Common Mental Health Diagnoses

Concerned about your mental health or a loved one’s mental health? Taking our anonymous mental health screening is one of the quickest and easiest ways to determine whether you are experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition.

Below are signs and symptoms of common mental health diagnoses.  To learn more about research, treatment, and therapies, click on the links below each diagnosis.

Depression

Depression is a mood disorder that affects how one feels, thinks, and acts, and interferes with daily life activities.

Signs and symptoms of depression include:

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Irritability
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
  • Loss of interest in hobbies or activities
  • Decreased energy or fatigue
  • Moving or talking more slowly than usual
  • Feeling restless
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
  • Difficulty sleeping, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
  • Changes in appetite
  • Aches or pains, headaches, cramps, or digestive problems without a clear physical cause
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Not everyone experiencing depression will experience every symptom. Some people may experience many symptoms, while others may only experience a few symptoms. To be diagnosed with depression, the symptoms a person is experiencing must be present for at least two weeks.

Learn more about depression:

National Institute of Mental Health

Mental Health America

 

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder is a mood disorder that is characterized by periods of depression and periods of mania. It causes shifts in energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks.

Signs and symptoms of a depressive episode include:

  • Feeling sad, down, empty or hopeless
  • Having very little energy
  • Decreased activity levels
  • Having trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Feeling worried or empty
  • Having trouble concentrating
  • Changes in appetite
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Signs and symptoms of a manic episode include:

  • Feeling “up,” “high,” or elated
  • Having a lot of energy
  • Having increased activity levels
  • Feeling jumpy or wired
  • Having trouble sleeping
  • Talking fast
  • Feeling agitated or irritable
  • Feeling like their mind is racing
  • Engaging in risky behaviors

There are four diagnoses of bipolar disorder:

  • Bipolar I Disorder: characterized by a pattern manic episodes that last at least 7 days or are very severe and depressive episodes that last at least two weeks
  • Bipolar II Disorder: characterized by a pattern of depressive episodes and hypomanic episodes (episodes of less severe mania)
  • Cyclothymic Disorder (Cyclothymia): characterized by a pattern of hypomanic symptoms and depressive symptoms that last for at least two years
  • Unspecified Bipolar Disorder: characterized by manic and depressive symptoms but do not meet the criteria for another diagnosis

Learn more about bipolar disorder:

National Institute of Mental Health

Mental Health America 

 

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is characterized by persistent, exaggerated worry and tension about everyday issues, even if there is little reason to worry about them.

Signs and symptoms of GAD include:

  • Restlessness or feeling wound-up or on edge
  • Being easily fatigued
  • Difficulty concentrating or experiencing their mind going blank
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension
  • Difficulty controlling worries about everyday things
  • Knowing they are worrying too much
  • Not being able to relax
  • Being easily startled
  • Difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Feeling tired all the time
  • Having a hard time swallowing
  • Trembling or twitching
  • Sweating or feeling light-headed

Not everyone experiencing GAD will experience every symptom. GAD often co-exists with depression.

Learn more about GAD and other anxiety disorders:

National Institute of Mental Health

Mental Health America

 

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD is an anxiety disorder that some people develop after seeing or living through an event that caused or threatened serious harm or death. Symptoms generally begin within three months of the traumatic incident, but sometimes begin years after the incident.

Signs and symptoms of PTSD include:

  • Flashbacks – reliving the trauma over and over
  • Racing heart or sweating
  • Bad dreams
  • Frightening thoughts
  • Staying away from places or events that are reminders of the trauma
  • Having trouble remembering pieces of the traumatic event
  • Being easily startled
  • Feeling tense or on edge
  • Having difficulty sleeping
  • Loss of interest in enjoyable activities
  • Distorted feelings like guilt or blame
  • Having angry outbursts
  • Thoughts of hurting oneself or others

It is natural to experience these symptoms after a traumatic event. If symptoms last more than a month and affect one’s ability to function, they might be PTSD.

Learn more about PTSD:

National Institute of Mental Health

Mental Health America

Support & Coping Techniques for College Students with PTSD

 

Schizophrenia and Psychosis

Schizophrenia is a brain disorder that is characterized by psychosis as the primary symptom. Psychosis is a condition in which there has been some loss of contact with reality. Someone who is experiencing psychosis may have trouble distinguishing between what is real and what is not as a result of delusions, hallucinations, or paranoia.

Symptoms of Schizophrenia fall in to three categories – positive, negative, and cognitive:

Positive Symptoms include psychotic behaviors:

  • Hallucinations: hearing or seeing something that isn’t there
  • Delusions: irrational or intense beliefs that a person believes to be true
  • Paranoia or feelings of being watched
  • Agitated body movements or unusual body positioning

Negative symptoms include disruptions to emotions and moods:

  • Flat affect
  • Feeling indifferent or numb
  • Change in personality
  • Change in personal hygiene and appearance
  • Increasing withdrawal from social situations
  • Irrational, angry, or fearful response to loved ones
  • Inability to sleep or concentrate

Cognitive symptoms include changes in memory and thinking:

  • Poor executive functioning: difficulty understanding information and making decisions
  • Trouble focusing or paying attention
  • Problems with working memory: having trouble using information immediately after learning it

Learn more about schizophrenia and psychosis:

National Institute of Mental Health

Mental Health America

We Can Navigate: resources for people experiencing psychosis in Minnesota

 

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) is characterized by a pattern of instability in moods, behavior, self-image, and functioning. BPD has a high rate of co-occurrence with other mental health diagnoses such as mood disorders, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, and substance use disorder.

Signs and symptoms of BPD include:

  • Experiencing intense, often difficult to manage emotions and moods
  • Experiencing intense moods that change quickly
  • Recurrent, impulsive, and often self-destructive behaviors to regulate intense emotions
  • Experiencing a push-pull dynamic in interpersonal relationships characterized by a fear of both attachment and abandonment
  • Efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment
  • Distorted self-image or sense of self
  • Chronic feelings of emptiness
  • Intense anger or problems controlling anger
  • Experiencing dissociative symptoms, such as feeling cut off from oneself or observing oneself from outside the body
  • Experiencing paranoid thoughts
  • Self-harm, such as cutting
  • Recurring suicidal thoughts and behaviors

Learn more about BPD:

National Institute of Mental Health

Mental Health America

 

Substance Use Disorders (SUD)

Substance Use Disorders (SUD) are characterized by the recurrent use of alcohol and/or drugs that causes significant functional impairments and health problems.Signs and symptoms of SUD include:

  • Use of alcohol or drugs even when health, work, or loved ones are being harmed
  • Impairment of daily activities, such as going to work or school
  • Inability to control alcohol or drug use
  • Need for regular alcohol or drug use to function
  • Not caring about physical appearance
  • No longer engaging in favorite hobbies or activities
  • Secretive use of drugs or alcohol

Learn more about substance use disorders:

National Institute of Mental Health

SAMSHA

Mental Health America

 

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are characterized by extreme disturbances in eating behavior, including dramatic calorie reduction, purging behaviors, overeating, and distress about body weight. Eating disorders are serious illnesses and are not a lifestyle choice.

Common eating disorders include Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder, and Compulsive Overeating.

Learn more about eating disorders:

The Emily Program

National Institute of Mental Health

Mental Health America