Common Psychiatric Disorders: Statistics & Treatment
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Nearly 1 in 5 adults in the United States will have a mental health condition in any given year. Almost half of us will meet the criteria for a mental health condition sometime in our lives. Now we understand that mental wellness is something people need to develop and maintain actively. But historically, the public health response to worsening mental health has focused more on eliminating symptoms than cultivating wellness.

In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic brought mental health to the forefront as a major public health concern across the world for the first time. The number of people living with forms of anxiety and depression took a sharp increase. Initial estimates show a 26% and 28% increase, respectively, for anxiety and major depressive disorders in just one year. People who had never experienced mental health symptoms started asking questions about how we can begin to approach conversations about some of the most difficult realities in our schools, workplaces and communities. 

This article will outline some of the most prevalent psychiatric disorders, including statistics on how common they are and what treatments are most effective.

The most common psychiatric disorders: Anxiety and depression

Anxiety and depression are considered the most common mental health conditions. Anxiety usually refers to generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), which is characterized by overwhelming worry and distress, often without a cause. Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a mood disorder characterized by all-encompassing negative thoughts and emotions, such as sadness and hopelessness. 

GAD and MDD are both distinct conditions, but they include symptoms and feelings that can show up as part of another condition like bipolar disorder or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Here’s a look at anxiety and depression by the numbers:

Mental health condition prevalence can also vary for specific populations:

Other common mental and behavioral disorders

Substance use disorders and eating disorders are mental health conditions that can require comprehensive and specialized care. People with these conditions often receive treatment in facilities that can address the complex nature of these disorders. This includes medical stabilization and monitoring as well as psychological and behavioral treatment. 

Another category of common mental and behavioral disorders is personality disorders. People with these conditions develop long standing patterns in their inner experience and behaviors that cause problems. These individuals often have a hard time connecting with others and managing distress. This can lead to impulsive actions, unstable relationships and poorer quality of life. With appropriate treatment, people with personality disorders can learn to modify their behaviors and improve their quality of life.

Treatment for anxiety and depression

The most clinically effective treatment strategy for common disorders like anxiety and depression is a combination of psychotherapy and medication. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is widely accepted as one of the most effective types of therapy. Interpersonal therapy and relational therapy can also have good outcomes, depending on the client and the symptoms they’re dealing with.

Genetics have a big role in the development of many mental health conditions. Symptoms often show up as the effects of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). Without the awareness or the skills to make sure our social, emotional and spiritual needs are met, we start to feel the negative effects of poor mental health.

The four core processes we need to function with a good quality of life involve managing our emotions, thoughts, behaviors and relationships. Self-efficacy in these four areas forms the basis of process-based therapy (PBT)

PBT combines several effective treatments in each client’s personalized treatment plan. We teach skills for emotion regulation and hold group sessions as well, which can be a very powerful part of an individual’s treatment journey. Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is another evidence-based modality that helps people learn skills to deal with intense emotions. It’s been effective for the treatment of conditions like borderline personality disorder and PTSD.

Access to care for mental health conditions

One of the biggest problems standing in the way of better mental health is access to care. The average ratio of individuals in a state to available mental health providers is 504 to 1. And 54.7% of adults with a mental illness didn’t receive treatment in the last year. Even college counseling centers are looking for ways to meet the rising demand for mental health support.

One of the ways we’re working to increase access to high-quality, comprehensive mental health care is our Lightfully U program. It’s a virtual Intensive Outpatient Program (vIOP) that’s free to students at the University of California. You don’t have to be in college to enroll, but it’s exclusively for young adults aged 18 to 25. We also offer a free online support group every week.

An IOP is a type of structured outpatient program that provides quite a bit more treatment than outpatient therapy alone. Young adults in Lightfully U receive a couple of different types of therapy and attend powerful group sessions daily. They also get family therapy sessions to help them develop a strong support system.

If Lightfully U sounds like a good program for you, one of our admissions counselors can help you get started with an assessment. If you have any other questions about navigating treatment, feel free to contact us. We’re here to light the way.

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