Common Mental Disorders

If you experience a mental disorder, or have a family member or friend with a mental disorder, arm yourself with information. Ongoing research in the field of mental health continues to expand our knowledge and understanding of mental disorders. Mental Health America, the National Institute of Mental Health, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) are three sources of extensive information and facts related to the different mental disorders.

Here is a quick look at some of the more common mental disorders:


If you or a loved one experiences a prolonged sadness beyond what is considered normal for grieving or is inappropriate to everyday problems, it might be depression. Common symptoms of depressions may include the following:


  • Anger
  • Chronic physical complaints (e.g., headaches or weakness)
  • Sleep problems - either insomnia or excessive sleeping
  • Loss of pleasure over things or situations that used to be pleasurable
  • Isolation

Prozac (Fluoxetine), often recommended for treating depression, belongs to the group of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs).

Bi-polar Disorder

Drastic mood swings ranging from deep depression to euphoric highs may signal bi-polar disorder. This disorder may be accompanied by spending sprees, rapid speech, irritability, poor judgment, or exhibitions of grandiosity.

Quetiapine is an antipsychotic medication that treats several kinds of mental health conditions including schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. It balances the levels of dopamine and serotonin in your brain. These hormones help regulate your mood, behaviors and thoughts. The brand name of this medication is Seroquel.

Anxiety Disorders

Feeling excessively frightened, distressed, and uneasy during situations in which most others would not experience these symptoms may indicate an anxiety disorder. Left untreated, anxiety disorders can have a negative impact on one's productivity and quality of life. Common anxiety disorders include panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and phobias (social phobia, agoraphobia, and specific phobia).

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Commonly diagnosed in childhood, ADHD is not limited to children. Inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity may indicate ADHD.


When daily living is hampered by unreasonable or unexplained fears, a phobia may be suspected. Phobias can include any number of situations or activities, including fear of flying, being around people or creatures of a particular type, or obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Alcohol and/or Medication Abuse

Excessive alcohol consumption can create health issues for people of all ages, but older people who drink are highly vulnerable. The increase in uses of medications and dietary supplements correlates to our aging population, so awareness of drug and alcohol interactions is crucial. There is positive news: there is a high rate of success in sobriety among older people who undergo treatment.


While this disorder is commonly seen in people over the age of 85, it is often mistaken for other treatable disorders. Common symptoms of this progressive, brain-deteriorating disorder include confusion, loss of memory, poor judgment, and the inability to reason.

Important: If you suspect that you or someone you care about may have a mental illness, consult a physician for proper diagnosis.

Common Mental Disorders

Mental Health Quick Fact

It is estimated that one in five Americans experiences a diagnosable mental health disorder each year, many not getting the help they need.