This page is for informational purposes only—if you need help with a mental health issue, please contact Vertava Health to connect with a professional and receive individualized treatment and support today.
Mental health disorders impact an individual’s mood, behavior, feelings, and thinking. These conditions can range in severity, from mild issues that can be managed easily to severe mental illnesses that impact every aspect of the person’s life.
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What Causes Mental Health Disorders?
The exact cause of a mental illness is unclear to researchers and doctors.
The results of studies indicate that these conditions may develop from a combination of genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors, as well as changes in brain chemistry, structure, and function. Traumatic experiences may also raise the risk of developing a mental health disorder.
You’re Not Alone
Mental illness is incredibly common, affecting millions of people across the country. If you or someone you love is experiencing symptoms of mental illness, you do not need to feel ashamed; it does not make you weak or dangerous, and you’re not alone.
In addition, plenty of treatment options are available to help someone with mental illness manage their symptoms and live a full, healthy life.
Common Mental Health Conditions
Some of the most common mental health issues include:
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health issue for adults in the United States, affecting as many as 40 million people across the country. These conditions cause people to experience extreme fear or dread in response to certain thoughts or situations.
Depression is a common mood disorder characterized by pervasive feelings of sadness or emptiness, loss of interest in hobbies, and other related symptoms. People with severe depression may experience symptoms for extended periods of time.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) develops in individuals who have experienced significant trauma. PTSD causes a range of symptoms, including flashbacks, fear, and mood disturbances.
Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder that is characterized by dramatic changes in mood, thinking ability, and energy level. Someone with bipolar disorder may experience periods of unreasonably high mood, known as mania, along with periods of depression.
Substance Use Disorder
Substance use disorders are mental health conditions that develop when someone becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol. These disorders can impact the person’s ability to function significantly. They’re also likely to co-occur alongside other mental illnesses.
Someone with an eating disorder typically engages in abnormal or unsafe eating behaviors, such as extreme food restriction or binging and purging. Eating disorders are usually related to distorted perceptions of food and/or the person’s weight.
Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) involves obsessions, which are intrusive and unwanted thoughts that focus on a specific topic. In order to relieve anxiety related to obsessions, people with OCD may give in to compulsions, which are urges to perform specific actions.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder characterized by differences in behavior and communication skills. The severity of ASD can vary considerably, ranging from mild cases to cases that cause significant disability.
Borderline Personality Disorder
People with borderline personality disorder have extreme difficulty regulating their emotions. After experiencing an emotional trigger, someone with this condition may experience intense emotions that last for longer than normal.
Dissociative disorders cause people to detach from reality, leading to problems with memory, identity, and thinking. Dissociative disorders affect women more often than men.
Psychosis occurs when someone’s perceptions and/or thoughts are disrupted, causing them to have difficulty recognizing what is real. Psychosis is not a mental disorder on its own, but is a symptom of other disorders.
Suicide occurs when someone takes their own life. Some may experience suicidal thoughts without making plans or attempts, while others may commit suicide without planning. Suicide is devastating to family and friends; call a hotline if you or someone you know needs help.
Mental Health Treatment Options
If left untreated, mental health conditions can impact every area of life. Some of these conditions may also worsen over time. Fortunately, a variety of treatment options are available for people living with mental illness.
Some of the treatments that may be recommended to patients with mental illness include:
Psychotherapy — Most psychotherapy sessions involve talking through issues with a trained therapist.
Behavioral therapy — Behavioral therapies, like CBT or DBT, involve working directly with a therapist to identify and change unhealthy thought or behavior patterns.
Medication — Different medications may be prescribed to patients with mood disorders, PTSD, or other mental health conditions.
Brain stimulation therapies — Brain stimulation therapies use electricity, magnets, or implants to stimulate the brain directly.
Integrated care — Integrated care combines primary care with mental health care for better outcomes and a more holistic or multidisciplinary approach.