A List of Psychological Disorders

A List of Psychological Disorders

List of mental disorders
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The term psychological disorder is sometimes used to refer to what are more frequently known as mental disorders or psychiatric disorders. Mental disorders are patterns of behavioral or psychological symptoms that impact multiple areas of life. These disorders create distress for the person experiencing these symptoms.

While not a comprehensive list of every mental disorder, the following list includes some of the major categories of disorders described in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). The DSM is one of the most widely used systems for classifying mental disorders and provides standardized diagnostic criteria.

The latest edition of the diagnostic manual is the DSM-5 and was released in May of 2013. This list of psychological disorders reflects many of the changes made between the earlier edition of the manual and the most recent version.

Some of the major categories of disorder include the following:

  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Bipolar and Related Disorder
  • Disruptive, Impulse-Control, and Conduct Disorders
  • Dissociative Disorders
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders
  • Neurocognitive Disorders
  • Neurodevelopmental Disorders
  • Personality Disorders
  • Sleep-Wake Disorders
  • Somatic Symptoms and Related Disorders
  • Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders
  • Trauma and Stressor-Related Disorders

Neurodevelopmental Disorders

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Neurodevelopmental disorders are those that are typically diagnosed during infancy, childhood, or adolescence. These psychological disorders include:

  • Intellectual disability (or Intellectual Developmental Disorder), formerly referred to as mental retardation
  • Developmental delay
  • Communication disorders
  • Language disorder
  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder

Bipolar and Related Disorders

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Bipolar disorder is characterized by shifts in mood as well as changes in activity and energy levels. The disorder involves experiencing shifts between elevated moods and periods of depression. Such elevated moods can be pronounced and are referred to either as mania or hypomania.

Compared to the previous edition of the DSM, in the DSM-5 the criteria for manic and hypomanic episodes include an increased focus on changes in energy levels and activity as well as changes in mood.

Anxiety Disorders

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Anxiety disorders are those that are characterized by excessive and abnormal fear, worry, anxiety and related behavioral disturbances. Fear involves an emotional response to a threat, whether that threat is real or perceived. Anxiety involves the anticipation that a future threat may arise.

In one survey published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, it was estimated that as many as 18% of American adults suffer from at least one anxiety disorder.

Types of anxiety disorders include:

Trauma and Stressor-Related Disorders

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Trauma- and stressor-related disorders involve the exposure to a stressful or traumatic event. These were previously considered anxiety disorders but are now considered a distinct category of disorders.

Disorders included in this category include:

Dissociative Disorders

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Dissociative disorders are psychological disorders that involve a dissociation or interruption in aspects of consciousness, including identity and memory. Dissociative disorders include:

  • Dissociative amnesia
  • Dissociative identity disorder
  • Depersonalization/derealization disorder 

Somatic Symptom and Related Disorders

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Formerly referred to under the heading of somatoform disorders, this category is now known as somatic symptom and related disorders. Somatic symptom disorders are a class of psychological disorders that involve prominent physical symptoms that may not have a diagnosable physical cause. These symptoms usually mimic medical diseases or injuries and cause significant impairment and distress.

Disorders included in this category include:

  • Somatic symptom disorder
  • Illness anxiety disorder
  • Conversion disorder
  • Factitious Disorder

The DSM-5 also includes factitious disorders, which used to have its own category, under the somatic symptom and related disorders category.

Feeding and Eating Disorders

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Eating disorders are characterized by obsessive concerns with weight and disruptive eating patterns that negatively impact physical and mental health. Types of eating disorders include:

Feeding and eating disorders that used to be diagnosed during infancy and childhood have been moved to this category in the DSM-5.

Sleep - Wake Disorders

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Sleep disorders involve an interruption in sleep patterns that lead to distress and affect daytime functioning. Examples of sleep disorders include:

  • Narcolepsy
  • Insomnia disorder
  • Hypersomnolence disorder
  • Breathing-related sleep disorders
  • Parasomnias
  • Nightmare disorder
  • Restless legs syndrome

Sleep disorders related to other mental disorders as well as sleep disorders related to general medical conditions have been removed from the DSM-5. The latest edition of the DSM also provides more emphasis on coexisting conditions for each of the sleep-wake disorders. This change, the APA explains, "underscores that the individual has a sleep disorder warranting independent clinical attention, in addition to any medical and mental disorders that are also present, and acknowledges the bidirectional and interactive effects between sleep disorders and coexisting medical and mental disorders."

Disruptive, Impulse-Control, and Conduct Disorders

Impulse control disorders
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Impulse-control disorders are those that involve an inability to control emotions and behaviors, resulting in harm to oneself or others. These problems with emotional and behavioral regulation are characterized by actions that violate the rights of others such as destroying property or physical aggression and/or those that conflict with societal norms, authority figures, and laws.

Types of impulse-control disorders include:

  • Kleptomania (stealing)
  • Pyromania (fire-starting)
  • Intermittent explosive disorder
  • Conduct disorder
  • Oppositional defiant disorder

Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders

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Substance-related disorders are those that involve the use and abuse of different substances such as cocaine, methamphetamine, opiates and alcohol. These disorders may include substance-induced conditions that can result in many associated diagnoses including intoxication, withdrawal, the emergence of psychosis, anxiety and delirium.

Examples of substance-related disorders include:

  • Alcohol-related disorders
  • Caffeine-related disorders
  • Cannabis-related disorders
  • Inhalant-related disorders
  • Stimulant use disorder
  • Tobacco use disorder

The DSM-5 also includes gambling disorder under this classification.  The American Psychiatric Association explains that this change "reflects the increasing and consistent evidence that some behaviors, such as gambling, activate the brain reward system with effects similar to those of drugs of abuse and that gambling disorder symptoms resemble substance use disorders to a certain extent."

Neurocognitive Disorders

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Neurocognitive disorders are characterized by acquired deficits in cognitive function. These disorders do not include those in which impaired cognition was present at birth or early in life. Types of cognitive disorders include:

  • Delirium
  • Major and mild neurocognitive disorders
  • Major or mild neurocognitive disorder due to Alzheimer’s disease
  • Major or mild neurocognitive disorder due to Parkinson’s disease

Personality Disorders

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Personality disorders are characterized by maladaptive thought patterns, feelings, and behaviors that can cause serious detriments to relationships and other life areas. Types of personality disorders include:

Further Information and Resources

Want to learn more? Here are some articles that might help:


American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Highlights of changes from DSM-IV-TR to DSM-5. Retrieved from http://www.dsm5.org/documents/changes%20from%20dsm-iv-tr%20to%20dsm-5.pdf.

American Psychiatry Association (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.). Arlington: American Psychiatric Publishing.

National Institute of Mental Health. (). Bipolar disorder. Retrieved from https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/bipolar-disorder/index.shtml.

American Psychiatry Association (2013). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th ed.). Arlington: American Psychiatric Publishing.

Kessler, R.C., Chiu, W.T., Demler, O., & Walters, E.E. (2005) Prevalence, severity, and comorbidity of twelve-month DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R). Archives of General Psychiatry, 62(6), 617-27.

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Feeding and eating disorders. American Psychiatric Publishing. Retrieved from http://www.dsm5.org/documents/eating%20disorders%20fact%20sheet.pdf.

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