How Many Mental Disorders Are There?

Help is Available in California

If you have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder, or if you believe you may have mental health issues, it can feel overwhelming or confusing. For many people, when they ask how many mental disorders are there, they may actually be wondering whether their unique condition can be diagnosed and treated — and in the majority of cases, the answer is yes. Although every person is an individual, with a unique history, emotional response, brain chemistry, and lifestyle, with a proper and careful diagnosis, their condition will be treatable.

At Alter Behavioral Health, we offer modern, evidence-based care in our residential treatment programs. We aim to make mental health care accessible and affordable to adults in need throughout California, with the aim of transforming lives and improving mental health outcomes. We ensure that your physical, psychological, social, and educational needs are met in a personalized treatment plan developed by skilled therapists and clinicians. Our team cares about helping you, and we can provide you with powerful tools for long-term wellness.

To learn more about the most effective behavioral treatments at a professional treatment facility, please get in touch with Alter Behavioral Health by calling 866-647-2716 today.

What is a Mental Disorder?

A mental disorder is any type of disorder that occurs within the brain, affecting how a person thinks and behaves, as well as their emotional regulation. There is often an impairment in the way they function during everyday life, which may cause feelings of distress. These disorders can develop due to environmental stress, genetic factors, biochemical imbalances, or a combination of all of these factors.

Although having a mental disorder is quite common — about 1 of every 8 people worldwide have one — most people never receive effective care for their condition. At Alter Behavioral Health, we aim to destigmatize conversations surrounding mental health, so more people can get the help they need.

To learn more about the most effective behavioral treatments at a professional treatment facility, please get in touch with Alter Behavioral Health by calling 866-647-2716 today.

How Many Mental Disorders Are There?

how many mental disorders

Mental health is often misunderstood and can sometimes be stigmatized, with people feeling shame or trying to mask their symptoms rather than seeking the help they need. Due to the stigma surrounding mental health, for years, researchers have had to ask the question, “How many mental disorders are there?” 

Although every patient is unique, there are categories of mental health conditions that can help us to identify and treat the symptoms of the disorder, along with the root causes through targeted therapies and prescription medications. There may be more than 200 types of mental illness, but the most common categories are:

Anxiety Disorders

People with an anxiety disorder often experience excessive worry, fear, and panic and anticipate the worst possible outcome, which may cause significant stress and impair their ability to function normally in everyday life. Common anxiety disorders include generalized anxiety disorder, phobias, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and separation anxiety disorder.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and Related Disorders

These disorders often involve repetitive actions, uncontrollable recurring thoughts, or preoccupations and compulsions that feel impossible to resist. These disorders include obsessive-compulsive disorder, hoarding disorder, and trichotillomania (hair pulling).

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

After experiencing a traumatic or shocking event, a person may develop long-lasting symptoms that include re-experiencing (flashbacks/nightmares), avoidance of things, people, or places that remind them of the event, an inability to remember the event, and being on edge, jumpy, or in “fight-or-flight” mode. These symptoms last several weeks to years and impair the ability to live a normal life.


Clinical depression is not the same as sadness. A person experiencing depression will be sad or irritable, or they may even feel empty, without feeling pleasure or interest in normal activities. They may also experience guilt, low self-worth, hopelessness, sleep issues, and thoughts about death or dying. Along with major depressive disorder, these symptoms can also accompany premenstrual dysphoric disorder.

Bipolar Disorder

This is a disorder that causes a person to experience alternating depressive episodes (sadness, hopelessness, lethargy, irritability) and manic episodes (euphoria, increased energy, racing thoughts, decreased need for sleep, and impulsive behavior). This condition is generally diagnosed when manic episodes last 7 days or longer, for most of the day, nearly every day, or when they are very severe. This condition can severely disrupt a person’s life without treatment.


Schizophrenia often involves significant impairment in the way a person behaves and how they perceive the world. They may experience hallucinations, delusions, disorganized thinking and behavior, or extreme agitation, as well as difficulties with cognition. It may feel like a detachment from reality and can make it difficult to function day to day.

Personality Disorders

A person with a personality disorder will display a lasting pattern of emotional instability and behaviors that cause serious interpersonal and relationship issues. Common personality disorders include borderline personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, and narcissistic personality disorder.

Eating Disorders

The most well-known eating disorders are bulimia nervosa and anorexia nervosa, but there are others as well. These are characterized by abnormal eating habits, along with a preoccupation with food, body shape, and body weight. These disorders can cause significant distress and impairment, along with serious health issues that could become deadly if left untreated.

Disruptive Behavior and Dissocial Disorders

Common disorders in this category include oppositional defiant disorder, kleptomania, intermittent explosive disorder, and conduct disorders. These disorders all include problems with behavioral and emotional self-control and defiance of rules and societal norms, and they usually begin to develop in childhood.

Neurodevelopmental Disorders

These disorders include intellectual development disorders, autism spectrum disorder, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and may include issues with adaptive disorders, difficulty in social situations, motor language issues, intellectual functions, or difficulties with attention. Proper diagnosis and treatment for these conditions are individualized depending on the person’s unique needs, with psychosocial interventions, behavioral interventions, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and sometimes medications involved.

To learn more about the most effective behavioral treatments at a professional treatment facility, please get in touch with Alter Behavioral Health by calling 866-647-2716 today.

How Are Mental Disorders Diagnosed?

For many people, it can be difficult to know whether you are experiencing a mental health problem, and it can be harder to determine if you’re wondering how many mental disorders are there. Some common symptoms in adults include confusion, excessive fear or worry, social withdrawal, dramatic changes in eating and sleeping habits, prolonged depression and irritability, hallucinations or delusional thinking, unexplained physical pains or ailments, and an increasing inability to cope with everyday life.

These symptoms should not be due to substance use or a recent event (for example, being sad after the death of a loved one, or feeling anxious due to an upcoming presentation), but should be persisting or recurring over a period of time.

There are steps to diagnosing mental disorders that may include a physical health exam by a doctor to rule out any physical causes of your symptoms. Laboratory tests are also sometimes ordered to screen for hormonal or chemical imbalances or substances in the system that may be causing issues.

A psychological evaluation will be the next step for many, with a doctor or mental health professional speaking to you about how you have been feeling, how long you have been feeling that way, what kinds of thoughts you have been having, and how your life is going. They may try to identify specific symptoms, patterns, or behaviors that could point to the type of disorder or disorders that you are experiencing.

These professionals will take time with you to go over everything in detail. They will then look up your symptoms using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), a manual published by the American Psychiatric Association, and then offer a diagnosis so you can get the appropriate treatment.

Alter Can Help with the Treatment of Mental Disorders

At Alter Behavioral Health, we offer free diagnostic assessments at our world-class mental health treatment center in California. Every diagnosis we make is based on the latest medical health science discoveries, and the care we provide is holistic in nature, combining medications with psychotherapy and other modalities, providing a full recovery.

We value data-directed and innovative thinking, integrity, and compassion, and our team strives for excellence in care. Coming to Alter Behavioral Health’s inpatient treatment facility for your diagnosis and treatment of your mental health issue will give you the best possible outcome. If you’re wondering how many mental disorders are there, please call us today at 866-647-2716. We can answer your questions regarding diagnosis and the mental health services we offer. We are here to talk and ready to help you now.