15 Facts About the Most Common Mental Disorders

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What are the Most Common Mental Disorders?

Humans respond to stress, loss, and adversity in a variety of ways. And naturally, we experience low mood and high spirits, we may lose sleep and appetite and avoid social situations. For the average person, the symptoms go away in a few days. But when they last longer than two weeks, it is no longer a normal reaction, but could be one of the many types of mental disorders.

The 5 Most Common Mental Disorders

There are many mental health disorders out there, and each has varying degrees of severity. But the five most common are as follows:

Mood Disorders

Mood disorders are also relatively common. Major depressive disorder (MDD) affects more than 15 million adults in the US and is the leading cause of disability for 15-45 year-olds. Other mood disorders include bipolar disorder, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), premenstrual dysphoric disorder, persistent depressive disorder (dysthymia), depression related to medical illness, and depression induced by substance use or medication.

These disorders can cause significant mood swings, shortness of breath, loss of appetite and sleep, dysfunctional personal or professional relationships, loss of interest in activities, and suicidal thoughts. These disorders can be debilitating if not treated properly.

Anxiety Disorder

A type of mood disorder, the effects of anxiety can be crippling for those who suffer from the disorder. With anxiety, you tend to worry excessively, and that worry can manifest in your life in various ways. The most common anxiety variations are generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder (SAD), and specific phobias or panic disorder.


This mental disorder has many stigmas, and some may think it only involves seeing things and hearing voices. But more than that, it changes how a person feels, thinks, acts, and understands reality. There are varying degrees of severity of this disorder like many others, and the spectrum might include characteristics from schizophreniform disorder, schizoaffective disorder, and brief psychotic disorder.

Personality Disorders

This group of disorders is commonly associated with changing thoughts, relationships, and moods, with side effects that make it difficult for individuals to have normal relationships and function well in their jobs. Some examples of personality disorders are borderline personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, avoidant personality disorder, dependent personality disorder, and obsessive-compulsive personality disorder.

Eating Disorders

Lastly, eating disorders affect 30 million adults in the USA today. These mental health disorders might include anorexia nervosa, binge eating, or bulimia. They can be onset by many factors, including low self-esteem, culture, or genetic biology.

Anorexia has one of the highest mortality rates of any of the mental health disorders. These disorders can be characterized by binging and purging, excessive exercise, laxative and diuretic use, obsessive calorie counting, dieting, or weight loss pursuits.

15 Facts About Common Mental Health Disorders

Anxiety Disorders Facts

  • Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year.
  • Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only 36.9% of those suffering receive treatment.
  • People with an anxiety disorder are three to five times more likely to go to the doctor, and  six times more likely to be hospitalized for psychiatric disorders than those who do not suffer from anxiety disorders.
  • Anxiety disorders develop from a complex set of risk factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events.
  • Anxiety Disorder (GAD) GAD affects 6.8 million adults or 3.1% of the U.S. population, yet only 43.2% are receiving treatment. Women are twice as likely to be affected as men. GAD often co-occurs with major depression.
  • Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD) affects 15 million adults or 6.8% of the U.S. population. SAD is equally common among men and women and typically begins around age 13. According to a 2007 ADAA survey, 36% of people with social anxiety disorder report experiencing symptoms for ten or more years before seeking help.
  • Anxiety disorders affect 25.1% of children between 13 and 18 years old. Research shows that untreated children with anxiety disorders are at higher risk to perform poorly in school, miss out on meaningful social experiences, and engage in substance abuse.
  • It’s not uncommon for someone with an anxiety disorder to also suffer from depression or vice versa. Nearly one-half of those diagnosed with depression are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.

Depression Facts

  • Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Almost 75% of people with mental disorders remain untreated in developing countries, with nearly 1 million people taking their lives each year. In addition, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1 in 13 people globally suffer from anxiety.
  • Major Depressive Disorder is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. for ages 15 to 44. MDD affects more than 16.1 million American adults or about 6.7% of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year.

Other Behavioral Health Disorder Facts

  • Panic Disorder (PD): PD affects 6 million adults or 2.7% of the U.S. population. Women are twice as likely to be affected as men.
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD): OCD affects 2.2 million adults or 1.0% of the U.S. population. OCD is equally common among men and women. The average age of onset is 19, with 25 percent of cases occurring by age 14. One-third of affected adults first experienced symptoms in childhood.
  • Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): PTSD affects 7.7 million adults or 3.5% of the U.S. population. Women are more likely to be affected than men. Rape is the most likely trigger of PTSD: 65% of men and 45.9% of women who are raped will develop the disorder. Childhood sexual abuse is a strong predictor of lifetime likelihood for developing PTSD.
  • Schizophrenia: Schizophrenia is a brain disorder that affects approximately two million Americans today. Schizophrenia can affect anyone at any age, but most cases develop between adolescence and age 30. Children can be affected by schizophrenia, but this is uncommon.
  • Bipolar Disorder: The bipolar disorder facts reveal the prevalence of its hold on the US. Bipolar disorder is a neurobiological brain disorder that affects approximately 2.3 million Americans today or almost 1% of the population.

How to Self-Advocate

The overwhelming message is that mental illnesses are far more common than they may seem. The stigma around mental illness is slowly starting to erode with education, and Mental Health Awareness Month (October) is upon us.

If you think you have a mental health disorder, or know someone who does, don’t hesitate to reach out to us here at Pasadena Villa. We would love to give you a consultation. Contact us at 1.407.537.0431.

  1. “Facts & Statistics | Anxiety and Depression ….” https://adaa.org/about-adaa/press-room/facts-statistics. Accessed 10 Sep. 2020.
  2. “Facts On Schizophrenia | NAMI: National Alliance on Mental ….” 22 Jan. 1998, https://www.nami.org/press-Media/Press-Releases/1998/Facts-on-Schizophrenia. Accessed 10 Sep. 2020.
  3. “Bipolar Disorder: Symptoms, Treatments, Recovery Rates ….” 23 Jan. 2019, https://mentalillnesspolicy.org/medical/bipolar-facts.html. Accessed 10 Sep. 2020.

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