A mental health condition isn’t the result of one event. Research suggests multiple, linking causes.
Genetics, environment and lifestyle influence whether someone develops a mental health condition. A stressful job or home life makes some people more susceptible, as do traumatic life events. Biochemical processes and circuits and basic brain structure may play a role, too.
None of this means that you’re broken or that you, or your family, did something “wrong.” Mental illness is no one’s fault. And for many people, recovery — including meaningful roles in social life, school and work — is possible, especially when you start treatment early and play a strong role in your own recovery process.
Everyone can experience anxiety, but when symptoms are overwhelming and constant — often impacting everyday living — it may be an anxiety disorder.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
ADHD is a developmental disorder defined by inattention (trouble staying on task, listening); disorganization (losing materials); and hyperactivity-impulsivity (fidgeting, difficulty staying seated or waiting).
Bipolar disorder causes dramatic shifts in a person's mood, energy and ability to think clearly. Individuals with this disorder experience extreme high and low moods, known as mania and depression. Some people can be symptom-free for many years between episodes.
Borderline Personality Disorder
BPD is characterized by a pattern of instability in emotions (commonly referred to as dysregulation), interpersonal relationships and self-image. Individuals with BPD can also struggle with impulsivity and self-harm.
Depression involves recurrent, severe periods of clear-cut changes in mood, thought processes and motivation lasting for a minimum of two weeks. Changes in thought processes typically include negative thoughts and hopelessness. Depression also involves affects sleep/energy, appetite or weight.
Dissociative disorders, which are frequently associated with trauma, disrupt every area of psychological functioning: consciousness, memory, identity, emotion, motor control and behavior.
Eating disorders are characterized by the intentional changing of food consumption to the point where physical health or social behaviors are affected.
OCD involves persistent, intrusive thoughts (obsessions) and repetitive behaviors that a person feels driven to perform (compulsions) in response to those thoughts.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
PTSD involves a set of physiological and psychological responses. It can occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event such as a natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, rape, war/combat or something similar.
Psychosis is characterized as disruptions to a person’s thoughts and perceptions that make it difficult for them to recognize what is real and what isn’t.
Schizoaffective disorder involves symptoms of schizophrenia, such as hallucinations or delusions, and symptoms of a mood disorder, such as depressive or manic episodes.
Schizophrenia interferes with a person’s ability to think clearly, manage emotions, make decisions and relate to others. It also causes people to lose touch with reality, often in the form of hallucinations and delusions.