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What Are the Different Types of Mental Health Issues?

Tricia Christensen
Updated Feb 27, 2024
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Describing all mental health issues could be an onerous task. There are many things that affect mental well-being. Contrary to what is commonly thought, mental health issues are not only related to a few mental disorders like depression, schizophrenia, or bipolar disorders. There are many more conditions that qualify as separate issues. Fortunately, there is also useful grouping of some of these conditions, which can give a broad sense of the definition and how broad it is.

As previously mentioned, conditions like depression or bipolar are well-recognized in Western medicine. They are usually paired with other mental health issues such as post traumatic stress disorder, panic or generalized anxiety disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder. These tend to grouped under what are called mood disorders, though anxiety based ones may also be called anxiety disorders and be linked to serious phobias.

Another grouping is psychotic disorders, including conditions like schizophrenia, and schizoaffective disorder. Here, the goal of keeping mental health issues separate starts to become problematic. There are people that have bipolar disorder with schizophrenia, or people with bipolar disorder that have signs of schizophrenia only when manic. Additionally, those recovering from drug or alcohol use may have psychotic episodes.

Most of the time, people who are recovering from addiction are said to be suffering from mental health problems called organic brain disorders. Others who have conditions that fit in this group include those who have suffered from brain damage, either through traumatic injury or stroke. Some people have degenerative brain conditions like multiple sclerosis, which will ultimately affect brain functioning and mood. Dementia, resulting from things like Alzheimer’s disease, is another example of an organic brain disorder.

A number of mental health conditions are called personality disorders and these may be quite serious, such as borderline personality, making it difficult for a person to interact socially with others without significant problems. Some other personality disorders mean people become antisocial or self-centered. There can be many ways these conditions manifest, and they may or may not respond to traditional treatments.

Other mental health issues may affect the way people develop and learn. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and autism scale disorders are considered part of this group. People might also have disorders affecting their behavior, such as conduct disorder, which typically occurs in kids. Most addictive behaviors like compulsive shopping or gambling are viewed as mental health problems, as are conditions such as eating disorders. Additional mental health problems arise when people suffer from paraphilias, or sexual arousal by things that don't typically cause these feelings.

There are many who suggest these mental health issues are only the beginning of what should be a much longer list. Some people argue that really poor parenting may remain a huge issue for many people because it can be the genesis of some mental health concerns, though not all. Certainly both environment and genetics may have some effect on developing more than a few of the conditions mentioned here, and others, as has been shown in more recent times, seem to originate almost solely from brain or body dysfunction.

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen , Writer
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.

Discussion Comments

By Rotergirl — On Aug 09, 2014

Even when services are available, how do you get a person with mental illness the treatment they need? So many times, they don't seem to want the help, even when they can get it. I don't really understand that mindset, but I guess it's part of the illness that they don't think they're as sick as they are.

Another issue is getting these people to take their medication. Over and over, people get in the news for committing crimes, and it turns out they are mentally ill and not taking their meds. Apparently, it's extremely difficult to compel people to take their medication, even when they're not stable. I don't understand that, either. I believe in preserving civil liberties, but I also believe in preserving public safety.

By Pippinwhite — On Aug 08, 2014

Mental health issues can also include the problems some persons with a mental illness have getting the services they need. Mental health services vary wildly by state and even county, so some people have access to good services, while others just have to cope the best they can.

In fact, access to services is probably the number one problem when dealing with mental health issues. People may need services that are just not available in their area, and they may or may not be able to travel somewhere these services are available. It seems mental health care gets swept under the carpet all too often.

Tricia Christensen

Tricia Christensen


With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a WiseGeek contributor, Tricia...
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