Dr. Eileen Callahan, Ph.D.: What is a Mental Disorder?

Mental Disorder

A mental disorder is defined as an abnormal occurrence in a person’s psychological makeup. The disorder is usually recognized after personal behavior becomes a problem and is effecting the enjoyment of one’s life. Behavior is often deemed ab-normal if it conflicts with society's expectations and views.

The disorder (Bipolar, OCD, etc.) is derived in a variety of ways. Often it is fleeting and situational. Sometimes it is hereditary and on-going, such as depression.

Although society has come a long way in accepting a psychological disorder as being no different than a physical one, such as having high cholesterol, stigma still keeps many from seeking assistance. Seeing a mental health professional is no different than a visit to the dentist.

There are hundreds of disorders listed in The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Some of the most commonly recognized today are highlighted on this site.

This site cannot be used to initiate emergency contact. We cannot respond on-line to crisis situations. If you are in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255 (TALK)

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Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255