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Common Psychiatric Conditions

Below are brief descriptions of some common psychiatric conditions. These descriptions are based on current psychiatric thought and are used by many mental health professionals as a framework to apply the explosion of new knowledge concerning brain function and mental illness.

These descriptions are provided as a starting point for the layperson to better understand the meaning of these terms from a psychiatric viewpoint. By no means are these descriptions comprehensive, intended as medical advice, or to be used as a substitute to speaking with a mental health professional. Consulting with a mental health professional is the only valid means by which to explore treatment options - of which there are many successful approaches for each of the conditions listed - so such options are not presented in this format. N.E.L.

Psychiatric Descriptions


Anxiety disorders

  • generalized anxiety disorder
  • panic disorder
  • posttraumatic stress disorder
  • social phobia
  • specific phobia

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder

Bipolar disorder


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • vascular dementia

Eating disorders

  • anorexia nervosa
  • bulimia nervosa

Major depressive disorder

Obsessive-compulsive disorder


Sex and Sexual disorders

Sleep and Sleep disorders