The 5 Most Common Mental Health Disorders

Mental health illnesses are more common than you might think. In fact, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), one in five American adults experiences a mental health disorder in a given year. While mental health disorders can affect anyone, there are five that are particularly common. These are anxiety disorders, mood disorders, psychotic disorders, dementia and eating disorders. Let’s take a closer look at each of these conditions.

Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders are the most common type of mental health disorder in America, impacting approximately 40 million adults. People with anxiety disorders experience frequent fear and apprehension that can be debilitating.

While there are many different types of anxiety disorders, they all share some common symptoms, including feelings of panic, problems sleeping and physical symptoms such as racing heart or difficulty breathing. 

There are many effective treatments available for anxiety disorders. With the right support, you can learn to manage your symptoms and live a full and healthy life.

Common types of anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and social anxiety disorder.

Mood Disorders

According to the National Institutes of Mental Health, an estimated 1 in 10 adults suffer from some type of mood disorder. While it’s normal to experience mood swings occasionally, people with mood disorders live with more persistent and severe symptoms that can disrupt their daily lives.

Depending on the specific disorder, people may experience an ongoing sad, anxious or “empty” mood; feelings of hopelessness; low self-esteem; excessive guilt; decreased energy and more.

Therapy, antidepressants and self-care can help treat mood disorders.

The most common mood disorders are:

Major Depressive Disorder: This is characterized by a depressed mood that lasts for at least two weeks along with other symptoms like fatigue, sleep disturbances, changes in appetite and difficulty concentrating.

Dysthymia (persistent depressive disorder): This is a less severe form of depression that lasts for at least two years. People with this disorder may have episodes of major depression during that time.

Bipolar disorder: This is characterized by swings between two extreme states, known as mania and depression. Mania is marked by inflated self-esteem, decreased need for sleep and racing thoughts, while depression includes all the symptoms of major depressive disorder.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD): This form of depression is more common in the winter months when there is less natural sunlight. People with SAD may experience symptoms of depression, such as fatigue and low mood, along with cravings for carbohydrates and weight gain.

Psychotic Disorders

Psychotic disorders are mental disorders that change an individual’s sense of reality. People with psychotic disorders may have problems knowing what’s real and what’s not.

Psychotic disorders can make it hard for people to think clearly, manage their emotions, make decisions and relate to others.

The cause of psychotic disorders is not known, but scientists believe that certain viruses, problems with how specific brain circuits work, extreme stress or trauma and some forms of drug abuse may play a role in the development of psychotic disorders.

There is no one ‘cure’ for psychotic disorders, but with treatment, most people with psychotic disorders can live healthy, productive lives. Early diagnosis and treatment can make a big difference in managing the symptoms of a psychotic disorder.

Examples of psychotic disorders include schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, brief psychotic disorder, delusional disorder, and substance-induced psychotic disorder.


Dementia is a term that is used to describe a decline in cognitive abilities. This can include memory loss, difficulty with problem-solving and difficulty with language.

Dementia is not a single disorder but is instead a group of conditions that can cause these problems.

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia, accounting for 60-80% of all cases.

It is a progressive disease, which means that it gets worse over time.

People with Alzheimer’s disease may eventually lose the ability to carry out simple tasks and will need full-time care.

While there is no cure for dementia, there are treatments available that can help to improve the quality of life for those affected by it.

Eating Disorders

It’s important to remember that eating disorders are about more than food. They’re complex mental disorders that often require intervention from medical and psychological experts.

These conditions cause unhealthy eating habits to develop, such as an obsession with food, body weight or body shape.

In severe cases, eating disorders can have serious health consequences and may even result in death, if left untreated.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an eating disorder, it’s important to seek professional help. With treatment, many people with eating disorders can recover and live healthy, fulfilling lives.


Mental health illnesses are serious conditions that should not be taken lightly. They can cause a lot of damage to anindividual if left untreated.

The five mental health illnesses discussed in this article are some of the most common, but many others exist.

It is important to seek help if you or someone you know is suffering from any type of mental illness.

Treatment options are available and with the right support, individuals can recover and lead healthy lives.


Jonas Hill Hospital & Clinic, a division of Caldwell Memorial Hospital provides our community with safe, dignified and integrated care for adult patients experiencing an acute mental health need. We provide hope, treatment, and healing through a holistic program of evidence-based psychiatric treatment, team-based medical care, and education provided by engaging and dedicated professionals in a safe and healing environment. Contact us today for more information. A safe space to heal.