7 of the Most Common Mental Disorders

We sometimes find ourselves blaming our loved ones for being crazy at certain times in their lives. But the hardest thing is to look within ourselves objectively and find our own diagnosis. We are all a little crazy, that’s for sure. But how crazy and in what way?  Mental disorders do not discriminate by age, race or ethnicity, and they often strike when a person is in the prime of his or her life. This post is meant to walk you through 7 of the most common mental disorders, that run from mild to severe and, like in any other medical condition, many factors can trigger illness.

7. Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

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GAD is one of the most prevalent health issues in the world, yet it is still under-reported, under-treated and under-diagnosed. GAD acts as a gateway to other anxiety disorders, including phobias and panic disorders.  Most cases of GAD, though, aren’t severe enough to interfere with everyday life, but it does give its sufferers a hard time.

6. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

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This one actually hides behind the GAD disorder mentioned above, but it has very specific manifestations. So recurring thoughts are called obsessions, and the rituals that are performed to try to prevent or get rid of them are called compulsions. For instance, a person obsessed with germs or dirt may wash his hands constantly. Feelings of doubt can make another person check on things repeatedly. Others may touch or count things or see repeated images that disturb them.

OCD affects about 3.3 million adult Americans, and occurs equally in men and women.

5. Bipolar Disorder

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Also known as manic-depression, Bipolar disorder is a condition in which a person has periods of depression and periods of being extremely happy or being cross or irritable. In addition to these mood swings, the person also has extreme changes in activity and energy levels. Bipolar disorder affects men and women equally. It usually starts between ages 15 and 25.

4. Schizophrenia

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Contrary to what a lot of people believe, not all people with schizophrenia hear voices in their heads. Some of them can’t tell the difference between what is real and not real, think clearly, or have normal emotional responses. Auditory hallucinations are very common in schizophrenic people, but they are more likely to hear voices coming from some object outside of their body than inside their mind.

3. Autism

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Autism is a developmental disorder that appears in the first 3 years of life, and affects the brain’s normal development of social and communication skills. It is also called a spectrum disorder for a reason: autistics range from people who are unable to communicate in any way with others, all the way to people who live ordinary, productive lives and just seem a bit eccentric to the rest of us.

2. Eating disorders

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Eating disorders are a group of serious conditions in which you’re so preoccupied with food and weight that you can often focus on little else. The main types of eating disorders are anorexia nervosa (eating too little, close to nothing), bulimia nervosa (eating too much and then taking laxatives or purging) and binge-eating disorder (not being able to stop eating). While the first two usually affect women, the latter is more common in men, according to studies.

1. Depression

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Most people feel depressed at some point in their lives. Feelings of discouragement, frustration and even despair are normal reactions to loss or disappointment and may last for days before gradually disappearing. For some, however, depression is at the root of continuing lows. Depression is a serious, debilitating illness that intensely affects how an individual feels, thinks, and behaves. It can last for years and without treatment, can cause permanent disability. Depression is the most common mental disorder in the United States, and should be treated accordingly.

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