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Taking a Look at the Most Common Mental Health Disorders in America

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According to the CDC, mental health disorders affect about 20% of Americans in any given year, and throughout a lifetime, about half of all Americans will be diagnosed with a disorder. Despite how common they are, mental health disorders and their effects are still widely misunderstood.

Harbor Community Health Centers is a leading mental health treatment provider for patients in San Pedro, California, offering custom, compassionate behavioral health treatment to help patients manage their symptoms and lead happier, more fulfilling lives. In this post, our team briefly overviews some of the more common mental health disorders.

Anxiety disorders

About a third of Americans suffer from one or more anxiety disorders, the most common type of emotional disorder in the United States. There are many types of anxiety disorders. Each involves significant or excessive feelings of worry, impending doom, or fear that occur without any real threat or out of proportion to a perceived threat. 

Some examples of anxiety disorders include phobias, social anxiety, panic disorder, separation anxiety, and generalized anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders can occur independently, but they often occur side-by-side with the next disorder on this list — depression.


We all feel down occasionally, but people with clinical depression (or major depressive disorder) struggle with persistent or continual feelings of sadness and hopelessness that can take a huge toll on their emotional and physical health. 

Depression often causes a loss of interest in day-to-day activities, persistent fatigue, emotional outbursts, sleeping problems, and changes in appetite. Not surprisingly, depression can significantly affect a person's ability to maintain relationships at work, at home, and in other social settings.

Bipolar disorder

Once called manic-depression, bipolar disorder usually involves extreme mood swings ranging from extreme "highs" (manic episodes) to extreme lows (depressive episodes). For some people, these extremes are less obvious but disruptive to their lives (and their loved ones). About 3% of Americans struggle with bipolar disorder in any given year.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Once considered an anxiety disorder, today, PTSD is recognized as a disorder. PTSD develops after a person experiences a trauma either directly or indirectly, developing symptoms like nightmares, flashbacks, and extreme fear reactions. Contrary to what many people think, PTSD doesn't just affect members of the military and veterans — it can affect anyone at any stage of life.


Schizophrenia affects about 1.5 million Americans, causing symptoms like delusions, hallucinations, paranoid thinking, "flat" emotions, and problems with thought processes and perceptions. Typically, schizophrenia's first symptoms appear in teens or early adulthood. Regular medication and psychotherapy are essential in managing symptoms and helping people lead happy lives.

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

As the name implies, OCD involves persistent and intrusive thoughts, often accompanied by repetitive behaviors, like touching an object or repeating other "rituals" a specific number of times. Without treatment, these obsessions and compulsions can affect every aspect of your life and worsen over the years.

Eating disorders

Eating disorders affect about 30 million Americans, including disorders like anorexia, bulimia, and binge eating. These disorders cause compulsive eating behaviors that can lead to severe health problems and take a toll on a person's social life and other aspects of their daily living. 

Get help, feel better

There are more than 200 types of mental health disorders, each of which can occur independently or in combination with one or more additional disorders. Like physical health, mental health can change over time, which means people can develop a mental health issue at any point during their lives.

The good news: mental health disorders can be successfully managed, and the sooner you seek treatment, the sooner you can feel better. To learn more about the mental health treatments we offer at our three offices in San Pedro, call 310-547-0202 to schedule an appointment with the Harbor Community Health Centers team today.

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