Types of Psychological Disorders – From Anxiety to Personality
The DSM-IV lists more than 200 mental disorders or mental illnesses in psychology, grouped under 16 categories. This summary describes the category of mental illness, and offers examples of different types of mental disorders.
People diagnosed with anxiety disorders typically struggle with either fear or anxiety as a major symptom. Examples include obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, phobias, and panic disorder.
According to the DSM-IV, this type of mental disorder is characterized by either depression or mania, or a combination of both. Examples include bipolar disorder (formerly called manic-depression), major depression, cyclothymia, and dysthymia.
People diagnosed with somatoform disorders usually struggle with physical symptoms that are connected to psychological problems. According to the DSM-IV, conversion disorder and somatization are examples of this type of mental disorder.
These mental disorders are caused by misuse or abuse of drugs, alcohol, opiates, cocaine, or amphetamines. Alcoholism or alcohol dependence or amphetamine withdrawal are examples of substance-related disorders.
According to the DSM-IV, this type of disorder is characterized by a part of one’s experience being separated from one’s conscious memory or identity. Dissociative disorder and psychogenic amnesia are examples of this type of psychology disorder.
This list of mental disorders is probably what most people think of when they think of psychology and emotional health! Psychotic disorders include schizophrenia and delusional disorder, and are characterized by a loss of contact with reality through hallucinations, delusions, or inappropriate emotions.
Sexual and Gender Identity Disorders
According to the DSM-IV, some mental disorders involve sexual functioning Examples include fetishism, exhibitionism, psychosexual dysfunction, and gender identity disorders (which involve a persistent desire to be, or appear to be, a member of the opposite sex).
This list of mental disorders involves an extreme preoccupation with food, and includes bulimia, anorexia nervosa, and binge eating. Eating disorders are characterized by excessive concern with weight gain.
According to the DSM-IV, psychological disorders that disrupt sleep can include sleepwalking, fear of nightmares, insomnia, or sleep-wake disorder. Sleep eating disorder is not a psychology disorder in the DSM-IV, but some psychologists and sleep experts think it should be.
Impulse Control Disorders
People who struggle with impulsive behaviors they can’t control can harm themselves or others. Examples of this psychological disorder include kleptomania, intermittent explosive disorder, and pathological gambling.
Childhood Mental Disorders
Many emotional health issues occur before adulthood. The list of mental disorders that occur in childhood include mental retardation, learning disorders, and language development disorders.
According to the DSM-IV, an adjustment disorder in psychology occurs when someone exhibits a strong emotional reaction to a stressful event that occurred within the past month. In this mental disorder, people react much more strongly to something than most people do.
People struggling with personality disorders usually do so for a long time. This mental disorder includes antisocial personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder, and narcissistic personality disorder.
Delirium, Dementia, and Other Cognitive Disorders
According to the DSM-IV, the list of mental disorders related to memory and cognition are caused by identifiable brain damage. Alzheimer’s Disease, intellectual impairment due to stroke or head injury, and delirium as a result of drug overdose are examples of cognitive disorders.
Mental Disorders Due to a General Medical Condition
Some psychological disorders or emotional health issues can be directly traced to a physical, medical cause. For instance, personality changes due to a frontal lobe injury in the brain, a psychotic disorder due to epilepsy, or depression secondary to diabetes are examples of these types of mental disorders.
Sometimes people fake physical or psychological symptoms, so they can become a patient or assume the “sick” role. This emotional health issues can include making up physical complaints, exaggerating genuine medical symptoms, or self-inflicting wounds and then seeking medical treatment.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is a classification system that helps psychologist, psychiatrists, and other mental health practitioners identify psychological problems so they can treat them.
To learn more about this classification manual, read The DSM-IV Psychological Disorders From the APA.
If you’re interested in psychology as a career, read 5 Different Types of Psychologists, Psychotherapists, and Counselors.