Types of Mental Health Illnesses: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments


Mental health illnesses refer to group of illnesses that affects a person’s thinking, behavior, and mood. Mental health concerns are occasionally experienced by a lot of people but, it becomes a health illness when the frequency and severity begin to increase. 

Mental illnesses interfere in almost every aspect of a patients’ life. Work, relationship, and family, are some of the many areas of a person’s life that these illnesses are capable of affecting. 

To be able to enjoy life, one needs to have a sound and healthy mind. Let’s dive into the types of mental illnesses and look at their causes, symptoms, and treatments. We’ll explore the following:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Depression
  • Schizophrenia

Visit https://www.verywellmind.com/a-list-of-psychological-disorders-2794776 to find other types of mental illnesses.

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

This is a type of mental disorder that develops after the witness or experience of a shocking, traumatic, or terrifying event. Examples of such events can be physical abuse, war, the sudden death of a loved one, or an accident; the list is  quite long. 

Types of PTSD

The following are types of PTSD:

  • Normal stress response: This occurs before PTSD. In many cases, it doesn’t develop into a full disorder. Distressing events like surgeries, accidents, severe illnesses, and so on can bring about normal stress response. This condition can be easily managed by spending time with family and loved ones, as well as attending group therapy sessions. Once these steps are taken, recovery should occur within weeks. 
  •  Acute stress disorder: It typically develops after a traumatic event. Symptoms may begin within the first month after the incident. Studies show that 13-21% of individuals involved in an accident are likely to develop this diorder. This number increases significantly with people who experienced rape and mass shooting. 20-50% of such people are likely to develop this disorder. 
  • Uncomplicated PTSD: This is the mildest of all PTSD and so is the easiest to treat. Unlike other types, this is usually caused by one event, as opposed to several events. People who suffer from uncomplicated PTSD tend to experience mild mood swings, nightmares, and generally avoid places, things, or people that may remind them of the experience.  
  • Dissociative PTSD: It is characterized by derealization and depersonalization, as well as emotional detachment. Other symptoms are dissociative amnesia and flashbacks. Treatment for this type of PTSD is still undergoing research however, clinical scientists suggest that exposure-based treatment may be effective in managing the symptoms. 
  • Complex PTSD: This is the opposite of uncomplicated PTSD, and it is triggered by several traumatic events. Recurring domestic violence, unexpected loss of a loved one, or frequent experience of war are common triggers of this disorder. People who suffer from this condition often abuse substances, exhibit high levels of aggression, panic, and depression. 

Causes of PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder can be caused by the following:

  • Domestic abuse
  • War and conflict
  • Sexual assault
  • Accidents and other sources of tension

Symptoms of PTSD

  • Isolation from people
  • Flashbacks
  • Insomnia
  • Nightmares
  • Panic
  • Irritability, and so on. 

Treatment of PTSD

PTSD can be treated with medication and a number of therapy methods. Medications used include: beta-blockers, fluoxetine (Prozac), venlafaxine (Effexor), antidepressants and so on. Prolonged exposure therapy and cognitive processing therapy are some of the types of therapy used in treating post-traumatic stress disorder.


Depression is a mental health condition that is characterized by deep moodiness, loss of excitement, and reduced emotional energy which often translate into physical weakness. A person suffering from depression feels hopeless and hardly see any good in the world. In the U.S., about 7% of adults suffer from this condition each year. People who suspect that they are depressed can find many psychologists online. For example, a person living in Tampa may search for depression psychologist in Tampa, and the ones closet to you should appear in the results. 

Types of Depression

Common types of depression are:

  • Bipolar depression: It is a bipolar disorder. People that suffer from bipolar disorder tend to have alternating moods. Their mood may change from being extremely energetic to having low moods where they have zero interest and energy to do anything. 
  • Psychotic depression: People that suffer psychotic depression have severe hallucinations involving hearing, feeling, or ‘seeing’ things. 
  • Major depressive disorder (MDD): This is also called clinical depression. This type of depression has symptoms that radically affects a patient’s everyday life. 
  • Perinatal depression: This depression affects only women. It occurs during pregnancy periods and may continue for a little while after delivery. It affects one in seven pregnant women, causing mild mood changes and sadness. 
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD): It occurs at a particular time every year and is mostly experienced by people in regions with less sunshine and cooler temperatures. Common symptoms of SAD include: low energy, sleeping problem, and sluggishness. 
  • Persistent depressive disorder (PDD): Also known as dysthymia, is a mild type of depression that can last for at least two years. Notable symptoms include poor concentration and hopelessness. 

Causes of Depression

Depression can be caused by a number of factors. Some of them are:

  • Genetics
  • Medication
  • Personality
  • Life events
  • Abnormalities in brain chemistry


Symptoms of depression include:

  • The feeling of hopelessness and sadness
  • Lack of energy, interest, and excitement for almost anything
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Suicidal thoughts, and;
  • Eating disorder, among many others.

Treatment of Depression

Depression can be treated with medications like anti-anxiety drugs and antidepressants. Psychotherapy and light therapy are also other methods of treatment for this mental illness. People suffering mild depression may be asked to make certain life changes to boost their interest and mental health. 

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This is a condition in which impairs a person’s ability to think, behave properly, and perceive reality. About 3.5 million Americans have been diagnosed with this condition. It is mostly found in individuals between ages 16 and 25. 

Types of Schizophrenia

  • Paranoid schizophrenia: This condition is characterized by paranoia and delusion. People who suffer from paranoid schizophrenia get the feeling that they are being watched. Such people are often hostile, anxious, and angry. 
  • Catatonic schizophrenia: People suffering from this disorder have disturbed movements. Their movements are unpredictable as they can sometimes move freely and other times remain immobile. Other characteristics of this illness include prolonged staring, mimicking other people’s movement or speech, and repeated movements. 
  • Disorganized schizophrenia: This condition involves disorganized speech and behavior, as well as disturbed emotional expressions. Other characteristics are lack of concentration and inability to hold meaningful conversations. 
  • Undifferentiated schizophrenia: A person is said to have this condition when he/she exhibits behaviors that are similar to other types of schizophrenia. These behaviors include disorganized speech and behavior, hallucination, and delusion. 
  • Residual schizophrenia: A person that has at one time suffered schizophrenia but currently exhibits no symptoms is believed to have residual schizophrenia. Such a person may begin to see symptoms later on. 

Causes of Schizophrenia

  • Genetics
  • Certain drugs 
  • Environment
  • Brain chemistry
  • Abuse

Symptoms of Schizophrenia

  • Psychosis
  • Lack of emotional expression
  • Hallucination
  • Delusion
  • Isolation from people
  • Disorganized speech and behavior.

Treatment of Schizophrenia

Psychosocial interventions like assertive community treatment are used to treat schizophrenia. Medications like paroxetine (Paxil) and duloxetine (Cymbalta) that are antidepressants and mood stabilizers like divalproex (Depakote) and lithium (Lithobid), are also used in the treatment of schizophrenia. Click here to see the full list of drugs used in treating schizophrenia. 


Other mental illnesses include: paranoia, dissociative and dissociation disorders, and anxiety disorder. All these health conditions exhibit similar symptoms and may be mistaken for another. Once symptoms begin to show, there should be a quick visit to the hospital for proper diagnosis and treatment.  

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