In the United States, mental health disorders are exceptionally common. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than one in five Americans are experiencing a mental health disorder at any given time.

Learning about some of the more common mental health diagnoses can help you to identify when to seek treatment for yourself or your loved one, as well as guide you toward the best treatment options for specific diagnoses.

Common Mental Health Diagnoses and Symptoms

Some of the most common mental health conditions include anxiety, depression, trauma, and ADHD. Thankfully, each one of these disorders has effective treatment methods that can help people recover. To seek the most effective treatment, it’s important to recognize the different symptoms and causes of mental health conditions.

Depressive Disorders

Depression is one of the most common mental health concerns. While many people think of depression as a singular diagnosis, there are several different types of diagnoses for depression, including:

  • Persistent depressive disorder
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Premenstrual dysphoric disorder
  • Substance-induced depression
  • Seasonal affective disorder

While each of these depressive disorders has a unique set of causes and symptoms, there is a common experience that makes them all fall into a common category.

Symptoms of Depression

The common symptoms of depression include experiences such as:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Perpetual feelings of sadness or hopelessness
  • Unexpected weight changes
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Having difficulty enjoying hobbies or activities
  • Physical complications, such as headaches or stomach aches

Different types of depression have different lengths of symptoms. For example, a diagnosis of major depressive disorder requires experiencing these symptoms almost every day for at least two weeks. In contrast, persistent depressive disorder is typically only diagnosed after experiencing symptoms for years.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder has much in common with depression, though it has the distinguishing feature of manic or hypomanic episodes. People living with bipolar disorder can oscillate between depressive episodes and manic episodes over the course of a year, both of which can lead to severe disruption in everyday life.

These two “poles” of mental health experience are what make bipolar disorder distinct.

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

The first set of bipolar disorder symptoms directly parallels the symptoms of depression listed above. Most people seek out treatment during depressive episodes. For this reason, many people with bipolar disorder mistakenly believe that they have a depressive disorder.

But manic or hypomanic episodes are what differentiates bipolar disorder from depression. A manic episode is a comparatively brief experience of elevated mood and increased energy, which has symptoms including:

  • Being unusually talkative
  • Having a reduced need for sleep
  • Having racing thoughts
  • A feeling of euphoria
  • Experiencing an exaggerated sense of confidence
  • Making bold or brash decisions

Manic episodes can often feel highly enjoyable but can lead to serious consequences if left unaddressed. In severe cases, they can even lead to intense psychosis and hospitalization.

It’s important to recognize as well that there are two main types of bipolar disorder: bipolar I and bipolar II. People with bipolar I typically experience more intense manic episodes. In bipolar II, people experience hypomania, which has the same set of symptoms to a lesser degree, but they often experience worse depressive episodes.

Anxiety Disorders

Similar to depression, there are a number of different types of anxiety disorders tied together through a common set of symptoms. Some of the more common anxiety diagnoses include:

  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Specific phobias

People with generalized anxiety typically experience symptoms without a specific cause. Panic disorder refers to when people experience debilitating panic attacks. Social anxiety is caused by fear or apprehension about social situations, and specific phobias relate to having an exaggerated fear of specific objects, animals, or situations.

Symptoms of Anxiety

Whatever your specific anxiety diagnosis may be, the experience of anxiety is common throughout. Anxiety symptoms include:

  • Feeling like your heart is beating out of your chest
  • Hyperventilating
  • Having sleep difficulties
  • Experiencing muscle tension
  • Feeling like your thoughts are racing out of control
  • Being unable to calm down
  • Feeling like you need to escape the anxiety-provoking situation

There are a variety of reasons why a person may develop anxiety. Anxiety disorders are partly genetic and partly caused by the environment you grow up in and the experiences you have. But no matter what led to the development of an anxiety disorder, there are several effective treatment options to help you break free from your symptoms.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a set of symptoms that can happen after people have experienced highly distressing or disturbing events. Common causes of PTSD include:

  • Military combat
  • Unexpected death of a loved one
  • Sexual assault or rape
  • Abuse
  • Violent crime
  • Natural disasters

While not everybody who experiences one of these events will develop PTSD, those who do can experience a number of debilitating symptoms that interfere with their everyday lives.

Symptoms of PTSD

PTSD has a unique set of symptoms that falls into four categories:

  • Intrusive Memories
  • Intrusive symptoms of PTSD may include experiencing:
  • Invasive and frequent memories of the traumatic event
  • Distressing nightmares
  • Flashbacks
  • Intense emotional reactions to things that remind you of the traumatic event

These symptoms can happen randomly, and they can lead to interference with work or social situations.

Avoidant Symptoms

Avoidant symptoms typically include avoiding talking about the traumatic event, avoiding situations that remind you of the traumatic event, or avoiding people who are connected to the traumatic event.

Cognitive and Mood Changes

PTSD can alter the way you think and feel. Common experiences include:

  • Having difficulty experiencing positive emotions
  • Memory problems, specifically about the traumatic event
  • A sense of emotional numbness
  • Trouble maintaining social relationships

These changes are a significant departure from how a person’s mood was before they developed PTSD.

Reactivity Symptoms

The final category is reactivity symptoms, which include:

  • Feeling like you are constantly on guard, also known as hypervigilance
  • Having an exaggerated startle response
  • Having trouble sleeping
  • Experiencing irritability or angry outbursts

Essentially, people living with PTSD can feel as though they are always on edge.

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder

Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a disorder that typically begins in childhood. But if it isn’t identified early, it can continue to cause difficulty in your adult years.

ADHD is primarily associated with productivity and focus issues, but it can lead to interpersonal problems as well. Thankfully, ADHD is highly treatable with traditional and novel treatment methods.

Symptoms of ADHD

The symptoms of ADHD in adults typically include:

  • Impulsive actions
  • Trouble staying organized
  • Difficulty multitasking
  • Problems focusing on certain tasks
  • Mood swings
  • Talking over others

Trouble focusing or poor organization can happen to anyone from time to time. However, for people with ADHD, these problems are persistent and severe enough to cause substantial disruption in their everyday lives.

How to Know if You Have a Mental Health Diagnosis

Reading up on the symptoms of common mental health concerns and mental health symptoms isn’t enough to get a diagnosis. Many of the most common mental disorders have an overlapping set of symptoms, and self-diagnosing can often lead to seeking out the wrong type of treatment for your needs.

The best way to get an appropriate mental health diagnosis is by seeking out a mental health professional to get an assessment. You can start by reaching out to your primary health physician for a referral, or you can start by reaching out to a mental health treatment center like Plus by APN directly.

The team at Plus by APN has specialized training in diagnosing mental health conditions and can guide you toward the best treatment options for your needs, including explaining your options with insurance and building a personalized treatment plan.

Traditional Mental Health Treatment Options

Traditional mental health treatment typically falls along two lines: talk therapy and medication. Each of the mental health problems listed above has an evidence-based therapy or medication option and can help many people achieve total remission.

Talk Therapy

A number of different styles of talk therapy have been developed and tested, including:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Dialectical behavior therapy
  • Interpersonal therapy
  • Couples counseling
  • Eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing

While each style of therapy takes a unique approach, in general, they help people to cope with the symptoms, make lifestyle changes that can sustain their recovery, and confront and integrate their past experiences into their new goals for life in recovery.


A number of different psychiatric medications are effective at helping people overcome mental health issues. This is typically done through medication management, which means meeting with a psychiatrist regularly to try new medications and adjust the timing and dosage as needed.

Medication management is often combined with talk therapy to further enhance the efficacy of treatment. Studies have shown that combining these two treatment options amplifies your chances of achieving treatment success and improving your quality of life in the process.

Novel and Innovative Options at Plus by APN

While traditional treatment methods have been used for decades with great success, the fact remains that these treatments don’t always work for everyone.

Thankfully, Plus by APN offers a number of novel and innovative treatment options that can provide renewed hope, even for individuals who have tried multiple rounds of therapy or medication without success.

Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation

Deep transcranial magnetic stimulation (dTMS) is an exciting technology that puts the findings of neuroscience into practical application. Using a specialized cap and a detailed brain scan, dTMS provides direct electrical stimulation to brain regions that are often underactive in certain mental health conditions.

dTMS is highly effective at treating a number of different mental health disorders and can be used in tandem with several other treatment options.

Stellate Ganglion Blocks

The stellate ganglion is a bundle of nerves located in the lower neck. It serves as a neuronal highway for the sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the fight-or-flight response.

A stellate ganglion block is a brief procedure that delivers a local anesthetic to this bundle of nerves. This slows the fight or flight response, which can create dramatic reductions in the symptoms of anxiety or PTSD.

Ketamine-Assisted Treatment

Ketamine-assisted treatment (KAT) uses the dissociative psychedelic ketamine to incubate the talk therapy process. KAT can help people make breakthroughs that could take months or years in conventional therapy and can provide rapid reductions in symptoms for a number of different mental health conditions.

Start Treatment at Plus by APN

At Plus by APN, our team integrates the very best in traditional and innovative treatment approaches to helping people overcome mental health disorders.

To get started with treatment, reach out to our team by calling 424.644.6486 or filling out our confidential online contact form for more information. Our team can help you find the best treatment for your needs and will be there to help you every step of the way.


  • “Mental Illness.” National Institute of Mental Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Accessed 25 Feb. 2024.
  • Yavi, M., Lee, H., Henter, I.D. et al. Ketamine treatment for depression: a review. Discov Ment Health 2, 9 (2022).