Symptoms & Treatments of Mental Disorders

By John M. Grohol, Psy.D.

Mental disorders are characterized by problems that people experience with their mind (thoughts) and their mood (feelings). They are not well understood in terms of their causes, but the symptoms of mental illness are scientifically valid and well known. Treatment — usually involving both psychotherapy and medication — for most types of mental illness and mental health concerns is readily available and, eventually, effective for most people.

The diagnostic criteria for mental disorders (also known as “mental illness”) are composed of symptom checklists that primarily are focused on a person’s behaviors and thoughts. These lists of symptoms have been summarized from current diagnostic criteria commonly used in the United States by mental health professionals (the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition). We’ve divided the disorders into three broad categories below: adultchildhood, and personality disorders; some disorders may fall under more than one category.

These disorder lists are in the process of being updated to reflect the changes from the latest edition of the diagnosis manual, the DSM-5.

Please keep in mind that only an experienced mental health professional can make an actual diagnosis.

Learn more: About the DSM-5 or Looking for a DSM Code?


Adult Mental Disorders

Common Disorders

Dissociative Disorders

Feeding & Eating Disorders

Sexual & Paraphilic Disorders

Sleep & Wake Disorders

Childhood Mental Disorders

Childhood disorders, often labeled as developmental disorders or learning disorders, most often occur and are diagnosed when the child is of school-age. Although some adults may also relate to some of the symptoms of these disorders, typically the disorder’s symptoms need to have first appeared at some point in the person’s childhood.

Personality Disorders

These disorders typically aren’t diagnosed until an individual is a young adult, often not until their 20’s or even 30’s. Most individuals with personality disorders lead pretty normal lives and often only seek psychotherapeutic treatment during times of increased stress or social demands. Most people can relate to some or all of the personality traits listed; the difference is that it does not affect most people’s daily functioning to the same degree it might someone diagnosed with one of these disorders. Personality disorders tend to be an intergral part of a person, and therefore, are difficult to treat or “cure.” Learn more about personality disorders and personality traits

Other Mental Disorders & Concerns

More Resources: Mental Illness at The Mighty

Disclaimers & Use Restrictions:

This listing is for personal use in education or research only. This listing is not meant to replace professional advice, diagnosis, or care from a licensed mental health practioner; its sole intent is for patient education. If you believe you may be suffering from one of these disorders, please consult a mental health professional. The diagnostic criteria for mental disorders are summarized from the American Psychiatric Association’s 2013 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5).

Understanding Anxiety

By Jaime B., Therapist

What is anxiety exactly? The definition of anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome. Everyone experiences forms of anxiety in their lives.  Whether it is an upcoming exam, job interview, medical appointment, the birth of a child, traveling in inclement weather, meeting a deadline, or fear of certain things (spiders, snakes, elevators, etc.), any of the above mentioned, and so many more situations can cause us to feel anxiety. With the holidays coming closer upon us, many people feel anxiety this time of year due to planning for the holidays, childcare, taking time off work, traveling, Christmas shopping, cooking, and family gatherings, to name a few.

It’s important to note that everyone feels anxiety to some degree regularly throughout their life — fear and anxiety can be adaptive and helpful emotions that can function to help us notice danger or threat, keep us safe, and help us adapt to the environment.  Anxiety disorders represent states when fear or anxiety becomes severe or extreme, to the extent that it causes an individual significant distress, or impairs their ability to function in important facets of life such as work, school, or relationships.  If anxiety affects your life more adversely than not and causes significant impairment in functioning, you should talk to your health care/mental health care provider about options to assist in decreasing levels of anxiety.

So how do we recognize symptoms of anxiety?  Symptoms can be displayed in different forms.

Psychological symptoms may include:  Feelings of apprehension or dread, Feeling restless or irritable, Feeling tense or jumpy, Anticipating the worst, Constantly watching for signs of danger;

Physical symptoms may include:  Rapid or pounding heartbeat, Shortness of breath, Excessive sweating, Tremors or twitches, Headache, Fatigue or weakness, Insomnia, Nausea or upset stomach, Frequent urination or diarrhea;

It can be tricky to decide when anxiety is typical or linked to a disorder, which is why diagnoses should be made by licensed professionals, such as psychologists or psychiatrists.  A helpful approach to distinguishing normal anxiety from an anxiety disorder is to identify the cause of the anxiety, and then assess whether the anxiety symptoms are a proportional response to it. Worries, fears, and intrusive thoughts that are extreme, unrealistic, or exaggerated and interfere with normal life and functioning could constitute an anxiety disorder. For instance, being concerned about getting sick and taking steps to avoid germs, like using hand sanitizer and avoiding touching door handles, does not necessarily constitute an anxiety disorder; however, if the concern about sickness makes it difficult to leave the house, then it is possible that the person suffers from an anxiety or anxiety-related disorder.

There are many anxiety-related disorders, and they are divided into three main categories:

  1. Anxiety disorders
  2. Obsessive-compulsive and related disorders
  3. Trauma- and stressor-related disorders

If you are struggling with symptoms of an anxiety disorder, it is not uncommon to feel alone and misunderstood. Because others do not experience the fear that people with an anxiety disorder have, they may not understand why, for example, being in a crowd of people, not being able to wash your hands after meeting a new person, or driving through the street where you got in a car accident can be really anxiety-provoking for someone with an anxiety disorder. People may comment that “there is no reason to worry about it” or that you “should just let it go.”

Not everyone understands is that someone with an anxiety disorder cannot “just let things go.” This makes the struggle with an anxiety disorder even harder and may prevent one from looking for help. However, it is critical to talk about these anxieties with someone and preferably find a health care professional as soon as you experience these symptoms. Anxiety should be considered as severe as a physical disease.

If you think you might be struggling with an anxiety disorder, you’re not alone:

  • Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S.
  • Anxiety disorders afflict over 40 million American adults
  • 40% of American adults have experienced an Anxiety Disorder at some point in their life
  • Only 1/3 of adults suffering from anxiety disorders receive treatment
  • Only 1/5 of teenagers suffering from anxiety disorders receive treatment
  • Anxiety disorders are estimated to cost society over $42 billion per year

Prevention and Coping Strategies:  There are many highly effective treatment options available for anxiety and anxiety-related disorders. These treatments can be broadly categorized as: 1) Psychotherapy; 2) Medications; and 3) Complementary and Alternative Therapies (i.e., stress management, meditation, yoga).  Patients diagnosed with anxiety can benefit from one or a combination of these various therapies.   Learning Relaxation Strategies, Mindfulness, Meditation, and Yoga, Exercise, Healthy Diet, and Rest, Awareness and Identifying Triggers, Surrounding yourself with supportive Friendships & Family, and/or contacting a Therapist can be beneficial to coping with anxiety.

Even though not everyone will struggle with a diagnosable anxiety disorder, learning techniques to aid in relief from anxiety and to manage the “normal” anxiety experienced in everyday life can help you live the life you desire.


Highland-Clarksburg Hospital is a private, non-profit mental health hospital located in Clarksburg, WV. HCHI offers services for youth, adults, and forensic patients, all suffering from mental health problems. For more information about Highland-Clarksburg Hospital, visit or call 304-969-3100. Keep up-to-date with our activities and events by following our Facebook page:

Mental Health & Bullying: Bullying in the Workplace

By: Brittney Rutledge
MS Forensic Therapist

Have you ever been willfully excluded or ignored by a coworker? Has your work performance intentionally been sabotaged or undermined? Has a co-worker ever given you constant and unwarranted criticism? If so you have experienced workplace bullying.
Bullying can affect physical and emotional health, both in the short term and later in life. Those who are bullied are at increased risk for mental health problems, headaches, and problems adjusting to school and the workplace. Bullying also can lead to long-term damage to self-esteem. It can lead to physical injury, social problems, emotional problems, and even death.
Research probing the link between bullying and mental health has focused on how being bullied contributes to the development of other issues like anxiety, depression or suicidal ideations. But, a new study suggests the relationship goes both ways, finding those with mental health disorders are three times more likely to be the bully.
Adults who are bullied by their peers often suffer even worse long-term mental health outcomes. Bullying used to be considered an issue mostly impacting children, but that’s no longer true. More and more adults report experiencing mistreatment and hostility at work, turning into a costly problem for employers. Workplace bullying involves multiple, repeated, intentional acts of aggression, hostility, social isolation, or disrespect. These acts often happen in person but also can occur through email, text messaging, and social media. Between 15-19% of working adults are victims of workplace bullying. Perpetrators are usually male (70%) and in supervisory positions (61%), while 60% of the targets are women.
Certain work environments are more likely to foster bullying, such as those with high stress, demanding workloads, and those in which employees feel high levels of job insecurity or boredom. Workplace bullying can harm a company’s reputation, weaken employee morale, and strain finances. Hostility at work is often a significant source of physical and emotional stress, leading to higher health care costs and absenteeism. Individuals mistreated at work can experience increased rates of the following: Insomnia and other sleep problems, high blood pressure, headaches, anxiety, pain and symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder. People who are in hostile work environments are more likely to leave the company, be absent from work, and feel dissatisfied with their job.
Bullying results in companies losing more than $250 million every year. Workplace bullying costs business approximately $14,000 per employee in lost job performance and nearly 18 million workdays are lost each year. Bullying is a manageable problem; despite its cost employers can take action to stop workplace bullying. Rather than turning a blind eye, there are effective ways to eliminate workplace bullying. First, we must acknowledge that workplace bullying exists, is real, and is a problem. Being dismissive and unsupportive only exacerbates the problem. Secondly, we must not normalize unacceptable and bad behavior. Lastly, we must foster a positive and supportive work culture, so employees that have been bullied feel safe in raising incidents with their supervisors and HR specialists. Many coworkers feel ashamed or embarrassed about being targets of workplace bullying and are afraid to report incidents.
Bullying is not always preventable, but employers can significantly reduce the incidents and create a healthier work environment for all. We must all remember that being bullied is not a harmless rite of passage or an inevitable part of life; it has serious long-term consequences. It is important for schools, health services, and other agencies to work together to reduce bullying and the adverse effects related to it.


Highland-Clarksburg Hospital is a private, non-profit mental health hospital located in Clarksburg, WV. HCHI offers services for youth, adults, and forensic patients, all suffering from mental health problems. For more information about Highland-Clarksburg Hospital, visit or call 304-969-3100. Keep up-to-date with our activities and events by following our Facebook page:

Mental Health Awareness

By Nora H.

Each year billions of people across the world wake up facing the reality of living with a mental illness. In the United States one out of five people are affected by mental illness; however, those individuals who are affected are not always recognizable to the public. In today’s society, mental health is stigmatized. Those who have a mental illness try to hide, feel shame and are embarrassed. Seeking help by going to a physician or a therapist has a stigma attached and diminishes the importance of the condition.

Stigma is toxic to one’s mental health conditions. Stigma creates an environment of shame, fear, and silence, which prevents individuals from seeking treatment.  Only 41% of adults in the U.S. with a mental health condition received services in the past year.  Among adults with a serious mental illness, 62.9% received mental health services in the past year. Because of stigma, those individuals living with mental illness can often times rely on self-medicating, which could lead to other health problems including a substance use disorder.  Among the 20.2 million adults in the U.S. who experienced a substance use disorder, 50.5% had a co-occurring mental illness.

However, stigma can be diminished, and treatment should be encouraged. To fight the stigma attached to mental health, society needs to be educated and taught to display compassion, empathy, and understanding. Be the voice and help change mental health stigma. Encourage those living with a mental illness to seek treatment without judgment.


Highland-Clarksburg Hospital is a private, non-profit mental health hospital located in Clarksburg, WV. HCHI offers services for youth, adults, and forensic patients, all suffering from mental health problems.
In the following weeks in May, we will feature blog posts written by staff and therapists here at Highland-Clarksburg Hospital. Posts will include information about breaking the stigma, warning signs of a mental health condition, improving mental health with exercise, nutrition, and mental health, and the top diagnosed mental illnesses.

For more information about Highland-Clarksburg Hospital, visit or call 304-969-3100. Keep up-to-date with our activities and events by following our Facebook page:

Back to School Tips for Parents

It’s that time of year again, summer is winding down and its time to go back to school. This can be an emotional time, for parent and child alike. Mental Health America published some great tips for teachers to do to help:

Cover the basics.
Before you dismiss your child’s outburst as a lack of control, ask yourself if there is a simple explanation for what’s going on. Are they hungry or thirsty? Are they too hot or cold? Are they overstimulated? Did they get enough sleep? Are they feeling under the weather (i.e. – colds, allergies, headaches, upset stomachs)?

Pick your battles.
Ask yourself if this specific behavior is doing any harm, or if it’s just annoying—annoying probably isn’t worth arguing over. If you do get into an argument with your child, resist the urge to raise your voice. Be matter-of-fact and stand your ground.

Environment matters.
Do your best to create a home that is low on stress, safe, and supportive. A “Mary Poppins”-type household would be great, but let’s get real. If you and your signicant other get in a fight, keep it away from the kids. Give reasonable timelines for getting chores done. Praise your child for the things they do well and let them know that you love them.

Encourage communication.
Let your child know that they can talk to you about their thoughts, feelings, or stressful situations they’re dealing with. When they do come to you, really listen to what they have to say. You may not agree or understand, but you need to accept that the difficulties they are having are very real to them. Think about things you struggled with when you were their age.

Timing is everything.
In stressful situations, allow your child some space and address issues later when they have regained control over themselves; otherwise, you’re basically pouring gasoline on a fire.

Create calm.
A child in crisis and out of control cannot rely on reason. Your gut reaction may be to panic or go into mama or papa bear mode, but they depend on you to help them regain a sense of calm and stability. Soften your voice and use short, clear directions: “Come with me.” “Sit down.” “Take a deep breath.” “Tell me what’s going on.”

Help them to help themselves.
Check out Helpful vs. Harmful–Ways to Manage Emotions at, for a breakdown of constructive ways to deal with feelings. It’s great for your child in the long-term, and their teachers will also appreciate strong coping skills. Praise successes and use failures as learning opportunities. Ask questions like, “What can you do the next time you’re in this situation?” or “What made you feel better the last time you felt this way?”

Tackle troubling thoughts.
Sometimes the brain can play tricks on us. We’ve all had something unsettling cross our minds or have assumed someone was mad at us when they weren’t. Break down problem thoughts and bring your child back to reality. For instance, if they think that a friend doesn’t like them anymore, ask them why they think that and if their friend did anything to make them think that way. Or if they are worried that you are going to get hurt in a car accident, remind them that you drive safely to and from work and/or school every day and that your car has airbags to help keep you safe.

Create routines.
Routines give a sense of stability to children and teens, especially those who struggle with anxiety. Keep both bedtime and the morning in mind. The Sleep Foundation recommends 9-11 hours of sleep for children ages 6-13, and 8-10 hours of sleep each night for teens ages 14-17. Make sure that your morning routine includes a healthy, low-sugar breakfast, which keeps young people from getting tired in school and helps improve attention span.

Check your tone.
You may find it tempting to blame problem behaviors on your child hanging out with the “wrong group of friends” – but if you use an accusatory tone, odds are your son or daughter will stop listening. Frame your approach from a place of care and concern, not anger.

Source: MHA Back to School Toolkit

For more information about Highland-Clarksburg Hospital, visit or call 304-969-3100. Keep up-to-date with our activities and events by following our Facebook page:


Highland-Clarksburg Hospital (HCHI) is a private, non-profit hospital that is dedicated to providing the best care for persons with mental disorders in West Virginia, parts of Ohio, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. It has established an integrated system of high-quality behavioral health services, including mental health treatment services for Children, Adolescents’ and Forensic patients. Highland-Clarksburg Hospital is an equal opportunity provider and employer.