Mental Health Theory

Mental Health Problems

People who are facing mental health challenges will identify their challenge in different ways and in their own language. Mental Health Problems is a popular way to describe the challenges they are up against, but at the Mental Health Lab we prefer the term challenge rather than a problem – as a lot of the time with mental health it’s about finding a way to live with your mental health, not to ‘have a problem’.

Mental Health Problems. Illustration of a person surrounded by an outline of a brain.

Below, we have collated a list of mental health problems with a brief description of what each problem means along with further links to more detailed information.

Mental Health Problems are sometimes known as mental health disorders and are categorised according to the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11), published by the World Health Organisation.

If you are facing a mental health problem, you can find support from mental health organisations and mental health helplines.

Mental Health Problems A-Z


Anger is an emotional state which is a normal healthy emotion that can help protect us by preparing our bodies fo a challenge that we might be facing. Anger is a problem if it cannot be controlled and if it causes harm to other people.

Anxiety and panic attacks
Anxiety is a normal human response to feeling scared or worried about something that might happen. Anxiety becomes a mental health problem if it affects your daily life and routine.


Bipolar disorder
Bipolar is a mental health problem whereby your mood state can swing between feeling manic and depressed. Sometimes it can include psychotic episodes.

Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD)
Body Dysmorphic Disorder is a state of anxiety or obsessive-compulsive behaviour related to body image.

Borderline personality disorder (BPD)
BPD is also known as Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder (EUPD). It is a diagnosis of behaviours that can include fear of abandonment, rapid cycling of emotions, impulsiveness, problems developing and maintaining relationships, and feelings of suicidal ideation, anger, self-harm, and paranoia.



Depression is a feeling of emptiness or a low mood that can last for a long time and that can impact your daily life.

Dissociation and dissociative disorders
Dissociation is a feeling of being disconnected from yourself, the people, and the world around you. It can be a reaction to trauma or stress and can manifest itself as an abstract feeling, looking at yourself from outside your person, or taking on a new personality.


Eating problems
Eating problems are difficulties related to consumption of food and drink and can include feelings of fear, guilt, shame, obsessiveness, and phobia.

Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder (EUPD)
EUPD is also known as Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). It is a diagnosis of behaviours that can include fear of abandonment, rapid cycling of emotions, impulsiveness, problems developing and maintaining relationships, and feelings of suicidal ideation, anger, self-harm, and paranoia.




Hearing voices
Hearing voices can refer to hearing words said to you when no one else is around. These words may be harmless but some people also experience hearing voices that upset them or tell them to do things.

Hoarding is an obsessive compulsion to collect and keep things or a fear of getting rid of things or throwing things away. It becomes a problem when it impacts on your daily life or that of the people around you.

Hypomania is a period of overactive behaviour and energy that can impact on your daily life. Hypomania is a milder version of Mania that may last up to a few days.





Although loneliness isn’t always considered a mental health problem, it can impact our mental health through feelings of isolation and anxiety and can lead to compulsive behaviour or feelings of depression.


Mania is a period of overactive behaviour and energy that can impact on your daily life. Mania can last for long periods of a week or more. Hypomania is a milder version of Mania that may last up to a few days.



Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
Obsessions are strong feelings or urges that appear in your mind and can make you feel uncomfortable or anxious. Compulsions are repetitive behaviours that you undertake to try and reduce the obsessive feelings. These become a problem when they affect your daily life.


Panic attacks
Panic Attacks are an extreme version of a fear response in your body whereby your heart rate might increase rapidly and your blood pressure may be affected leading to feelings of dizziness or temperature changes that can leave you feeling extremely hot or very cold. It can also affect your breathing, leave you feeling nauseous or disconnected from the people and world around you.

Paranoia is a feeling of fear and anxiety about things that are happening or that could happen but not based on evidence, or an extreme exaggeration of the trigger for the feeling. A lot of the time we can only identify paranoia with the support of other people or with the benefit of hindsight after a paranoid episode has taken place.

Perinatal Mental Health Problems
A perinatal mental health problem can take place from the time that you become pregnant up until a year after you have given birth. Perinatal mental health problems can include depression, anxiety, OCD, psychosis, and PTSD.

Personality disorders
Personality disorders are the name given to a collection of mental health problems that we identify from the way that they affect your everyday life. They can be related to stress and anxiety or the way that you interact with other people and can be caused by a variety of triggers; both mental and physical. They may not cause you a problem but through identification, you can find methods of support.

Phobias are an extreme type of anxiety triggered by a specific thing, object, or experience. These can include phobia of heights, going outside, animals or objects. If the fear lasts longer than 6-months and affects your daily life then it is thought of as a mental health problem.

Postnatal depression
Postnatal depression is a type of depression experienced after having a baby and can be experienced by all parents regardless of gender and that start, or last for, more than 2-weeks following the birth. Symptoms can include problems focusing and concentration, feelings of sadness and loss of energy, or can include feelings of wishing to do harm.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
PTSD is a type of anxiety disorder which can be experienced following a traumatic incident or experience. This can include delayed-onset PTSD, complex PTSD, and birth trauma PTSD. Symptoms can include feelings of anxiousness and panic and can affect your daily life through loss of concentration, sleep problems, or changes in your behaviour.

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)
PMDD is an extreme form of Premenstrual Syndrome and can impact on your daily life through extreme changes in energy of mood, feelings of anxiety, or even suicidal ideation.

Psychosis is an experience or episode of time whereby you experience the world around you and reality different to how it is. This can include hallucinations and paranoia that can affect your behaviour and make you do things that you wouldn’t normally do.




Schizoaffective disorder
Schizoaffective disorder includes a period of time whereby psychotic and mood disorders take place within 2-weeks of each other.

Schizophrenia is a long-term condition which is a type of psychosis whereby people can experience hallucinations, delusions, and be disconnected from the world around them. It does not mean to have a split personality.

Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
SAD is a type of depression that is related to a particular time period of the year such as Winter or Autumn when there is less daylight and the weather affects our daily routines or ability to do things that we would normally be doing.

Sel-esteem is how we perceive and value ourselves and a self-esteem problem can affect our beliefs and behaviours related to our self-care and well-being. Self-esteem problems can be triggered through past or current experiences, or our belief system not having enough correct information about ourselves.

Sel-harm is the process of harming yourself as a way of dealing with feelings, emotions, and experiences that are overwhelming.

Sleep problems
Sleep problems including insomnia can be a cause or symptom (or both) of a mental health problem as lack of sleep can affect our energy levels and our ability to think clearly and perceive the world around us. Sleep problems can include problems with falling asleep, problems with staying asleep, problems staying away, problems sleeping too much, or traumatic episodes during sleep.

Stress is an anxious feeling when we are under pressure, or feel like we are under pressure. This can be from an event, experience, expectation, or from other people.

Suicidal feelings and ideation
Suicide is the act of taking your own life, and suicidal feelings or ideation is the thoughts or feelings about suicide – it does not necessarily mean that suicide is possible or even likely., but it can be a terrifying and traumatic experience to have these thoughts about your own life. Acknowledging the feelings are there and then seeking support and talking about those feelings can help.


Tardive dyskinesia
TD is where your body and/or face can make sudden jerky and twisting motions which are out of your control. TD can develop as a side-effect of antipsychotic mediation and you should seek medical advice if you experience TD.

Trauma is the experience of extremely stressful, frightening or terrifying events and experiences which have a long-term effect on our emotions and behaviour.







This article was last updated: 10 November 2020