en English
en Englishes Spanish

The 5 Most Common Mental Disorders

Mental health disorders, sometimes referred to as illnesses, affect the thoughts, moods and behaviors of those impacted. Although there is no clear link between genetics and the likelihood of having a mental health disorder, lifestyle factors such as diet and an individual’s activity can influence the onset of depression, anxiety and other conditions.

Mental health disorders may be occasional or chronic. And they affect an individual’s ability to relate to others and function day-to-day. While there are some steps to improve overall mental health, some disorders are more serious and may require professional intervention.

Below are the five most common mental health disorders in America and their related symptoms:

Anxiety Disorders

The most common category of mental health disorders in America impacts approximately 40 million adults 18 and older. Anxiety disorders cause people to experience distressing and frequent fear and apprehension. While many may experience these feelings, say, during a job interview or public speaking event (as that can be a normal response to stress), those with anxiety disorders feel them commonly and in typically non-stressful events. And bouts of anxiety can last up to six months or more at a time. “Anxiety” is actually a blanket term that includes a host of specific disorders, including:

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

Panic disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Social anxiety disorder  

Mood Disorders

An estimated 1 in 10 adults suffers from some type of mood disorder. While it’s normal to experience mood swings from time to time, people with mood disorders live with more persistent and severe symptoms that can disrupt their daily lives. Depending on the specific disorder, people may experience an ongoing sad, anxious or “empty” mood; feelings of hopelessness; low self-esteem; excessive guilt; decreased energy and more. Therapy, antidepressants and self-care can help treat mood disorders. The most common mood disorders are:

Major depression


Bipolar disorder

Substance-induced mood disorder    

Psychotic Disorders

Those suffering from psychotic disorders may be unable to know what’s real and what’s not. This group of mental disorders changes an individual’s sense of reality. Scientists believe that certain viruses, problems with how specific brain circuits work, extreme stress or trauma and some forms of drug abuse may play a role in the development of psychotic disorders. The most common psychotic disorders include:


Schizoaffective disorder

Brief psychotic disorder

Delusional disorder

Substance-induced psychotic disorder


Although mistakenly thought to be a single disorder, dementia is a term that covers a wide range of specific mental conditions. Those suffering from dementia-related disorders may experience a decline in their cognitive abilities—often severe enough to impair daily life and independent function. While this category includes a host of conditions, Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60 to 80% of dementia cases. It slowly destroys memory and thinking skills and, eventually, strips the ability to carry out the simplest tasks. Other forms of dementia take the form of:

Parkinson’s disease

Frontotemporal dementia

Huntington’s disease

Wernicke-Korsakoff syndrome

Eating disorders

Eating disorders are about more than an individual’s relationship with food. They’re complex mental disorders that often require intervention from medical and psychological experts. These conditions cause unhealthy eating habits to develop, such as an obsession with food, body weight or body shape. In severe cases, eating disorders can have serious health consequences and may even result in death, if left untreated. Common symptoms include the severe restriction of food, food binges or purging behaviors, such as vomiting or over-exercising. The most common types of eating disorders include:

Anorexia nervosa

Bulimia nervosa

Binge eating disorder

Pica eating disorder

Rumination disorder


From help intervening with substance abuse challenges to managing depression and anxiety, Davis Behavioral Health is here to assist those in need. We can provide comfort and support to those experiencing anxiety, mood, psychotic and eating disorders. We have many trained, experienced and caring mental health professionals on staff. And we offer classes, ranging from managing emotions to mindfulness—along with many others that provide some with all the education needed to be self-sufficient in dealing with their mental health challenges.