Mental Health Disorders We Don’t Talk About Enough

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Mental illnesses are not uncommon in the United States. It’s estimated that one in five adults lives with a mental illness. These illnesses include many different conditions that vary in severity, ranging from mild to severe. Common mental health conditions include depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). However, there are other conditions that are relatively common but don’t get nearly as much attention.

In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, Pura Vida Recovery is committed to educating people on mental illness and the importance of dual diagnosis treatment. Mental illness responds well to therapy and medication, but without effective treatment, it can progress into more severe problems, including self-harming behaviors and substance use.

Let’s explore some of the mental health disorders that deserve more attention.

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)

Borderline personality disorder is a lesser known mental health problem, despite it affecting around 5 million Americans. With BPD, the person has an intense fear of abandonment or instability. Even though people with BPD don’t like to be alone, they have frequent mood swings and impulsiveness that may push others away.

It’s believed that BPD is caused by a combination of genetics and brain abnormalities. It usually starts by early adulthood and can get better with age. The best ways to treat BPD are with psychotherapy and medication. Without treatment, this condition can interfere with work, school and relationships.

Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD)

Histrionic personality disorder is a mental health condition that causes unstable emotions, a distorted self-image and an overwhelming desire to be noticed. “Histrionic” means dramatic or theatrical. People with this disorder have low self-esteem and a lack of self-worth. They depend on others to feel good about themselves.

People with HPD often don’t realize their behavior is problematic. Therefore, they constantly draw attention to themselves but don’t understand why others don’t want to be around them. The best ways to treat HPD are with psychotherapy, group therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). It’s also common for people with HPD to have depression or anxiety.

Dissociative Disorders

Dissociative disorders are mental disorders that involve experiencing a disconnection between thoughts, memories, actions, identity and surroundings. Often, people struggle with memory loss, a sense of being detached, a blurred sense of reality and an inability to cope with stress.

Dissociative identity disorder, formerly known as multiple personality disorder, is characterized by ‘switching’ to alternate identities. People often feel like they have two or more people living inside their head. Other dissociative disorders are dissociative amnesia and depersonalization-derealization disorder.

Typically, dissociative disorders develop as a reaction to trauma. Therefore, treatment involves processing past trauma through psychotherapy. Doctors may also prescribe antidepressants, anti-anxiety or antipsychotic drugs to control mental health symptoms.


Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness in which people interpret reality abnormally. People with this condition may experience hallucinations, delusions and distorted thinking that impairs daily functioning. Due to the seriousness of this condition, people with schizophrenia require lifelong treatment.

Schizophrenia affects 1.1 percent of the U.S. population, or about 2.8 million individuals. Nearly 5 percent of people with this condition die by suicide, a rate that is far greater than the general population. Therefore, it’s critical that they receive treatment, preferably in the early stages before serious complications develop.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive-compulsive disorder features a pattern of unwanted thoughts and fears that cause a person to do repeated behaviors, such as washing hands or following a strict routine. These behaviors interfere with daily activities and cause serious distress. People feel driven to complete these acts to ease their stress.

OCD affects 2.5 million U.S. adults, or 1.2 percent of the population. It typically shows up during the teen or young adult years, and there are different degrees of severity. The best treatments for OCD are psychotherapy and medication. Without treatment, OCD behaviors can make it difficult to have a high quality of life.

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are serious health conditions that affect both mental and physical health. If not treated effectively, eating disorders can become long-term problems and even lead to death. Most eating disorders involve focusing too much on weight, body shape and food. It’s not uncommon for eating disorders to co-occur with other mental health and substance use disorders.

Roughly 30 million Americans struggle with eating disorders. Some of the most common include anorexia, bulimia, binge-eating disorder and avoidant/restrictive food intake disorder. Treatment for eating disorders includes behavioral therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and family-based treatment, and medication.

Mental Illness IS Treatable! Seek Comprehensive Care Today.

Pura Vida Recovery provides outpatient treatment services for those struggling with mental health and substance use disorders. We understand the importance of treating the whole person – mind, body and spirit. With our comprehensive approach to care, our clients are able to achieve long-term sobriety and healing. Contact our admissions department to learn more.