mental health disorders

A Closer Look at Three Most Commonly Diagnosed Mental Illnesses

Let’s look closer at the three most commonly diagnosed and treated mental illnesses in the U.S. While some symptoms overlap, they are also distinct disorders with unique symptoms. 

Mental illness is being talked about more than ever – and that’s a good thing. According to SAMHSA, about 18 percent of U.S. adults reported a mental health disorder in 2017. Some mental illnesses are more common than others. Licensed psychologists report that they frequently treat depressive disorders, trauma disorders, and stressor-related disorders. 

Since the pandemic, mental health has become an even greater focus for medical professionals, as research shows that mental illness is much more common and severe than previously believed. Instead of telling people to ‘toughen up,’ mental health finally receives the level of care and concern that a physical injury would. 

1. Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders are characterized by feelings of extreme fear and worry. These disorders transcend the normal feelings of stress and anxiety, with symptoms interfering with daily life, personal relationships and well-being. Examples of common anxiety disorders are generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety and other phobia-related conditions. 

Fortunately, anxiety disorders are treatable. They respond well to medication, psychotherapy, and alternative health approaches, such as deep breathing and guided imagery. It’s important to take anxiety disorders seriously and seek appropriate treatment, otherwise they can lead to disability, trouble at work, and a heightened risk for suicide or self-harm. 

2. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

PTSD is caused by experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event, such as abuse, neglect or a natural disaster. The most common symptoms associated with this disorder are flashbacks, sadness, fear, anger and detachment. It’s common for people with PTSD to avoid people or situations that remind them of the traumatic event. 

PTSD is a treatable condition, and the earlier treatment starts, the better the chance for recovery. There are specific therapies used for trauma patients, including: 

  • Prolonged exposure therapy 
  • Cognitive processing therapy 
  • Trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy 
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR)
  • Group therapy 

3. Depression 

Major depressive disorder affects 17.3 million American adults, or about 7.1 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older. Depression often co-occurs with other conditions, such as cancer, strokes, heart attacks and coronary artery disease. Without treatment, depression can lead to problems with substance use, ruin relationships, cause problems at work, and increase the risk for suicide and self-harm.

To be diagnosed with depression, you must experience a depressive episode for more than 2 weeks. Depressive episodes typically involve symptoms such as hopelessness, a lack of energy, and thoughts of death and suicide. Like anxiety, depression is a treatable condition. While there is no cure, advances in medicine and therapy have made treating depression easier and more effective. 

Outpatient Mental Health Treatment 

Awakenings Treatment Center is an outpatient mental health facility in Agoura Hills, Californa. We treat a wide range of mental health disorders, along with co-occurring conditions like substance use and eating disorders. Contact our admissions department to learn more about our services and how we can help you or a loved one start treatment.