Mental illness otherwise called as mental disorder or psychiatric disorder is a disturbance in the normal mental physiology of a person that causes impairments reflecting onto behavioral aspects and personal functioning of a person. This must be considered as an important problem since this is associated with an increased risk of death and having a significant loss of autonomy. These dreadful illnesses may be chronic, persistent, relapsing or they might also be occurring as single episodes. The exact causes of mental disorders still remain unclear.

Woman having an anxiety attack surrounded by people walking in a busy street.

Classification of Mental Disorders

There are two main methods in the classification of mental disorders, according to ICD-10 and DSM-IV

The International Classification of Diseases (ICD)
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health

The International Classification of Diseases (ICD)

The International Classification of Diseases (ICD), is an international diagnostic classification standard for many diseases or health conditions. According to ICD-10, there are 10 main groups of behavioral and mental disorders, numbered from F0 to F9. They are as follows,

  • F0: Organic mental disorders e.g., dementia, amnesia, Alzheimer’s disorder
  • F1: Mental disorders due to substance abuse
  • F2: Schizotypal and delusional disorders
  • F3: Mood disorders e.g., Major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder
  • F4: Neurotic disorders e.g., obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder
  • F5: Behavioral syndromes e.g., anxiety disorders.
  • F6: Personality disorders in adults e.g., borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder
  • F7: Mental retardation
  • F8: Disorders of psychological development e.g., Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, autism spectrum disorders
  • F9: Behavioral and emotional disorders e.g., eating disorder

Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health (DSM-IV)

The DSM-IV, developed by American Psychiatric Association, was published in 1994. It lists more than 250 mental disorders. The DSM-IV primarily consists of five axes or domains into which the mental disorders can be categorized. They are,

  1. Axis I: Clinical disorders
  2. Axis II: Personality disorders and mental retardation
  3. Axis III: General medical conditions connected to a mental disorder
  4. Axis IV: Psychosocial and environmental problems
  5. Axis V: Global assessment of functioning.
Prevalence of DSM-IV Conduct Disorder

A small description of the most commonly prevailing types of mental illnesses are given below.

Anxiety disorders:

A disorder where fear or anxiety interferes with that of normal physiology can be termed an anxiety disorder. E.g., phobias, social anxiety disorder, etc.

Mood disorders:

In this type of disorder, the mood process of a person can be affected and disordered. E.g., the most common problem everyone is facing is depression. There is an unusually intense expression of sadness or despair. Bipolar disorder is another such disorder that falls into this category. It involves abnormally “high” mood states also called mania alternating with depressive episodes.

Psychotic disorders:

Here, the pattern and perception of reality, belief, or even use of language can become dysregulated. Eq, schizophrenia – this can be termed as an alternate reality. One such patient with schizophrenia used to communicate with the walls in her teenage.

A human head with Mental Disorders

Personality disorders:

The personality of the person becomes disoriented when in the case of personality disorders. E.g. obsessive-compulsive disorders feature a pattern of fears and obsessions which leads to repetitive behavior causing interference with daily activities.

Eating disorders:

Eating disorders are those that disrupt a person’s eating pattern, especially those who are concerned with their body shape and appearance. E.g.., anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa etc.

Sleep disorders:

These disorders are associated with disturbances in normal sleep patterns. E.g.., insomnia, where the person has difficulty in falling asleep.

Substance abuse disorder:

This set of disorders refers to the overuse of drugs that can cause serious impairments to the physiology of the body and harm to the person.

Developmental disorders:

This set of disorders mostly occurs in childhood and teenage. These people lack development in behavior and social skills, hence facing difficulties. Eq, autism spectrum disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Thus these are quite a few ways by which mental illnesses can be classified. More details about mental illness will be discussed in the upcoming blog. Stay tuned till then.

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