Mar 112013
 
Types of Psychological Disorders

Psychological disorders affect different people in different ways. (image by normalityrelief via flickr)

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.

Anxiety 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.

Mood Disorders

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.

Somataform Disorders

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.

Substance-Related Disorders

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.

Dissociative 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.

Psychotic Disorders

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).

Eating Disorders

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.

Sleep Disorders

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.

Adjustment Disorder

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.

Personality Disorders

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.

Factitious 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.

About Me

quips tips love relationshipsI'm glad you're here! My name is Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen; my husband Bruce and I live in Vancouver, BC with our critters. We can't have kids, and are learning to accept whatever life brings - both good and bad. I have an MSW (Master of Social Work) from UBC, and degrees in Education and Psychology. I hope you say hello below - I can't give relationship advice, but writing can bring you clarity and insight.

  4 Responses to “Types of Psychological Disorders – From Anxiety to Personality”

  1. Hi Seth,

    Thanks for being here! I really appreciate your comments, and your honesty as well. You are getting out of your comfort zone, which is fantastic. You should pat yourself on the back for that! Many people don’t realize they should push themselves a little. They stay in their little boxes, and don’t strive for change.

    Your English sounds perfect. I wouldn’t worry about it too much – I hope you don’t let it stop you from saying what you think! :-)

    Blessings,
    Laurie

  2. Dear Laurie,

    Thank you for your reply. I like your work and commenting is the only way I know to show support. I have been reading many of your articles – I’m guessing on average 5 per week. But it takes a lot of courage for me to comment. I need to get out of my comfort zone – just too worried my comments are not well written. I hope that with practice, I’ll be able to write better. By that I mean to know what I should and shouldn’t say.

    Of course, language is also another issue. English is not my native language. But I did learn it at a very young age. It’s just when we use English in my country, our choice and arrangements of words are a bit jumbled up.

  3. Dear Seth,

    Thank you for your comments! I really appreciate that you took the time to comment, and that you’re actively seeking help to cope with your emotional health.

    You’re a survivor, and I believe you can dig up some of that determination to change your life in positive ways.

  4. Hi Laurie,

    Thank you for writing this post. I suffer from a few of these disorders but thankfully, I’m still “barely managing” at the moment. About 2 years ago, I went to a General practitioner to ask for antidepressant – believing it would help to stop my “negative thoughts”. I ended up on 2 courses of Prozac and Pristiq. Strangely, I did not feel any effect from the medicine. I won’t say that antidepressants are unhelpful; maybe it just didn’t suit me. After that, I also went to 2 psychologists and have been told that “I just need to change my way of thinking” and medication won’t help in my case. In other words, I just need determination – which is easier said than done. Anyways, I’m thankful for your blog because it makes me feel that someone out there have challenges in life and they are winning the battles.

    PS Your blog’s strongest “selling” point to me is your genuineness, experience, and you REVISITS OLDER POST to reply on newer comments.

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