The Most Common Mental Health Disorders

These days, mental health is recognized as a global issue that affects the lives of millions of patients, as well as those around them. With public awareness of the signs and symptoms of different mental health disorders at an all-time high, more individuals are able to acknowledge their own personal mental health issues and get the appropriate treatments. So, what are the most common mental health disorders? Read on to find out.

The Most Common Mental Health Disorders

General Mental Health Disorder Prevalence

Mental health disorders have been found to be a common affliction within general society. According to the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH) 20.6% of US adults contend with a mental illness, or roughly 51.5 million adults.

The prevalence of mental illness was found to be higher among females than males (24.5% 16.3%, respectively).

Among different age groups, young adults between 18-25 years of years had the highest prevalence of mental illness (29.4%), compared to those aged 26-49 years (25.0%) and older adults, aged 50 and above (14.1%).

Mental illness was also found in association with racial identity. Adults identifying with two or more races were found to have the highest prevalence of mental illness among (31.7%), with white adults coming in second (22.2%) and adult Asians found to face the lowest prevalence of mental illness (14.4%).

Among US adults with a mental illness, some 23.0 million (44.8%) receive mental health support. Females received mental health support at a higher rate than males with AMI (49.7% vs. 36.8%, respectively).

About 38.9% of young adults between 18-25 years of age who are facing a mental illness receive mental health services. 45.4% of adults aged 26-49 with mental illness receive mental health support, as do 47.2% of adults aged 50 and older.

General Mental Health Disorder Prevalence

Common Mental Health Disorders

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) states that anxiety disorders and depressive disorders make up the two most common mental health disorder groups. But which anxiety disorders are most common?

Anxiety Disorders

As the most prevalent group of mental health disorders, the anxiety family as a whole affects 18.1% of the US adult population, amounting to some 40 million individuals. Only 36.9% of those facing an anxiety-based disorder receive treatment. As a general rule, women are more likely than men to develop an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety itself is defined as a state of adverse hyperarousal: unlike fear, which is a basic survival mechanism that helps protect one’s life and safety, anxiety keeps the brain and body in a state of tension, even after a particular threat has been removed. As a result, the individual is unable to relax, as they remain focused on the possibility of falling into harm’s way. Persistent anxiety can significantly affect one’s quality of life and functioning, eventually meeting the criteria for one or more of the following, anxiety-based disorders.

The American Psychiatric Association’s (APA’s) latest guide to mental health conditions, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual’s fifth edition (DSM-V), includes the following conditions as part of the anxiety family:

  • Specific Phobia: Affects 7%-9% of US adults. This disorder hones in on certain, triggering stimuli whose proximity induces a great deal of distress.
  • Social Anxiety Disorder: Affects 7% of US adults. Raises significant distress over social situations where the individual imagines they might be heavily scrutinized.
  • Panic Disorder: Affects 2%-3% of US adults. Panic attacks are defined as acute, unpredictable moments of distress. Eventually, repeated panic incidents cause the individual to fear their next unexpected attack.
  • Agoraphobia: Affects 2% of US Adults. A fear of open spaces, enclosed spaces, using public transport, being in a crowd or being outside and alone in specific situations.
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Affects 2% of US adults. Significant and excessive concern over a general area of one’s life, such as work or school.
  • Separation Anxiety Disorder: Affects 1%-2% of US adults. Defined as developmentally inappropriate distress due to the thought of being separated from an attachment figure.
  • Selective Mutism: Affects 0.47%-0.76%. The rarest disorder to be included in the anxiety family, selective mutism is defined as the inability to speak in public settings.

Common Mental Health Disorders

Depressive Disorders

Depression and depression-related disorders revolve around feelings of deep and unrelenting sadness, low mood, and irritation. Comorbidity between both families of disorders is quite common, with many individuals contending with a depressive disorder, in addition to an anxiety-centered one.

The DSM-V includes the following depression-based conditions in its depressive disorders chapter:

 

  • Major Depressive Disorder. Affects 6.7% of US adults. Major depressive disorder (MDD) is the central condition of the depressive disorders family, with its symptoms patterns the most prevalent among the general population. It is defined as a consistent, overwhelming sadness, with key features including a lack of energy, hopelessness, irritability, and a sense of emptiness. Major depression more commonly manifests as moodiness among children and adolescents, compared to adults.
  • Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder. Affects 0.8%-3.3% of children under 18, with the highest prevalence amongst preschoolers Disruptive mood dysregulation disorder is listed first within the DSM-V’s chapter on depression, as it is also closely related to the previous chapter on bipolar disorders. It is characterized as “highly flammable,” sending the individual into temper outbursts and fits of anger that at times verge on a manic episode.
  •     Persistent Depressive Disorder (Dysthymia). Affects 1.5% of US adults. This diagnosis is given to chronic cases of depression that had previously been defined as either persistent major depression, or the less severe (but still long-term) dysthymia.

    Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder. Affects 2%-5% of premenopausal women. Most cases of premenstrual dysphoric disorder include extreme irritability, affective lability and a generally depressed/anxious mood prior to the menstruation. Symptoms of this condition tend to dissipate in the days following menstruation.

Depressive Disorders