What Are The 5 Categories Of Mental Illness?

According to recent estimates, as many as one in five American adults suffer from a mental illness. However, there are many different conditions that fall under this umbrella. While some mental illnesses manifest as a disordered mood, others involve hallucinations and memory loss. There are as many as 200 different diagnosable mental illnesses, but they generally fall under one of the following five categories.

The Five Categories of Mental Illness

Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders are the most common type of mental illness in America, with as many as 40 million adults suffering from them. The link between these conditions is that something causes the afflicted person to experience frequent, intrusive sensations of fear and apprehension. Social anxiety disorder is one of the most common anxiety disorders, but post-traumatic stress disorder is also part of this grouping.

Mood Disorders

Mood disorders are the second most prevalent type of mental illness among American adults. As many as one in ten may suffer from such a disorder, which is typically depression. However, there are also related conditions such as bipolar, which entails intense swings between depressive and manic episodes. These sorts of disorders are much more than just temporary ill-feeling; they can deprive a person of self-control and executive function, and even put the person at risk of heart disease and chronic illness. 

Psychotic Disorders

Schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders are extremely serious brain conditions that distort reality in the mind of the victim. They can entail hallucinations, hearing voices, extreme paranoia, and many other symptoms that can have a ruinous impact on quality of life.


Dementia is a broad-faceted group of mental illnesses that typically result from Alzheimer’s, substance abuse, or another illness. The victim will suffer interruptions of their consciousness and various forms of cognitive decline. While these conditions mostly affect elderly citizens, anyone can suffer from dementia.

Eating Disorders

While people of all ages and creeds suffer from eating disorders, they typically start during the teenage years and mostly afflict women. They generally result from an unhealthy relationship with food and a poor self-image, and the effects may linger indefinitely without help. Eating disorders can involve excessive binge-eating, self-starvation, and paradoxically, both.

Treating Mental Illnesses

Mental illnesses are extremely different from one to the next, so there’s no single treatment for all of them. However, psychotherapy models such as cognitive behavioral therapy have proven effective in treating anxiety, depression, and other conditions. On the other hand, medication is often important in treating these illnesses, and it’s completely indispensable in treating psychotic disorders as well as some mood disorders.

Everyone is different, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to mental illness. If you suspect that you’re suffering from mental illness and need help, call Alter Behavioral Health. We make use of the latest mental health science to craft a treatment program that suits your unique needs. Get in touch today to begin the journey toward your best possible quality of life. Explore our comprehensive inpatient mental health treatment programs in San Diego, tailored to support and nurture individual well-being and recovery