Mental Illness or Mental Disorder – What is it?

Mental health problems can cause significant distress or impairment for an individual. In this case we talk of a mental illness or mental disorder. Just like with any other illness, someone with a mental disorder should seek help from a medical professional.

Mental disorders are classified into different categories, based on behavioral and emotional symptoms.

  1. Anxiety disorders
  2. Behavioral disorders
  3. Eating disorders
  4. Substance use disorders
  5. Mood disorders
  6. Obsessive-compulsive disorders
  7. Personality disorders
  8. Psychotic disorders
  9. Suicidal behaviors
  10. Trauma and stress-related disorders

Mental illness is complicated and fragile, and can be brought on or exacerbated by combinations of factors including family history, early childhood challenges, genetics, socio-economic conditions, environmental conditions, trauma, and poor lifestyle.

Rates of mental illness are rising, according to the World Health Organization (WHO): “The burden of mental disorders continues to grow with significant impacts on health and major social, human rights and economic consequences in all countries of the world” It is unclear whether the data trend is due to better detection and diagnosis, changes in environment or genetics, the aging world population and life expectancy, or economic and political stresses.