Mental illness: Symptoms, Causes, and Types

Generally, mental illness may be regarded as a disorder that egregiously affects the way a person behaves, the way they think; it also affects the way a person feels, their behaviour and their perception. Concerns about a person’s mental health may not be enough to be considered as a mental disorder, however when these concerns begins to consistently affect a persons functioning capability as well as their relationship with other individuals, such situation may very well be a case of a mental disorder and such individual should consult an expert. When a mental illness is unattended to in the immediate, it may lead to inability to live a productive life with work, family and social interactions. Persons who go through conditions of mental illness need not be ashamed because such mental conditions are akin to physical health conditions.

It is believed that in the United States, at least 1 out of every 5 adults have experienced a form of mental illness, also at least 1 out of every 25 adults live with a case of mental illness, and for youths, 1 out of every 6 youths between the ages of 6 and 17 years have suffered a form of mental illness. Due to the seriousness and prevalence of issues of mental health in the country, a pressing question becomes how to make an initial diagnosis of a case of mental illness.

Symptoms of Mental Illness

At one point or another, everyone has gone through something that may have had cause to affect their psychological wellbeing, however such occurrence may not be classified as a case of mental illness. Otherwise, where such change in their psychology well-being becomes an increasing occurrence, and causes a lot of stress and interference with their functionability, such issues become a source for concern. Common symptoms of mental illness include:

  • Excessive withdrawals and abstinence from activities that used to be thoroughly enjoyed.
  • Incoherent thoughts or speeches that are defy understanding, as well the inability to concentrate.
  • Sudden mood changes heightened to the point of contemplatig suicide, it may also include unnecessary laughter, unexplained sadness, unexpected indifference etc.
  • Constant and unnecessary fear
  • Abnormal sleeping and eating habits
  • Escape from reality 

The above mentioned symptoms do not exhaust the list of mental illness symptoms, however where these symptoms are noticed, such individuals should immediately contact a mental expert. 

Causes of Mental Illness

Mental illness may be caused by physical or physcological issues, it may also stem from a wide array of factors some of which include:

  • A person’s biological makeup
  • Individual exposure to certain enviromental substances, especially foetus exposed to harmful drugs
  • A person’s genetical make up
  • Traumatic life experiences may cause PTSD
  • Abnormal use of alcohol and recreational drugs
  • Loneliness and isolation

Types of Mental Illness

The different kinds of mental disorders that exists are in their hundreds, however, they have been clustered into groups among which are:

  • Anxiety disorders: Under this group, the main symptomatic characteristics include consistent anxiety, fear, which may result in physical issues such as shortness of breath, dizziness and increased heart beat rate. Some particular mental illness under this category include:
    • Generalized anxiety disorder
    • Obsessive Compulsive disorder
    • Panic disorder
    • Post traumatic Stress disorder
    • Social Phobia
    • Agoraphobia
    • Separation anxiety
  • Bipolar disorder: This kind of disorder is such that it causes extreme mood instability, it could take a person to an emotional high as well as a very low point emotionally. Certain types of bipolar disorder include:
    • Bipolar I disorder
    • Bipolar II disorder
    • Cyclothymic disorder
  • Depressive disorders: This disorder brings with it a strong and persistent sad feeling as well as loss of interest, it is also commonly known as clinical depression. This feeling may be so intense as to affect an individual’s day to day activities and some may even contemplate suicide. Some types of depressive disorders are:
    • Major depressive disorder
    • Postnatal depression
    • Adjustment disorder with depressed mood
  • Disruptive, impulse control and conduct disorder: In this situation, the individual loses control of their emotions and behaviors, thus leading to react in an angry and belligerent manner towards other persons. The Characteristics of this kind of behavior is that they are usually, frequent, long lasting, occur across different situations, and they cause significant problems. Some types of these disorders include:
    • Oppositional defiant disorder
    • Conduct disorder
    • Intermittent explosive disorder
    • Other associated disorder
  • Dissociative disorder:This disorder leads the unwilling individual to escape from actuality, this disorder is diagnosed when an individual begins to experience disconnected thoughts, identity and consciousness. This disorder can be initiated by a traumatic incident and may be triggered by stress. There are three kinds of dissociative disorder which are:
    • Dissociative Amnesia
    • Depersonalization disorder
    • Dissociative identity disorder
  • Elimination disorder: This occurs when a person who ought to be in control of their digestive system ends up passing waste in unsuitable places and times. There are two kinds of this disorder which are:
    • Enuresis
    • Encopresis
  • Feeding and Eating disorder: This disorder affects the eating pattern of the individual, and it can result in severe adverse physical and psychological conditions. Some types of feeding and eating disorders include:
    • Anorexia Nervosa
    • Binge-eating disorder
    • Bulimia Nervosa
  • Gender Dysphoria: This disorder occurs when a person feels there is a world of difference between their biological make-up and their identity, it was previously known as Gender identity disorder.
  • Neurocognitive disorders: This disorder occurs in persons who are aged, it is a situation where a person’s previous level of cognitivity is affected and reduced. Some kinds of this Neurocognitive disorder include:
    • Alzheimer’s disease 
    • Hungtinton’s disease
    • Traumatic injury affecting the brain
    • Neurocognitive issues caused by an HIV infection
  • Neurodevelopmental disorders: this disorder conversely affects persons who are younger and majorly at childhood. They usually affect a person’s social, academic, and professional functionability. Some types of this disorder includes:
    • Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
    • Autism
    • Cerebral palsy
    • Learning disability 
    • Conduct disorder
  • Obsessive Compulsive disorders: this disorder accompanies awkward thoughts of fear which drives them to continuously do something compulsively, it often surrounds the fear of germs and the need to do something in a very particular way. Some types of OCD include:
    • Checking 
    • Symmetry and ordering 
    • Hoarding 
    • Mental contamination 
    • Ruminations 
  • Paraphilic disorders: This kind of disorder has to do with an individual developing sexual interests and arousals that are unusual and geared towards a strange object. Such objects of affection could be  inanimate objects, children, a corpse or a non consenting adult. Types of Paraphilia include:
    • Pedophillia 
    • Voyeurism 
    • Transvestic disorder
    • Exhibitionism 
  • Schizophrenia Spectrum and Other Psychotic disorders: In this case, the patient loses contact with materiality and begins to experience different occurrences such as hallucinations, abnormal behavior and a disorganized communication ability. Some examples of this disorder include:
    • Schizoaffective disorder
    • Schizophreniform disorder
    • Schizotypal personality disorder
    • Brief psychotic disorder
    • Delusional disorderShared psychotic disorder
    • Substance-induced psychotic disorder
    • Paraphrenia
  • Substance Related addictive disorder: this is a situation where a person abuses a substance or recreational drug and ultimately results in the individual’s inability to control their use of the drug. It could also have some physical effect such as the withdrawal symptoms a person faces when they want to stop using a particular substance they have been addicted to: some substance that could cause this disorder include:
    • Alcohol
    • Caffeine 
    • Cannabis
    • Inhalants
    • Hallucinogens 

The above are some of the kinds of disorders that have been diagnosed. Where a person is suspected of having any of the symptoms, such person should contact an expert to help in the treatment and managing of the situation.