Signs and symptoms of mental illnesses vary from person to person, but paying close attention to our mental state is essential in order to notice when something is wrong. It is essential to treat mental illness with the same level of concern that we treat our physical health with. A licensed mental health provider can help you navigate any of your mental health concerns. 

Below are some common mental health symptoms and disorders, which are highlighted for educational purposes only and are not intended to replace guidance from a mental health professional.

Common Signs That May Indicate a Mental Illness

It is important to be cognizant of changes in behavior, mood, and thinking, as these may be indicative of a mental health condition. If you're concerned about your mental health, consult a mental health professional for assistance.    

Behavior Mood Thinking 
Changes in sleep habits, tiredness, & energy  Excessive worry or fear Difficulties understanding or relating to others
Inability to handle daily stressors or basic day-to-day activities  Extreme mood changes (uncontrollable highs/euphoria) Confusion or problems concentrating & learning
Changes in eating habits (e.g., hunger levels or lack of appetite) Intense fear of weight gain & appearance concern Inability to perceive changes in our own feelings, behavior, or personality
Avoiding friends & social activities Feeling excessively sad or low Difficulty perceiving reality (delusions or hallucinations)
Overuse of substances like drugs or alcohol Prolonged irritability or anger
Changes in sex drive Suicidal ideation or intent

Table by nonprofit Transamerica Institute

Source: National Alliance on Mental Illness

Common Mental Health Conditions & Disorders

Mental illness is typically broken up into four categories including mood disorders, anxiety disorders, personality disorders, & psychotic disorders.

Below are some general symptoms and disorders (not exhaustive lists of symptoms): 

Note: It is important to seek guidance from a qualified mental health professional. 

Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety is a normal part of the human experience -- however when the fear and distress become overwhelming or unmanageable, an anxiety disorder may be the root.
 Disorder        Diagnosis         General Symptoms 
Anxiety Disorders    General Anxiety Disorder
  • Feelings of apprehension, dread, or worry.
  • Sweating, tremors, twitches
  • Feeling tense, restlessness, irritability
  • Pounding, racing heart
  • Shortness of breath
 Panic Disorder
 Social Anxiety Disorder
 Separation Anxiety Disorder
Specific Phobias

Learn more about anxiety

Attention Deficit Hyper-Activity Disorder

Many symptoms of ADHD are “normal”, but if these symptoms are long in duration, uncontrollable, and frequent they might be a cause for concern.
 Disorder        Diagnosis         General Symptoms 
Attention Deficit Hyper-Activity Disorder "ADHD"
  • Inattention
  • Hyperactivity
  • Impulsivity

Learn more about ADHD.

Bipolar Disorders

People with a bipolar disorder experience very high and very low moods compared to the typical mood changes most humans endure.
 Disorder        Diagnosis         General Symptoms 
Bipolar Disorder    Bipolar 1 Disorder
  • Mania
  • Depression
   Bipolar 2 Disorder

Learn more about bipolar disorder.

Eating Disorders

It is normal to think about what your next meal will be, but when thoughts surrounding food and weight begin to preoccupy your focus, attention, and energy -- it might be a sign of an eating disorder.
 Disorder        Diagnosis         General Symptoms 
Eating Disorder Anorexia Nervosa
  • Extreme food & weight issues that cause serious emotional & physical problems.
 Bulimia Nervosa
Binge Eating Disorders

Learn more about eating disorders.


Most people experience at least one depressive episode in their lifetime. If symptoms begin to affect your ability to function, it is essential to seek treatment.
 Disorder        Diagnosis         General Symptoms 
Depression Depressive Episodes
  • Hopelessness, guilt, suicidal thoughts
  • Lack energy, interest, or concentration
  • Changes in sleep, appetite, movement
Major Depressive Disorder

Learn more about depression

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

It is normal to experience a short-term response to traumatic events, but it is important to recognize & find treatment if the event causes lasting effects on your mental health.
 Disorder        Diagnosis         General Symptoms 
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder "PTSD"
  • Hypervigilance
  • Recurring involuntary and intrusive distressing memories
  • Avoidance
  • Cognitive & mood symptoms

Learn more about PTSD

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

It is common to experience occasional reoccurring thoughts (obsessions) or behaviors (compulsions), however, in those with obsessive-compulsive disorder, these symptoms interfere with daily life for more than an hour each day.
 Disorder        Diagnosis         General Symptoms 
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder "OCD"
  • Compulsions: repetitive acts to relieve stress from obsessions
  • Obsessions: repetitive intrusive, irrational thoughts/impulses.
OCD w/ Body Dysmorphic Disorder
OCD w/ Hoarding Disorder
OCD w/ Trichotillomania

Learn more about OCD.

Psychotic Disorders

Psychosis is not a break from reality, but someone’s thoughts being disrupted by hallucinations. It is vital to seek treatment if your ability to clearly think, manage emotions, or relate to others is impeded by delusions or hallucinations.
 Disorder        Diagnosis         General Symptoms 
Psychotic Disorders Schizoaffective Disorder
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Disorganized thinking
  • Depressed Mood
  • Manic Behavior
Delusional Disorder
Brief Psychotic Disorder

Learn more about psychosis

Substance Use Disorders 

Some people use certain substances recreationally, but it is crucial to recognize your behavior and check in with your intentions, coping strategies, mental health, & frequency of use.
 Disorder        Diagnosis         General Symptoms 
Substance Use Disorder Substance Use Disorder    
  • Feeling of needing the drug to function
  • Withdrawal from others
  • Changes in behavior or risky behavior
Co-occurring Disorders (substance use w/ other mental illness)

Learn more about substance use disorders.