Although not all mental disorders are noticeable, there are serious ones that are even dangerous for the patients or their environment. The biggest problem is that not all people with illness can afford treatment, or it’s not even available because in most countries, healthcare includes only the illnesses of the physical body. Not only dealing with a huge but invisible illness alone, those who have mental issues are exposed to endless humiliation and demotion. The biggest problem with mental disorders is that we are not informed enough about them to understand people and how their disorder affects them, although 1 in every 10 person has a metal disorder. If you want to know more about these conditions carry on reading our list about the top 9 most common mental disorders!
9. Post-traumatic stress disorder (8 million)
PTSD affects the everyday life of people who once had a distressing event and tend to develop the disease. Violent personal assaults, childhood abuse, road accidents, war or serious health problems can be the traumatic event what triggers developing PTSD. From those who experience an event like these, one person in three develops PTSD. It’s not clarified why some people more likely to have this disorder, but an already existing anxiety or depression, unsupportive family or genetic factors are thought to contribute to developing the condition. Symptoms, which are highly personalised but generally nightmares, flashbacks, avoiding remembering, anger and sleeping difficulties usually appear a month after the trauma. The condition often comes together with other problems like drug and alcohol misuse, headaches, dizziness, phobias, anxiety and depression.
8. Eating disorders (16 million)
Eating disorders are not only anorexia and bulimia, although these are the most known ones, and the data only contains the clinical cases of these two types of eating disorders. The term includes every unhealthy eating habit that is caused by a psychological condition and one thing that is common in all of them is the compulsion which is caused by the brain. Eating disorders can cause serious damage to health and even death in severe cases. Not surprisingly, these are more common among teenagers and young adult women than men.
As of anorexia and bulimia nervosa, unfortunately, social media contributes to develop eating disorders as it destroys healthy body image and deifies extremely thin bodies. Constant obsession with losing weight is common in both disorders, but they vary in the method of doing it. While anorexia nervosa is associated with self-starvation, in case of bulimia nervosa patients don’t want to restrict their diet and tend to binge often, which is followed by vomiting.
Common, but often considered to be normal eating habits are binge eating and avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder, which are also eating disorders along with pica and rumination which are rare yet still existing conditions.
Pica means carving and eating things that are not food, such as soap, paper, hair, chalk, soil and laundry detergent. This disorder can occur among all genders and age, but it’s the most common among children, pregnant women and people with mental disabilities. The disorder increases likelihood of infections, nutritional deficiencies and bowel injuries, even death can occur depending on the eaten material.
Rumination disorder is a condition when people regurgitate, re-chew and re-swallow food that they consumed maximum half an hour earlier. This condition should not be mixed up with reflux, which cannot be controlled as the voluntary rumination.
ADHD is a mental disorder mostly among children, but it can expand to someone’s adulthood if it stays untreated as a child. The disorder causes impulsive behaviour and increased hyperactivity. The exact reason behind the condition has not been discovered yet, but being born prematurely, having a low birth weight or smoking/alcohol/drug abuse during pregnancy are suspected to cause it. Most of the time the disorder gets revealed during the early years of school, as it’s the first occasion when intensified attention is required. Boys are twice as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD as girls since their behaviours naturally differ, what makes the disorder slightly different in the two genders. Some girls show classic symptoms, like hyperactivity, some are rather hyper-talkative or tend to daydream.
6. Schizophrenia and other Psychoses (23 million)
Schizophrenia causes hallucinations, which means hearing and seeing things that are not presence outside the mind. Delusions, unique ways of thinking and confusion are also common, which along with hallucinations are called positive symptoms. The negative symptoms are decreased enthusiasm for everyday life, meeting friends or personal hygiene. These often last longer than the positive ones. These symptoms may affect ill people’s ability to work, but with the right treatment, many people are able to lead an independent life.
Contrary to popular belief, schizophrenia does not make people violent and they don’t have split minds either. These false statements are only claimed by media, although the name schizophrenia originates form two Greek word, meaning split and mind.
The causes of the illness are unknown, but researchers suspect genetics, physical, environmental and psychological factors combined standing behind the condition.
5. Autism Spectrum Disorder (25 million)
Autism Spectrum Disorder is a range of disorders that used to be distinguished, but all characterized by communication disturbances and impaired social functioning. The disorders classified under ASD are Autistic disorder, Asperger’s syndrome, Pervasive developmental disorder and childhood disintegrative disorder. Scientists haven’t discovered the exact reason behind the disorder yet, however things like different genetic condition were found to be common among some people with ASD. The unusual behaviours, communication, interaction and different learning ways are caused by changes in the brain which evolves developmental disability. Most signs appear in early childhood which mainly manifest in the lack of signs of normal development, like not responding to their names, not playing pretend games and not point at objects. Poor interest in being social such as playing with others or keeping eye contact and unusual communication like strange body language, voice or unique ways of responding are also common.
4. Bipolar Affective Disorder (46 million)
The formerly called manic depression affects the mood, creating excessive highs and lows -periods of mania and depression- that can last for weeks. The condition, which is believed to be caused by genetics and environmental factors, can affects the ill person’s everyday life, making it miserable from time to time. 25-30% of BPAD patients have troubles in their work or social life. Fortunately, psychotherapy and medications help ease the suffer and many attempts have been tried to prevent developing the condition, like reducing stress and assisting children in conflictual families. A shocking statistic shows that half of people with BPAD attempt suicide at one point in their life, and unfortunately some of them manage to ‘succeed’.
OCD is a condition where someone cannot control their thoughts and repetitive behaviours. These obsessive thoughts repeatedly storm your mind with unpleasant images, causing anxiety and the urge to behave just like the obsession demands, that is called compulsion. The fears and the repetitive acts are for example checking the locks on the house because of the fear of being burgled or exaggerated cleaning in order to avoid contamination. OCD can distract everyday life, but treatments can easily keep it under control. The main treatments are psychological therapy and medications. The usual start of the disorder is early adulthood and it affects both genders. Although the exact causes of OCD are uncleared, there are many factors that perhaps play a role in developing the disorder, like life events, personality, family history or differences in the brain.
2. Anxiety (284 million)
Feeling anxious is a completely normal reaction to unpleasant situations, but it normally disappears right after the initial cause has been solved. However, constant and overwhelming chronic anxiety, exaggerated worries which are more severe in comparison to the actual seriousness of the situation is a problem and requires treatment if tips on naturally reducing anxiety don’t work.
Apart from the unpleasant, continuous feeling of anxiety, the disorder possibly has serious physical health effects on the body, like high blood pressure, breathing problems, muscle aches or panic attacks. Headaches, irritability, loss of libido, extreme fatigue and upset stomach also commonly go with chronic anxiety.
As statistic shows, women are more likely to develop chronic anxiety than men, mostly in their middle ages. Some factors contribute to developing anxiety, such as stressful life experiences, serious medical condition or substance use disorder. Medicine distinguish several types of anxiety, many of them are classified as a mental disorder on its own, and got a place in this list too, like Post-traumatic stress disorder and Obsessive-compulsive disorder, but generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, phobias and panic disorder also create separated categories.
1. Depression (300 million)
Many people think depression is just a fictional condition to give an excuse for those who have this condition. Their explanation is they also feel depressed sometimes, but they overcome it and proceed living their life, and they just don’t understand those who can’t. However, clinical depression is a real mental disorder with serious symptoms, and it can’t be treated like “pull yourself together” or “just stop being sad”. If it was that simple, those 300 million people who make this disorder the number 1 on this list would be the happiest to get rid of their condition. Depression not only cause terrible feelings of sadness, loneliness and hopelessness, but physical symptoms like troubled sleeping, continuous tiredness and pain in several parts of the body are also accompanies this condition. Unfortunately, there are many stigmas and confusion around depression, so many people wait too long before seeking help. In several cases, lifestyle changes bring adequate development even without antidepressants. General advice on lifestyle are getting more exercise, eating clean and attending self-help groups. In case of moderate to severe depression, these advice on its own are not enough, a combination of antidepressants and intensive talking therapy is recommended.