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Types of Mental Illnesses

It’s essential to consider the various forms of mental illnesses, each of which has its own set of symptoms and challenges. Mental illnesses are categorized by healthcare professionals based on their signs and symptoms. The following are examples of common mental illnesses:

Anxiety disorders

Anxiety is a normal response to stress that can be beneficial in certain circumstances. It can alert us of impending threats and assist us in preparing and paying attention.

Anxiety disorders, such as panic disorders and phobias, differ from typical sensations of nervousness or anxiety because they involve excessive fear or anxiety. Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illnesses, afflicting about one-third of all adults at some point in their lives. Anxiety disorders are treatable, and there are a variety of effective treatments available. Most people who receive treatment can live regular, productive lives.

Mood disorders

All mood disorders have an impact on a person’s mood—how they feel. Mood disorder symptoms, such as seen with bipolar disorder and depression, can include long-term feelings of sadness, hopelessness, numbness, and exhaustion. People occasionally have an unusually ‘high’ mood and feel powerful, but this can also lead to problems.

Eating disorders

Anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are eating disorders that aren’t truly about food. They’re complicated, and they’re frequently used to cope with difficult situations or regain control.

Psychotic disorders

People with psychotic disorders, such as schizophrenia, have difficulty discerning between what is real and what isn’t. Furthermore, people may sense things that aren’t real or have a strong belief that something isn’t real.

Personality disorders

A long-term pattern of thoughts, behaviours, and feelings that cause issues in a person’s life. Personality disorders, such as borderline personality disorder, make it difficult for people to have meaningful connections with others, manage their emotions, and prevent harmful behaviour. Personality disorders can have an impact on how people perceive themselves and others, as well as how they deal with problems.

Childhood disorders

While many mental illnesses begin in childhood, some people are not identified until later in life. One example is attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which affects a person’s ability to focus, complete work, sit still, plan, or organize.

A note on suicide

Suicide, or the deliberate taking of one’s own life, is not a mental illness in and of itself. Not everyone who dies by suicide have a mental illness. Suicide, however, has been related to a variety of mental diseases. Any talk or thoughts of suicide should be taken seriously, and help should be sought.

Do you need more help?

Canadian Mental Health Association is a supportive community organization that offers support and resources in your area. Find your local CMHA here.

Canadian Mental Health Association. (2016). Mental Illnesses. Toronto, ON: CMHA.

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Mental health has a significant impact on our lives, actions, and relationships. Learning more about your mental health and how to express and manage yourself will help you make better decisions and feel more at peace in your daily life. Our mental health can sometimes become an illness that impacts how we think about ourselves and interact with the world around us. It's important to remember that mental illnesses are no different than any other illness, and that everyone deserves help and care. A person's well-being can be restored and repaired with the adequate care. Our emotional responses to significant events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic, both reflect and contribute to our overall stress and mental health status. At large, many Canadians (41%) reports a decline in the mental health since the onset of the pandemic. More positively, Canadians are taking social approaches to help cope with stress during these challenging times. These coping strategies include walking or exercising, connecting with family and friends, maintaining healthy lifestyle, and doing a hobby1. Do you need more help? Canadian Mental Health Association is a supportive community organization that offers support and resources in your area. Find your local CMHA here. References: [1] Canadian Mental Health Association. (2021). How are we feeling? Canadians are worried, bored, stressed, lonely and sad. Toronto, ON: CMHA.
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