Categories of Disorders

There are a host of mental disorders that occur, but fortunately they can be divided into groups:

Developmental Disorders These appear in childhood, and generally have lasting effects. In essence, they represent problems in the course of normal cognitive, emotional or psychosocial development
Personality Disorders These take all of childhood and most of adolescence to develop. They are far reaching in their extent and difficult to treat. In essence, they are disorders of the person�s whole way of living and relating to others.
Mood Disorders These are impairments in the variation of mood, the underlying emotional tendencies we have that can carry us toward greater or lesser strength and frequency of either positive or negative emotional states. They are generally very treatable.
Anxiety Disorders These are impairments in arousal, fear, nervousness, and the like. These are among the most common disorders, and are very treatable.
Adjustment Disorders These are impairments in daily life that result from major changes in a person�s life. One may have a tougher time than is normal after losing a job, getting a divorce, having an accident, or even after a move to a new locale. If there are notable symptoms of psychosocial impairment, and no other apparent cause (such as a more severe physical or mental disorder), one may have an adjustment disorder.
Psychotic Disorders These are generally rather severe problems, because they involve impairments in perception, thought, belief, behavior, movement, and/or speech, and, inevitably, impaired relationships. The cardinal issue in a psychotic disorder is a break from normal perception of reality.
Organic Disorders These are disorders in which there is some known cause, usually a brain injury or metabolic disease, that is responsible for the impairment.
Dissociative Disorders These are disorders characterized by psychologically defensive dissociations -- amnesia and the like, that generally have their roots in some psychological trauma. Though they are fascinating, they are not terribly common.
Substance Abuse Disorders If a drug can be used, it can be abused, and for most, a dependency disorder is also possible. The number of different conditions here is at least as large as the variety of types of drugs people use.
Sexual Disorders Though most common, most of these go untreated, as people learn to live with all but the most disturbing difficulties and deviations. Lack of sexual interest can rise to the level of a diagnosable condition, and is the most common in this area.

We will not be studying all of these, but several categories are particularly notable or interesting.