disorders is therapy. It provides a platform for individuals to discuss their problems with a trained professional and address underlying psychological issues.

Types of therapy can range from individual therapy to group therapy, each with its unique benefits.

Alternative Approaches

In addition to medication and therapy, alternative methods can also prove beneficial in dealing with mental disorders. Some of these methods include:

  • Yoga and meditation

  • Dietary supplements

  • Exercise

  • Art therapy

  • Music therapy

  • Acupuncture

  • Massage therapy

  • Mindfulness practices

These individual strategies can promote recovery and overall well-being.

Mental disorders

Supporting a Loved One with a Mental Disorder

It can be difficult to see a loved one grappling with a mental disorder. Providing the right kind of support can make a significant difference in their journey towards recovery. This involves recognizing signs of distress, offering emotional and practical support, and finding professional help when necessary.

Recognizing Signs of Distress

Identifying signs of distress in a loved one can signal when they might be battling a mental health condition. This involves being observant and sensitive to changes in their:

  • Behavior

  • Emotions

  • Thoughts

  • Overall well-being

Offering Support

Supporting a loved one with a mental disorder entails:

  • Offering emotional support

  • Providing practical help

  • Offering informative guidance

  • Being there to listen

  • Helping them find reliable sources of information

  • Guiding them towards professional help

Finding Professional Help

Securing professional assistance from mental health professionals, such as a mental health professional, for a loved one battling a mental disorder is a key step. This involves identifying the right kind of mental health care provider and ensuring they receive the appropriate treatment and care.

Coping Strategies and Self-Help

Those wrestling with mental disorders can find immense benefit in coping strategies and self-help techniques. These strategies can help:

  • Manage symptoms

  • Build resilience

  • Improve overall well-being

  • Promote recovery

Stress Management

The ability to manage stress is a potent tool in the preservation of mental health. Effective stress management techniques, such as relaxation exercises and time management, can help reduce the impact of stress on mental health.

Building Resilience

The process of building resilience incorporates the development of coping skills that assist individuals in managing mental health challenges more effectively. This includes fostering social connections, maintaining a positive outlook, and developing effective coping strategies.

Self-Care Practices

Practicing self-care, which includes regular physical activity, a balanced diet, and sufficient sleep, is crucial for sustaining mental health and managing symptoms of mental disorders. These practices can promote overall well-being and aid in recovery.


Navigating the world of mental health can be daunting, but knowledge is power. By understanding the common mental disorders, their risk factors, and available treatments, we can better support those struggling and work towards a healthier, more empathetic society. Remember - mental health is not a destination, but a journey, and every step, no matter how small, is progress.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 10 types of mental disorder?

There are various types of mental disorders that can lead to stigma, discrimination, and human rights violations.

What is the hardest mental illness to live with?

Living with borderline personality disorder can be extremely challenging due to the constant struggle to cope with intense and overwhelming emotions.

What is a chronic mental disorder?

A chronic mental disorder is a condition that consistently affects a person's cognition and/or emotions for at least three months or more. Common chronic illnesses include anxiety disorders, mood disorders, personality disorders, and psychotic disorders.

Do I have a mental illness or am I overreacting?

If your feelings of sadness, anger, or anxiety persist for longer than two weeks, it's important to seek professional help to determine if you have a mental illness or if you're experiencing a natural emotional response. Remember that it's always okay to seek support when you're struggling.

What are the most common mental disorders?

The most common mental disorders are anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, bipolar disorder, and eating disorders. These conditions can significantly impact a person's daily life.

Original content from the Upbility writing team. Reproduction of this article, in whole or in part, without credit to the publisher is prohibited.


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