Mental Health Disorder Symptoms, Causes, & Effects

Mental health disorders impact the lives of many people. They are conditions that negatively affect the way people behave, feel, think, perceive things, and interact with others. There are many different types of mental health concerns, all of which have a variety of symptoms that can cause devastation in the lives of people who are suffering from them.

At Montrose Behavioral Health Hospital, we recognize the impact mental health concerns can have, and we have dedicated ourselves to helping people heal.

Signs & Symptoms of Mental Health Disorders

The signs that a person is struggling with a mental health concern will vary both in type and severity depending on a number of factors, including their age, the disorder they have, and whether they have received treatment in the past. 

Examples of different types of symptoms that might be a sign that someone is suffering from a mental health disorder include: 

  • Extreme mood swings 
  • Suddenly spending less time with family and friends 
  • Changes in sleep patterns (e.g., sleeping more or less than they usually do) 
  • Acting jittery 
  • Obsessive behaviors 
  • Impulsive behaviors 
  • Acting overly tired or overly excited 
  • Harming themselves on purpose 
  • Acting violently 
  • Talking or thinking about suicide or dying 
  • Seeing or hearing things that aren’t there 
  • Changes in eating patterns 
  • Having difficulty focusing 
  • Using drugs or alcohol 

If someone is experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important that they seek professional help as quickly as possible. 

Causes of & Risk Factors for Mental Health Disorders

Mental health disorders do not have any one specific cause, and certain risk factors don’t apply to every mental health concern. However, there are some things that researchers and physicians have noted may impact the development of mental health disorder symptoms. While they will vary based on the specific disorder or concern a person is suffering from, they can include: 

  • Family history of mental health concerns 
  • Experiencing or witnessing a traumatic event 
  • Going through significant life changes, like divorce, losing a job, or the death of a loved one 
  • Being abused or neglected 
  • Experiencing significant stress 
  • Using drugs or alcohol 
  • Having certain medical conditions 

Mental Health Disorder Statistics

Studies on the number of people who suffer from mental health disorders are ongoing. As of 2020, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) reported that approximately 21% of Americans age 18 and older had a form of mental illness, equating to about 53 million people. 

In 2019, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) shared that data from 2016 showed that an estimated 1 in 6 children ages 6-17 suffered from mental health disorders, including anxiety, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and depression. 

Sadly, many people who have symptoms of mental health disorders do not receive treatment. AAFP also noted that their analysis found that nearly half of the children who had a diagnosable mental illness did not receive counseling or other forms of treatment. 

What Effects Can Mental Health Disorders Have? 

People who have mental health disorders can receive effective treatment that helps them learn how to manage their symptoms and experience relief from the turmoil the conditions can cause. If left untreated, however, mental health disorders can have a devastating impact. 

People who do not receive care for mental health concerns are at risk for experiencing the following effects: 

  • Poor performance at work or in school 
  • Job loss or school expulsion 
  • Unhealthy relationships with family and friends 
  • Isolation 
  • Declining physical health 
  • Worsening of mental health symptoms 
  • Financial problems 
  • Homelessness 
  • Injuries as the result of reckless or impulsive behaviors 
  • Legal problems 
  • Suicidal thoughts and behaviors 

Co-Occurring Disorders

It is not uncommon for people who are struggling with mental health concerns to experience symptoms of two or more disorders at the same time. This will inevitably increase the severity of their suffering. 

In addition to two or more mental health disorders occurring at the same time, there are many instances in which people who are experiencing symptoms of mental illness turn to drugs or alcohol as a way of coping. Doing so puts them at risk for developing a substance use disorder, which is the clinical term for addiction. 

Fortunately, comprehensive care is available for people who are struggling with co-occurring disorders. At Montrose Behavioral Health Hospital, our clinical professionals are able to address all symptoms a person is experiencing, helping to ensure that they can fully heal.

Is There a Cure for Mental Health Disorders?

There is no cure for mental health disorders, but effective treatment can help people learn to manage their symptoms and increase their ability to live a healthy and satisfying life. In some cases, people may need medication to help reduce or eliminate their symptoms, but this is not always necessary and is determined on a case-by-case basis. 

At Montrose Behavioral Health Hospital, we customize the care our patients receive so that all needs are met and all concerns are addressed, leaving them confident in their ability to thrive once treatment has come to an end.

This content was written on behalf of and reviewed by the clinical staff at Montrose Behavioral Health Hospital.