Common mental illnesses

The most common mental illnesses in India
Common mental illnesses

These are mental illnesses whose prevalence is higher as compared to other illnesses:

Depression related disorders

In India, one in ten people live with depression, according to the National Mental Health Survey, 2016. It’s a common mental illness with symptoms that affect a person’s thoughts, behavior, and emotions. It can affect a person at any point, regardless of their gender, sexuality, social and economic location. Some common types of depression include—

  • Clinical depression

  • Postpartum (or postnatal) depression (PPD)

  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)

  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

Depression can occur in any stage of life: childhood, adolescence, adulthood and old age.

Anxiety related disorders

Anxiety disorders affect 3.6 % of the population in the country, according to the National Mental Health Survey, 2016. Anxiety disorders usually exist on a spectrum, and are caused by numerous factors like family history, stressful events, health issues, substance abuse and personality factors. The most common forms of it include—    

Bipolar disorder

Also known as manic depression, it is a serious mental illness that causes unusual and severe mood changes. The person experiences extreme mood highs or lows that persist for a few weeks.

Eating disorders

Eating disorders are conditions where the person is obsessed with food, weight and body image issues. They go through drastic changes in eating habits where they either eat extremely small or extremely large portions of food on a regular basis. This can cause significant damage to their health. The different types include— 

Borderline personality disorder

Borderline personality disorder is a mental illness that affects the way a person manages their emotions, self-image, and behavior, which can impact their daily functioning. It is a pervasive condition that comes about as a person’s personality develops and continues into their adulthood. Some of the presenting symptoms that characterize BPD are instability – in relationships (how they interact with others); in identity and self-image (how the person sees themselves or others); and mood (which tends to fluctuate often).


Schizophrenia is a severe mental disorder characterized by a wide range of unusual behaviors—like hearing voices (hallucinations), having false perceptions of reality, and often bizarre beliefs. A person with schizophrenia is likely to interpret reality in a way that seems abnormal to others.

Substance abuse (addiction)

Substance abuse or addiction refers to an excessive and harmful use of a substance despite it having a hazardous effect on the person. People are likely to develop it with substances like alcohol, prescription and recreational drugs.

Click here to read about the different types of mental illnesses

Click here to read about the different types of treatment

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