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Mental Health

Types of Mental Health Conditions

July 1, 2024

Different types of mental health conditions have different signs and symptoms and may vary from person to person. There are 4 key categories of mental health conditions:


Psychosis is a general term that describes symptoms of a number of mental health conditions in which an individual has distorted thoughts and perceptions of reality. Main psychotic conditions include schizophrenia and delusional disorder.

During a psychotic episode, the individual may have sensory experiences of things that do not exist termed as hallucinations and/or beliefs with no basis in reality which are termed as delusions.

Mood disorders

Mood disorders are psychological disorders that involve intense and prolonged disturbances to a person’s mood to the point it becomes difficult to carry out daily tasks. A person with a mood disorder may experience extreme highs and lows in terms of their mood change. This can either be in the form of: 

  • Prolonged periods of low mood and/or 
  • A sudden surge of energy resulting in increased speech, activity, agitation and a reduced need for sleep

The two main categories of mood disorders are: 

  • Major Depressive Disorders
  • Bipolar Disorders

Anxiety disorders

Anxiety disorders are a group of mental health disorders characterised by: 

  • Overwhelming amount of uneasiness
  • Excessive worrying
  • Excessive fear

While everybody experiences anxiety at some time, the disorder may exhibit in terms of its severity that impairs day-to-day functioning. Several types of anxiety disorders include:

Generalised Anxiety Disorder

Persons with GAD can’t stop worrying about the following as well as any other matters and this interferes with their daily functioning. The exposure to the subject or situation will result in an anxiety response. There are various signs and symptoms of GAD which include:

types of mental health

More often than not, panic attacks can occur at discrete periods. They usually happen within minutes of an intense fear or discomfort. This will be followed by persistent fear of having another attack.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is characterised by two main features of recurrent obsession or compulsions, or a combination of both. These obsessions and compulsions are serious enough to cause disruptions in the person’s life. OCD becomes a problem when the disorder affects the life of the individual, rendering the individual to be unable to function in his or her daily living.


Schizophrenia is characterised by two main symptoms that can significantly impact an individual’s ability to function in their daily life.

The first symptom is hallucination, which involves a sensory perception of something that is not present in reality. This can include hearing voices, seeing things that are not there, or feeling sensations that have no physical basis.

The second symptom is delusional thoughts, which are false beliefs that are not in line with cultural norms and cannot be changed, even when presented with evidence to the contrary.


Hoarding is persistent difficulty in discarding or parting with possessions. Most commonly hoarded items include.For persons with hoarding behaviour, saved items are not necessary worthless or invaluable.There are common mental health conditions linked to hoarding such as schizophrenia, depression, OCD and dementia. However, hoarding behaviour is not a determinant of a mental health diagnosis.

Personality Disorder

Personality Disorder is a deeply ingrained and maladaptive pattern of thoughts, emotions and behaviour that often result in long-term difficulties in daily functioning. Examples may include the following general cluster of features:

Cluster A

Paranoid, Schizoid, and Schizotypal Personality Disorders. This disorders are characterised by:

  • Odd or eccentric behaviours
  • Social isolation
  • Difficulty forming close relationships

Cluster B

Antisocial, Borderline, Histrionic,and Narcissistic Personality Disorders. This disorders are

characterised by:

  • Dramatic, emotional and erratic behaviours
  • Impulsivity
  • Difficulty regulating emotions

Cluster C

Avoidant, Dependent and Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorders. This disorders are

characterised by:

  • Anxious or fearful behaviours
  • A need for control or perfection
  • Difficulty with decision-making or independence

Generally, people diagnosed with personality disorders tend to be quite rigid in the ways they think, feel and behave. Getting them to conform to other different ways of functioning will only make them more distressed. Currently, there is no medication for personality disorder but psychotherapy can be used to help persons with personality disorder better recognise the effects of their behaviour on others

Treatment and Management of Mental Health Conditions

There are different approaches to treat and manage mental health conditions. The same medication/therapy that work for one individual might not work be effective for another. Different people may take different amounts of time to recover. However, individuals can continue to lead meaningful life after treatment. 


The medical approach involves assessment by doctors for appropriate diagnosis and the administration of medication such as anti-depressants, anti-anxiety medications and anti-psychotic medications. The medications are prescribed and titrated based on the needs of the person living with mental health issues. The common side effects of such medications include tremors, stiffness, nausea, dry mouth, weight gain and over sedation.


Psychotherapy treatment is carried out in the form of education, therapy and counselling. These treatments vary from individual to individual.While treatments are individualised and customised, the support from family members is equally important and family therapies are often included as part of the treatment option.


The process of providing education and information to those seeking help or receiving mental health services.


A non-pharmacological treatment which involves the individual talking with a trained therapist on their struggles with their mental health struggles and other –related issues emotional difficulties.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy

A type of psychotherapy that seeks to assist individuals in managing their issues by altering their thoughts and behaviours.

Behavioural Therapy

Behaviour therapy focuses on changing observable behaviours that are causing problems in a person’s life.


The social approach is about tapping on social networks to support the persons living with mental health conditions. Having good mental health resilience requires the individual to nurture relationships to form a good support system.

The individual can be involved in more face-to-face interactions and community work such as volunteering. A good social network and support will enable the individual to feel fulfilled.

Occupational Therapy

Facilitating the engagement of the person in meaningful activities including self-care to assist in recovery.

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