Mental Illness Symptoms can range from mild to severe. They can also vary from person to person. In many cases, it makes daily life hard to handle. But when an expert diagnoses you and helps you get treatment, you can often get your life back on track.

The mainstay of mental health treatment is usually medication, talk therapy, or a combination of the two. Increasingly, research suggests that these treatments may normalize brain changes associated with depression.

What causes Mental Health disorders?

Doctors don’t know the exact cause of most mental illnesses. A combination of things, including your genes, biology, and your life experiences, seems to be involved. Many mental illnesses run in families. But that doesn’t mean you will have one if your mother or father did.

Some conditions involve circuits in your brain that are used in thinking, mood, and behavior. For instance, you may have too much, or not enough, the activity of certain brain chemicals called “neurotransmitters” within those circuits. Brain injuries are also linked to some mental conditions.

Some mental illnesses may be triggered or worsened by psychological trauma that happens when you’re a child or teenager. Such as severe emotional, physical, or sexual abuse. Or even a major loss, such as the death of a parent, early in life as well as neglect.

Major sources of stress, such as a death or divorce, problems in family relationships, job loss, school, and substance abuse, can trigger or aggravate some mental disorders in some people. But not everyone who goes through those things develops a mental illness.


It’s normal to have some grief, anger, and other emotions when you have a major setback in life. Mental illness is different from that.There are many different mental illnesses, and their symptoms vary. Some common symptoms, and Warning Signs of Mental Illness include;
  • Problems with thinking (like being confused, suspicious, or unusually angry or sad)
  • Keeping to themselves
  • Mood swings
  • Relationship problems
  • Hallucinations (seeing or hearing things that aren’t there)
  • Abusing alcohol or drugs
  • Feeling low on hope and not enjoying things that they used to like
  • Thoughts of suicide or harming themselves or others
  • Sleep problems (too much or too little)

If you’ve had symptoms like these, talk to your doctor or a counselor to find out what’s going on and what would help you.

And since symptoms vary widely, they may affect mood, thinking, and the ability to interact with others.

Different Types of Mental Health Disorders

Generally speaking, mental illness is more common than cancer, diabetes, or heart disease. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, about 1 in 5 U.S. adults had a mental health issue in 2014. And 1 in 25 lived with someone who had a serious condition, such as schizophreniabipolar disorder, or major depression.

These conditions can affect people of any age, income, educational level, race, and cultural background. Different types of mental health disorders include;

1. Clinical Depression

Clinical Depression is the persistent feeling of sadness or loss of interest that characterizes major depression that can lead to a range of behavioral and physical symptoms. These may include changes in sleep, appetite, energy level, concentration, daily behavior, or self-esteem. Depression can also be associated with thoughts of suicide.

Possible causes include a combination of biological, psychological, and social sources of distress. Increasingly, research suggests that these factors may cause changes in brain function. Including the altered activity of certain neural circuits in the brain.

The persistent feeling of sadness or loss of interest that characterizes major depression can lead to a range of behavioral and physical symptoms. These may include changes in sleep, appetite, energy level, concentration, daily behavior, or self-esteem. Depression can also be associated with thoughts of suicide.

2. Anxiety Disorder

Anxiety is a normal emotion. It’s your brain’s way of reacting to stress and alerting you of potential danger ahead. Everyone feels anxious now and then. For example, you may worry when faced with a problem at work, before taking a test, or before making an important decision.

Occasional anxiety is OK. But Anxiety Disorders are different. They’re a group of mental illnesses that cause constant and overwhelming anxiety and fear.  Excessive anxiety can make you avoid work, school, family get-togethers, and other social situations that might trigger or worsen your symptoms.

The main symptom of Anxiety Disorders is excessive fear or worry. Anxiety disorders can also make it hard to breathe, sleep, stay still, and concentrate. Your specific symptoms depend on the type of anxiety disorder you have. Common symptoms are Panic, fear, and uneasiness.

With treatment, many people with anxiety disorders can manage their feelings.

3. Bipolar Disorder

A disorder associated with episodes of mood swings ranging from depressive lows to manic highs is known as Bipolar Disorder. But, the exact cause of bipolar disorder isn’t known. Although a combination of genetics, environment, and altered brain structure and chemistry may play a role.

Manic episodes may include symptoms such as high energy, reduced need for sleep, and loss of touch with reality. Depressive episodes may include symptoms such as low energy, low motivation, and loss of interest in daily activities. Mood episodes last days to months at a time and may also be associated with suicidal thoughts.

Treatment is usually lifelong and often involves a combination of medications and psychotherapy.

4. Dementia and ADHD

Dementia is a collective term used to describe various symptoms of cognitive declines, such as forgetfulness. It is a symptom of several underlying diseases and brain disorders. Dementia is not a single disease in itself, but a general term to describe symptoms of impairment in memory, communication, and thinking.

Not a specific disease, dementia is a group of conditions characterized by impairment of at least two brain functions, such as memory loss and judgment. Symptoms include forgetfulness, limited social skills, and thinking abilities so impaired that it interferes with daily functioning.

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a mental disorder of the neurodevelopmental type. It is characterized by difficulty paying attention, excessive activity, and acting without regard to consequences. Otherwise, which are not appropriate for a person’s age.

Medication and therapies may help manage symptoms. Some causes are reversible.

5. Schizophrenia

Schizophrenia is a serious mental disorder in which people interpret reality abnormally. It may result in some combination of hallucinations, delusions, and extremely disordered thinking. As well as a behavior that impairs daily functioning, and can be disabling. People with schizophrenia require lifelong treatment.

The exact cause of schizophrenia isn’t known, but a combination of genetics, environment, and altered brain chemistry and structure may play a role. It’s characterized by thoughts or experiences that seem out of touch with reality, disorganized speech or behavior, and decreased participation in daily activities.

Difficulty with concentration and memory may also be present. A disorder that affects a person’s ability to think, feel, and behave clearly. Treatment is usually lifelong. And more often, it involves a combination of medications, psychotherapy, and coordinated specialty care services.

6. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a common, chronic, and long-lasting disorder in which a person has uncontrollable or reoccurring thoughts (obsessions). As well as behaviors (compulsions) that he or she feels the urge to repeat over and over.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is characterized by unreasonable thoughts and fears (obsessions) that lead to compulsive behaviors. It often centers on themes such as a fear of germs. Or the need to arrange objects in a specific manner. Symptoms usually begin gradually and vary throughout life.

Treatment includes talk therapy, medication, or both.

7. Autism

Autism, or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), refers to a broad range of conditions characterized by challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech, and nonverbal communication. According to the Centers for Disease Control, autism affects an estimated 1 in 54 children in the United States today.

We know that there is not one autism but many subtypes, most influenced by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. Because autism is a spectrum disorder, each person with autism has a distinct set of strengths and challenges.

The ways in which people with autism learn, or even think and solve problems can range from highly skilled to severely challenged. Some people with ASD may require significant support in their daily lives. While others may need less support and, in some cases, live entirely independently.

Several factors may influence the development of autism. And it’s often accompanied by sensory sensitivities and medical issues. Such as gastrointestinal (GI) disorders, seizures, or sleep disorders. As well as mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression, and attention issues.

8. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares, and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.

Most people who go through traumatic events may have temporary difficulty adjusting and coping, but with time and good self-care, they usually get better. If the symptoms get worse, last for months or even years, and interfere with your day-to-day functioning, you may have PTSD.

Getting effective treatment after PTSD symptoms develop can be critical to reduce symptoms and improve function. Having PTSD may also increase your risk of other mental health problems. Such as depression and anxiety, issues with drugs or alcohol use, eating disorders, or even suicidal thoughts and actions.

What’s the Treatment?

With early diagnosis and treatment, many people fully recover from their mental illness or can manage their symptoms.

The treatment depends on the condition. In many cases, people get one or more of these treatments:

  1. Medication
  2. Psychotherapy
  3. Lifestyle Change
  4. Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)
  5. Vagus Nerve Stimulation
  6. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

Although some people become disabled because of chronic or severe mental illness, many others are able to live full and productive lives. The key is to get help as soon as the symptoms start and to keep up with treatment.

How can I Help on Mental Health?

One or two of these symptoms alone can’t predict a mental health disorder but may indicate a need for further evaluation. If a person is experiencing several at one time and the symptoms are causing serious problems in the ability to study, work or relate to others, he/she should be seen by a physician or mental health professional.

People with suicidal thoughts or intent, or thoughts of harming others, need immediate attention. Major mental illnesses such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder rarely appear “out of the blue.” Most often family, friends, teachers, or individuals themselves begin to recognize small changes.

Or a feeling that “something is not quite right” about their thinking, feelings, or behavior before illness appears in its full-blown form. Learning about developing symptoms, or early warning signs, and taking action can help. Early intervention can help reduce the severity of illness.

It may even be possible to delay or prevent a major mental illness altogether.


After surviving a traumatic event, many people have PTSD-like symptoms at first, such as being unable to stop thinking about what’s happened. Fear, anxiety, anger, depression, guilt — all are common reactions to trauma. However, the majority of people exposed to trauma do not develop long-term post-traumatic stress disorder.

Getting timely help and support may prevent normal stress reactions from getting worse and developing into PTSD. This may mean turning to family and friends who will listen and offer comfort. It may mean seeking out a mental health professional for a brief course of therapy. Some people may also find it helpful to turn to their faith community.

Post-traumatic stress disorder can disrupt your whole life ― your job, your relationships, your health, and your enjoyment of everyday activities. Support from others also may help prevent you from turning to unhealthy coping methods, such as misuse of alcohol or drugs.