Mental Illnesses – Types, Symptoms, and Treatments (Part 2)

S Sharanya

May 25, 2021

Read part 1 of Mental Illnesses – Types, Symptoms and Treatments here

Mental illnesses are treatable, provided we have the right kind of awareness on how to get help. This article explains the various mental disorders and their due course of treatment. 

As far as types of mental health disorders are concerned, there are many. In part 1 of Mental Illnesses – Types, Symptoms, and Treatments we discussed disorders such as Substance use disorder, Bipolar disorder, and Schizophrenia. Part 2 of the blog talks about how to identify Depression, Emotional eating, etc.

Table of contents:

#1 Depression


Depression is a common yet complex mood disorder that affects different people differently. A person with depression is likely to feel gloomy, sad, depressed, and angry at different intervals. Experiencing these emotions is normal and integral to life. However, when these feelings impair the quality of life (social and personal life of an individual) and decision-making skills for a persistent time, then it is likely that he/she requires counseling or psychiatric intervention.

Symptoms of depression

  • Feeling down and depressed 
  • Lack of interest in things you enjoyed otherwise
  • Too little or too much sleep
  • Changes in appetite
  • Feeling of hopelessness
  • Feeling tired for no reason
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Problems with decision making and concentration

Treatment for depression

  • Talk therapy/ counseling: where a trained professional understands the root cause of the problem and uses an eclectic approach to plan treatment.
  • Medications: Your doctor may prescribe antidepressants to counter the issues with your brain chemistry. Antidepressants can help you with improving your symptoms significantly.
  • Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT): If other treatments were not effective enough on you, your doctor is likely to recommend ECT.
  • Self-help: In most cases, a mental illness won’t get better if you try to treat it on your own without professional care. But you can do some things for yourself that will build on your treatment plan such as stick to your treatment plan and don’t skip therapy sessions.

#2 Eating Disorders

Eating disorders

Eating disorders are severe mental conditions. People with this condition become preoccupied with the food they eat and how it affects their body weight. It leads to serious disruptions in their eating habits that impact their overall health and prevent them from functioning normally in daily life. Eating disorders impact millions of people, and it mostly includes women in the range of 12 years to 35 years. 

Some of the most common eating disorders include – bulimia nervosa, anorexia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder.

Symptoms of eating disorders

Bulimia nervosa

  • Bouts of binge eating
  • Forced vomiting after eating
  • Misuse of drugs like laxatives and diuretics
  • Whining about body weight and their image
  • Expressing guilt after eating
  • Sore throat
  • Depression

Anorexia nervosa

  • Eating too little to limit calorie intake
  • Constant anxiety and fear of being fat
  • Forceful vomiting after every meal
  • Dry skin
  • Thinning of bones
  • Brittle nails
  • Depression
  • Extreme tiredness

Binge-eating disorder

  • Eating quickly
  • Continue eating until the stomach is uncomfortably stuffed
  • Eating too much even when not hungry
  • Feeling depressed and guilty for overeating

Treatment option for eating disorders

Your doctor is more likely to follow a team approach to treat an eating disorder, including mental health experts, caregivers, your family, and dieticians. The treatment options mainly include the following:

  • Healthy diet: The team of healthcare experts will work with you to chalk out a healthy diet plan and eating patterns according to your needs.
  • Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy or talk therapy is likely to include FBT (Family-based therapy) and CBT (Cognitive-behavioral therapy).
  • Medications: Although there are no specific medications for eating disorders, your doctor may prescribe certain medications, such as antidepressants, to manage your symptoms.
  • Hospitalization: If you have severe malnutrition that could be life-threatening, you may need hospitalization.

#3 Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental disorder that is often an aftereffect of a horrifying event. The person experiencing PTSD can either be a victim or an eyewitness. Although difficult to cope with, initially, with good care and treatment, the symptoms are most likely to improve. 

Symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder

The symptoms of PTSD are divided into four categories. It includes the following:

Intrusive memories

  • Repeated memories and flashback of the dreadful event
  • Nightmares related to the event
  • Severe and abrupt physical or emotional reactions to something similar to the event


  • Avoiding going to places, meeting people, and doing things that trigger the memories of the event
  • Avoiding even talking about the same

Negative changes in understanding and mood

  • Hopelessness
  • Feeling isolated and detached
  • Constantly feeling bad about yourself and the world around you
  • Problems with maintaining relationships
  • Hard to think positively
  • Feeling emotionally drained

Variations in physical and emotional reactions

  • Problems with sleeping
  • Issues with focusing
  • Self-destructive behavioral patterns
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Feeling like you’re in danger always

Treatment options for post-traumatic stress disorder

With proper treatment, people with post-traumatic stress disorder can regain the lost control of their lives. The treatment options include the following:

  • Psychotherapy: It includes cognitive therapy, exposure therapy, and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy to help you cope with the memories of whatever traumatic has happened. 
  • Medications: Your doctor may also prescribe certain medications including antidepressants, anti-anxiety drugs, and prazosin to help you with this mental health condition.

#4 Gender Dysphoria

Gender Dysphoria

Gender dysphoria is a distressing psychological condition in which a person feels uncomfortable or embarrassed due to his/her gender identity that differs from their gender-related physical features or is different from their assigned gender at the time of birth. This condition is likely to affect sex-nonconforming people and transgender.

Symptoms of gender dysphoria

  • Distinct differences between the primary/secondary gender features and inner sex identity
  • An intense desire to free yourself from the primary/secondary gender features
  • An intense wish to be addressed and treated as the gender that is not the assigned gender
  • A strong desire to be treated as the other gender or an alternate gender different from the assigned gender

Treatment options for gender dysphoria

Proper treatment can allow people with gender dysphoria to understand their sexual identity and recognize the sex they are comfortable in. However, as no two people are the same, their treatment plans are likely to vary. Some of the most common treatment options include the following:

  • Hormone therapy
  • Behavioral therapy
  • Surgery

#5 Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety and apprehensions are normal responses to certain undesired situations. However, when occasional anxiety becomes consistent and overwhelming that affects the quality of your life, it is no more a normal emotion but a mental illness. There are different types of anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, panic attacks, social anxiety disorder, phobias, selective mutism, and separation anxiety disorder, among others.

Symptoms of anxiety disorders

  • A constant sense of discomfort, fear, and panic
  • Difficulty in sleeping
  • Dry mouth
  • Difficulty breathing and heart palpitations
  • Unable to maintain calm
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Overthinking
  • Unable to concentrate

Treatment options for anxiety disorders

Depending on your condition, your doctor may recommend the following treatment options:

  • Medications, including antidepressants, benzodiazepines, bupropion, beta-blockers, antipsychotics
  • Psychotherapy to help you understand and manage your symptoms

#6 Intellectual Disability

 Intellectual Disability

Intellectual disability is a type of mental health condition. A person with this ailment can have problems related to the following aspects:

  • Intellectual functioning: It involves issues with learning, judging, and problem-solving abilities
  • Adaptive functioning: It involves activities related to daily life, like eating and communicating

Symptoms of intellectual disability

  • Problems with remembering things
  • Behavioral problems
  • Having issues with talking
  • Issues with learning things like feeding and dressing
  • Lack of logical thinking
  • Having trouble while talking

Treatment options for intellectual disability

Although it is a lifelong problem, early intervention is most likely to help with improving the symptoms. Some of the most common treatment options include the following:

  • Early medical intervention, especially in kids
  • Special education
  • Transition services
  • Respite care
  • Daycare programs
  • Vocational training
  • Medication
  • Hospitalization, if needed

#7 Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is a neurologic condition in which the brain shrinks, leading to the death of brain cells. It is a progressive disease. And it is one of the most common reasons behind dementia (a condition that gradually limits the ability of a person to function independently.

Symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease

  • Issues with both long-term and short-term memory
  • Behavioral and personality changes
  • Showing passive behavior like sleeping more than needed
  • Problems with understanding language
  • Confusion
  • Inability to learn new things
  • Difficulty in recognizing shapes and sizes

Treatment for Alzheimer’s disease


Medications for treating Alzheimer’s disease can help you with improving your symptoms and memory. Some common drugs used for treating Alzheimer’s include the following:

  • Cholinesterase inhibitors
  • Memantine (Namenda)

Supportive and safe environment

Designing a safe, secure, and supportive environment so that the person with Alzheimer’s can lead a quality and easy life, such as keeping medications & other essential items in place, and installing strong handrails on the stairs.

#8 Hoarding Disorder

Hoarding Disorder

Hoarding disorder is a type of mental health condition in which a person is excessively possessive about saving items that other people are likely to find useless. They tend to save possibly every item that creates a mess around their home and even workspaces. Sometimes, the clutter can also make it difficult to move around in the house.

Symptoms of hoarding disorder

  • Issues with throwing away possessions irrespective of their value
  • Feeling a strong need to save all the items
  • Getting upset on the very thought of throwing them or giving them away
  • Creating a mess with all the clutter that there is no space left

Treatment options for hoarding disorder

With proper treatment, people who have hoarding disorder can control their habit of holding on to things. The treatment options for this condition include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Medication

Your mental health involves your psychological, physical, and overall well-being. It can affect various aspects of your life, including –  

  • How do you think?
  • How do you perceive things?
  • How do you feel about them?
  • How do you act in a given situation?

Therefore, you need to make sure to take care of your mental health as well. Don’t get ashamed or feel embarrassed. Whenever you feel that there might be a problem, seek medical help.

Are you looking for guidance and support? Our Psychologists can help.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Is therapy or taking drugs better for mental health conditions?

A. Each patient is treated differently. The treatment will depend on the patient’s condition.  Medication or alternatives such as psychotherapy, exercise, or a combination of these are used.

Antidepressants are effective in some cases, while they might not be the answer for all. Please ask your doctor to explain the side effects of the medication to you so you can make an informed decision about the treatment. Please make sure you do not skip appointments with the doctor, as your medicines and plan need to be reviewed from time to time.

Nowadays, CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and counseling are widely used to treat mental health conditions. Doctors offer a range of treatments to patients that include drugs, counseling, or therapies.

Q. I feel quite low sometimes. Should I see a doctor or therapist?

A. We all feel low sometimes. We must share and open up to someone about our fears and insecurities.  The love and support of dear ones can be valuable and may help the person overcome his/her problems without seeking additional help. If the problem persists and the symptoms have started to interfere with your routine, you must speak to your primary care physician.

About the Author

Sharanya Swaminathan holds a post-graduate degree in Psychology from Christ University in Bangalore and is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Philosophy in Psychology. Sharanya is invested in making mental health the new normal through an evidence-based eclectic approach. She is one of the few certified Prevention of Sexual Harassment members that is empaneled by the Government of India. Sharanya is ecstatic that HealthifyMe shares the same belief that overall well-being can be achieved only when physical and mental health work in tandem.

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