Mental Illness – Symptoms and Causes

Mental illness can also be mentioned as a mental health disorder. Mental illness is referred to as the change in emotion, thinking, or behavior as per the “American Psychiatric Association”. Mental illness can affect your daily living, relationships, work, school if left untreated.

Anxiety, depression, eating disorders, addiction are signs of mental illness. Mental health disorders can be cured with the proper combination of medication and psychotherapy. In this article, we will educate you on different types of mental illness and some of the common symptoms and causes of mental illness.

Types of Mental Illness

1. Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders have repeated occurrences of sudden fear with panic attacks. People with anxiety disorders have intense worry and fear in their everyday situations. This could create a great impact on their activities like schoolwork, job performance, and even relationships.

There are several types of anxiety disorders that includes,

  • GADC generalized anxiety disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Phobias

2. Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder causes mood swings. Sometimes it could be “up” manic episode or “down” depressive. Sometimes mixed episodes where manic and depressive come together. Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder resulting from changes in behavior, energy level, and activity level. 

There are three types of bipolar disorders,

  • Bipolar I disorder (manic)
  • Bipolar II disorder (depressive episodes)
  • Cyclothymic disorder (mixed episodes)

3. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive compulsive disorder is a mental illness that affects people of all ages. It features a pattern of unwanted thoughts, images, and fear (obsessions) which leads to doing repetitive behaviors. These thoughts and behaviors are persistent and rigid, affecting social interactions.

OCD can be experienced in four main categories,

  • Symmetry and ordering
  • Cleaning and contaminations
  • Forbidden, harmful thoughts and impulses
  • Hoarding

4. Depression

A depressive episode commonly referred to as depression is a mood disorder associated with elevation or lowering a person’s mood. It may be asymptomatic in the early stages and the degree to which it interferes with daily life activities determines its severity. It affects the way you think, feel and act. Depression causes sadness, loss of interest, varieties of emotional and physical problems, and even affects your potential to perform your activities.

5. Eating Disorders

An eating disorder is a type of mental illness where a person engages in abnormal eating patterns. It influences your thoughts about food and negatively impacts your eating behavior. 

Out of all the types of eating disorders like Anorexia nervosa, Bulimia nervosa, Rumination, etc. Binge eating is the most common one. Eating disorders can even cause health problems like rapid loss or gain of weight, tooth decay, rickets etc.

6. Personality Disorder

Personality disorder is a set of mental health conditions that affect the way of your thinking and feeling detrimental patterns. People with personality disorders usually behave in a different way rather than the expectations of the culture. This comes in several ways such as Avoidant personality disorder, Schizoid personality disorder, Narcissistic personality disorder, Antisocial personality disorder, etc.

7. Psychotic Disorders

These are significant problems that disable a person to think clearly. Psychotic disorders are serious conditions that may cause unusual thinking and perceptions that affect the way your mind functions. Often it can be mentioned as an illness characterized by a disconnection from reality. 

Schizophrenia is a common type of psychotic disorder that causes delusions, hallucinations, etc. It can cause social withdrawal, apathy, avolition, etc. which has serious effects on interacting with people.

8. Post Traumatic Stress Disorders

This disorder occurs when a person is unable to recover after experiencing an unpleasant event in their life. It is because the event will continuously trigger emotions and make it hard to get over it. 

It can trigger in the form of flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety, etc. This can lead to emotional numbness and avoidances of places or people that might trigger them. A person with this disorder feels helpless, horrified, and suffers intense fear.

9. Neurodevelopmental Disorders

This kind of mental illness affects the growth of the nervous system. Cerebral palsy, autism, hyperactive disorders, etc. are some of the common types of neurodevelopmental disorders. It includes a diverse mixture of symptoms and co-occurrences that leads to this disorder. This requires proper medical treatment so that it is not damaging the functioning of the neurological system and brain.

Symptoms and Causes

Symptoms and causes of mental illness vary depending on the type of disorder, situation, and other factors. Some of the common reasons and symptoms for mental illness is as follows,


  • Disturbed/changes in sleep patterns
  • Loss of appetite or satiety
  • Difficulties in performing daily activities
  • Frequent mood swings
  • Low in energy
  • Withdrawn behaviors
  • Difficulties in concentrating or staying focused
  • Lack of motivation
  • Negative thinking
  • Addictions such as alcohol, drugs, etc.
  • Suicidal thoughts


  • Family history, childhood abuse
  • Discrimination or social isolation
  • Loss or separation of someone close to you
  • Unemployment
  • Long term health issues
  • A traumatic injury
  • Stressful events
  • Accidents

People with symptoms or signs of mental illness must contact a mental health professional for treatment. The treatment for mental illness varies depending on the individual and the severity of their symptoms. 

At times, a physical examination may also be required in order not to get misdiagnosed.

Some mental illnesses will respond to medication and some to talk therapy. In some cases a combination of treatment options and some trial and error to analyze what would really work.

Living with mental disorders is quite hard and if you suspect that you or someone you know has mental illness contact a mental health professional for analyzing, evaluating, and treatment at the earliest. Most of the mental illnesses don’t improve on their own but, when left untreated their mental condition gets worse and may cause serious problems.

“There is hope, even when your brain tells you there isn’t.”

— John Green

If you or someone you know are struggling with mental illness, you can directly book your appointment with  Different Approaches Therapy. Our experts in psychotherapy can identify the cause of your illness and offer you the most suitable treatment with the best care.