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Learn the Facts: Mental Illness

The basics

It’s important to have a basic understanding about mental health disorders that are common among young people.

Mood Disorders

Mood disorders involve persistent feelings of sadness or periods of feeling overly happy. Sometimes moods may fluctuate from one extreme to another. Common mood disorders include depression and bipolar disorder.

Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders include panic attacks, phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders involve extreme emotions, attitudes, and behaviors about food, weight, and self-image. Anorexia is when someone doesn’t eat enough and becomes very thin. Bulimia is when someone overeats, then purges, such as by forced vomiting. People with bulimia may be of normal weight.

Personality Disorders

People with personality disorders have extreme and inflexible personality traits. They may have trouble perceiving and relating to situations and people. Two common disorders are antisocial personality disorder and borderline personality disorder.

Substance Use Disorders

A substance use disorder is the repeated use of alcohol or drugs. Substance use disorders make it difficult for people to meet family, work, or school obligations. Some people with a mental health disorder may also have a substance use disorder.

Psychotic Disorders

Psychotic disorders are when someone loses contact with reality and experiences hallucinations or delusions. For example, schizophrenia is a disorder that can be characterized by hallucinations or delusional thoughts.

Suicidal Thoughts and Behavior

Suicidal behavior involves thoughts of wanting to die or trying to kill oneself. People who are suicidal often experience feelings of extreme sadness and hopelessness.

Learn the warning signs of mental illness

Do you know how to tell if a young person is going through a crisis or needs help? Young people are often reluctant to talk about their problems. But that doesn’t mean they’re not expressing themselves. Keep your eyes open for the warning signs of mental illness, such as these:

MentalHealth.gov provides a complete list of warning signs and resources.


Texas Health and Human Services
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