What Are Psychological Disorders? Types of Mental Health Conditions and Their Symptoms
Why you can trust Lightfully Behavioral Health?

Lightfully’s professional culture is designed to keep everyone connected, motivated and nutured. Why is this so important? We believe the way we treat our employees is how we show up for clients – through encouragement, honesty, and compassion.

Clinically Reviewed 

What Are Psychological Disorders? Types of Mental Health Conditions and Their Symptoms

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Mental health should always be a priority, and everyone struggles with their own every now and then. But there’s a difference between everyday problems that affect your mental health and having a mental health condition, also known as a psychological disorder.

A psychological disorder is another word for a mental health condition. A mental health condition refers to any disorder that impacts your thought patterns, behavior and emotional regulation. By understanding the different types of mental health conditions, and the symptoms that can come from them, you can gain a better grasp about when it’s time to seek treatment.

We’ll talk about common types of mental health conditions and the symptoms that can come from them. Then we’ll discuss what the next steps are if you recognize that you experience these emotions, behaviors and thoughts. 

There are more than 200 mental health conditions. While this isn’t an exhaustive list of every single one, they are some of the most common and will give you an idea about what a psychological disorder looks like. 

Anxiety disorders

The most common type of psychological disorder is an anxiety disorder, which has an annual prevalence rate of more than 19% of the U.S. adult population. When providers talk about anxiety as a mental health condition, they’re usually referring to generalized anxiety disorder, or GAD. Anxiety as a diagnosable disorder goes beyond everyday stress and worry. It’s characterized by excessive feelings of nerves and stress, even when there isn’t an identifiable cause.

Symptoms of anxiety include:

  • Feeling overwhelmed by nerves and uncertainty
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Heightened irritability
  • Feeling restless or “on edge”
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Fatigue

Anxiety can also manifest through physical symptoms, including:

  • Muscle tension
  • Nausea 
  • Digestive issues
  • Lightheadedness 
  • Headaches
  • Irregular heartbeat

Other anxiety disorder diagnoses include obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and panic disorder. In OCD, individuals experience unwanted thoughts, images or urges known as obsessions, which create significant anxiety or distress. In response to these obsessions, individuals engage in repetitive behaviors or mental acts called compulsions. These compulsions are performed in an attempt to reduce the anxiety caused by the obsessions or prevent feared outcomes. Panic disorder refers to a specific mental health condition characterized by the presence of recurrent and unexpected panic attacks.

Personality disorders

Personality disorders are characterized by behaviors and thoughts that differ from cultural expectations. These patterns can cause distress or impair function. There are quite a few different personality disorders. They’re categorized into three clusters:

  • Cluster A — Eccentric thoughts and behaviors
    • Paranoid personality disorder
    • Schizoid personality disorder
    • Schizotypal personality disorder 
  • Cluster B — Dramatic and emotional thoughts and behaviors
  • Cluster C — Fearful thoughts and behaviors
    • Avoidant personality disorder
    • Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder
    • Dependent personality disorder

While the symptoms can vary based on the particular disorder, symptoms of a personality disorder include:

  • Risky or impulsive behavior
  • Unstable sense of self and self-esteem
  • Mood changes
  • Difficulty with interpersonal relationships and social situations
  • Trouble understanding boundaries

Mood disorders

Mood disorders are characterized by emotional disruptions. The two most common mood disorders are depression and bipolar disorder.

Behind anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder, or depression, is the most common psychological disorder in the U.S., affecting 8.3% of the adult population annually. Depression is a mood disorder characterized by overwhelming negative thoughts and emotions. 

Depression symptoms include:

  • Pervasive feelings of sadness and hopelessness
  • Lack of enjoyment in activities 
  • Social withdrawal or isolation
  • Lack of motivation and energy
  • Self-harm behavior
  • Suicidality

Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder that affects 2.8% of the U.S. adult population annually. It’s characterized by mood changes that alternate between manic and depressive episodes. Manic episodes refer to periods of intense emotion and energized behavior. They can include symptoms like feeling wired, heightened agitation and exaggerated confidence. Depressive episodes refer to overwhelming sadness and lack of energy. These episodes can include loss of interest in activities and feelings of worthlessness.

Trauma disorders

While there are several types of trauma disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder is not only the most common one, but it’s also one of the most common mental health conditions in the world, affecting approximately 3.6% of the adult population in the U.S.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) develops after experiencing or witnessing a distressing, scary or life-threatening event. It often doesn’t occur directly after the traumatic event. Symptoms can develop anywhere from three months afterward to several years down the line. PTSD is especially common among people who have survived war, abuse, sexual assault and car accidents. 

PTSD can impact your emotional, psychological and spiritual health, leading to symptoms including:

  • Intrusive thoughts and flashbacks of the traumatic event
  • Avoiding places or situations that could be triggering
  • Negative feelings, such as shame and anger
  • Self-destructive behavior

Other trauma disorders include acute stress disorder and adjustment disorder. Acute stress disorder refers to PTSD symptoms that occur in the first month following the trauma. Adjustment disorder is characterized by excessive emotional or behavioral reactions to trauma or stress.

Lightfully Behavioral Health can treat many types of psychological disorders

Now that you’ve learned about the most common types of psychological disorders, you might be recognizing symptoms of one (or more) of them in yourself. While it can seem difficult to acknowledge potential symptoms of a mental health condition, that’s the first step in your mental health journey, and you should be proud of that.

The next step is to discuss your concerns with your health care provider to determine a potential diagnosis and treatment options. If you receive a mental health condition diagnosis for symptoms that are impacting your overall quality of life, our levels of care can help you learn about your disorder and develop the tools you need to manage it in the future.

The framework of our care consists of evidence-based, data-driven and whole-person-centered care. You are more than your psychological disorder.

If you believe that you align with the symptoms of a mental health condition, visit our Contact Us page to ask about an assessment. Change is possible. We’ll take the next steps together, toward the fullest, brightest version of you.

Connect with Admissions

Do I have obsessive-compulsive disorder?

Related Content