16 Types of Mental Illness & Disorders Explained in Creative and Realistic Way

Mental Illness or Mental Disorder is something that often gets ignored but it should be taken seriously. Mental illness is an intangible thing that can be all but impenetrable to those who don’t experience it.

Mental Illness & Mental Disorder

That is why a UK based illustrator and artist Toby Allen, who is also suffering from Anxiety, decided to display these intangible mental illness and disorder as they appear, Monsters, as a way to help himself and many others who are struggling and suffering from different types of mental illnesses and disorders.

“The project originated from imagining my own anxieties as monsters and finding it to be a cathartic and healing process to draw them. It made them feel weaker and I was able to look at my own anxiety in a comical way. I wanted to expand upon this idea and draw other representations of mental illnesses that could help people in the same way it helped me.”

Toby Allen, by his drawings and artworks, was trying to embody these intangible mental illnesses and make them appear more manageable as physical entities, with message that they’re much easier to fight and win than they seem from outside.

There are different types of mental health programs and treatments available these days to help people. Treatments for depression are a lot more accessible now than it was ever before. But the only thing lack is awareness to early stage detection and depression help.

“I hoped to draw attention to mental illnesses that often get ignored or aren’t taken seriously,” he said. “i want to make people aware of how damaging these illnesses are and how much of a burden they can be to those who suffer from them. The project also highlights conditions that some people may have never even heard of, so the work aims to raise awareness for these. I hope that people can relate to the work and that it helps them to see their illness in a different light, make it appear more manageable.”

Following images & artwork from Allen’s “Real Monsters” series is a collection of illustrations that anthropomorphize mental illnesses like Depression, Anxiety and Disorders.

Types of Mental Illness & Disorders

1. Anxiety – A feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.

Anxiety is a mental disorder characterized by a state of excessive uneasiness and apprehension, typically with compulsive behavior or panic attacks. It’s a mental state of apprehension and fear resulting from the anticipation of a threatening event or situation.

Anxiety - Types of Mental Illness & Disorders

2. Depression – A feelings of severe despondency and dejection.

Depression is a mental condition characterized by feelings of severe despondency and dejection, typically also with feelings of inadequacy and guilt, often accompanied by lack of energy and disturbance of appetite and sleep.

Depression - Types of Mental Illness & Disorders

3. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) – Excessive thoughts (obsessions) that lead to repetitive behaviors (compulsions).

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is characterized by unreasonable thoughts and fears (obsessions) that lead to compulsive behaviors. OCD often centers on themes such as a fear of germs or the need to arrange objects in a specific manner. Symptoms usually begin gradually and vary throughout life.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) - Types of Mental Illness & Disorders

4. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – A mental health condition triggered by experiencing or seeing a terrifying event.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is a condition of persistent mental and emotional stress occurring as a result of injury or severe psychological shock, typically involving disturbance of sleep and constant vivid recall of the experience, with dulled responses to others and to the outside world.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) - Types of Mental Illness & Disorders

5. Social Anxiety (Social Phobia) – The fear of being judged and evaluated negatively by other people.

Social anxiety disorder, also called social phobia, is an anxiety disorder in which a person has an excessive and unreasonable fear of social situations. Anxiety (intense nervousness) and self-consciousness arise from a fear of being closely watched, judged, and criticized by others.

Social Anxiety (Social Phobia) - Types of Mental Illness & Disorders

6. Paranoia – A psychotic disorder is marked by suspicion and mistrust of people or their actions without evidence or justification.

Paranoia is a mental condition characterized by delusions of persecution, unwarranted jealousy, or exaggerated self-importance, typically elaborated into an organized system. It may be an aspect of chronic personality disorder, of drug abuse, or of a serious condition such as schizophrenia in which the person loses touch with reality.

Paranoia - Types of Mental Illness & Disorders

7. Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) – A mental disorder characterized by unstable moods, behavior, and relationships.

Borderline personality is a mental health disorder with symptoms that include emotional instability, feelings of worthlessness, insecurity, impulsivity, and impaired social relationships.

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) - Types of Mental Illness & Disorders

8. Bipolar Disorder (Manic Depression) – A disorder associated with episodes of mood swings ranging from depressive lows to manic highs.

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. When experiencing a manic episode, a patient often has high energy levels with reduced need for sleep. Less often, people may experience psychosis. Depression symptoms include feeling sad, low energy, low motivation, or loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities.

Bipolar Disorder (Manic Depression) - Types of Mental Illness & Disorders

9. Anorexia (Anorexia Nervosa) – An eating disorder causing people to obsess about weight and what they eat.

Anorexia, also known as Anorexia Nervosa, is an emotional disorder characterized by an obsessive desire to lose weight by refusing to eat. The individual is obsessed with becoming increasingly thinner and limits food intake to the point where health is compromised. The disorder may be fatal. The name comes from two Latin words that mean nervous inability to eat.

Anorexia (Anorexia Nervosa) - Types of Mental Illness & Disorders

10. Schizophrenia – A brain disorder in which people interpret reality abnormally.

Schizophrenia is a long-term mental disorder of a type involving a breakdown in the relation between thought, emotion, and behavior, leading to faulty perception, inappropriate actions and feelings, withdrawal from reality and personal relationships into fantasy and delusion, and a sense of mental fragmentation.

Schizophrenia - Types of Mental Illness & Disorders

11. Dissociative Identity Disorder (Multiple Personality Disorder or DID) – A disorder characterized by the presence of two or more distinct personality states.

Dissociative identity disorder, previously called multiple personality disorder, is a rare dissociative disorder in which two or more personalities with distinct memories and behavior patterns apparently exist in one individual. DID usually a reaction to trauma as a way to help a person avoid bad memories. The condition is characterized by the presence of two or more distinct personality identities. Each may have a unique name, personal history, and characteristics.

Dissociative Identity Disorder (Multiple Personality Disorder or DID) - Types of Mental Illness & Disorders

12. Selective Mutism (SM) – An anxiety disorder that prevents children speaking in certain social situations, such as school lessons or in public.

Selective mutism (SM), formerly known as Elective Mutism, is a complex childhood anxiety disorder in which a person who is normally capable of speech does not speak and communicate effectively in specific situations or to specific people, such as school. These person are able to speak and communicate in settings where they are comfortable, secure, and relaxed. Selective mutism usually co-exists with shyness or social anxiety.

Selective Mutism (SM) - Types of Mental Illness & Disorders

13. Misophonia – A strong dislike or hatred of certain sounds.

Misophonia, literally “hatred of sound”, is a rarely diagnosed disorder, commonly thought to be of neurological origin, in which negative emotions (anger, flight, hatred, disgust) are triggered by specific sounds. The sounds can be loud or soft.

Misophonia - Types of Mental Illness & Disorders

14. Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) – A psychological disorder in which a person becomes obsessed with imaginary defects in their appearance.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder is a type of chronic mental illness in which you can’t stop thinking about a flaw in your appearance — a flaw that is either minor or imagined. But to you, your appearance seems so shameful that you don’t want to be seen by anyone.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) - Types of Mental Illness & Disorders

15. Sleep Disorder (Insomnia) – Changes in sleeping patterns or habits that can negatively affect health.

Sleep Disorders are problems with sleeping. These include: Trouble falling or staying asleep, falling asleep at the wrong times or too much sleep. Sleepwalking is also a type of sleep disorder. It’s an act of getting up and walking around while asleep.

Sleep Disorder (Insomnia) - Types of Mental Illness & Disorders

16. Avoidant Personality Disorder (AvPD) – A long-standing feelings of extreme social inhibition, inadequacy and sensitivity to negative criticism and rejection.

Avoidant personality disorder (AvPD), also known as anxious personality disorder, is a personality disorder recognized as afflicting persons when they display a pervasive pattern of social inhibition, feelings of inadequacy, extreme sensitivity to negative evaluation, and avoidance of social interaction.

Avoidant Personality Disorder (AvPD) - Types of Mental Illness & Disorders

Credits: Toby Allen

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