Mental illness is an umbrella term for many different emotionally distressing symptoms. Often, they are the leading cause of addiction. In many cases, people don’t realize their mental health is suffering. However, once you address your symptoms, you’ll start to understand why you began abusing illicit substances in the first place. By familiarizing yourself with the most common types of mental illness, you’ll begin understanding addiction as a disease as well.

A man struggles with different types of mental illnessTypes of Mental Illness

The most common mental illnesses include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • PTSD
  • Anxiety

Anxiety is the natural human response to fear. However, an anxiety disorder develops when you can’t regulate your fear response in a healthy way. The brain’s amygdala is responsible for our fight or flight response. Overall, those who struggle with different forms of anxiety have an amygdala that doesn’t function normally.

Many people struggle with a Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), which is much different than other disorders. Overall, there are no triggers for GAD. Anxious thoughts and feelings can occur at any time for any reason. Additionally, social anxiety occurs if you have high amounts of stress and fear in social situations. Overall, many people with anxiety turn to alcohol or drugs as a way to calm their minds.


There’s a significant difference between sadness and depression and it’s important to be aware of this. Everyone experiences sadness, but depression is a mental illness that causes life complications. Often, those who struggle with depression have a lack of motivation and a great deal of trouble experiencing feelings of pleasure. Therefore, those with depression may turn to drugs or alcohol as a problematic way of getting relief.


Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) falls into the anxiety category, but it varies depending on the individual. When people think of PTSD, they often imagine soldiers returning from war. Veterans with PTSD are extremely common. Being in a war zone and seeing people constantly die all around you is enough to change anyone’s psyche. It’s also important to realize that there are people who struggle with PTSD after any traumatic event such as child abuse, sexual assault, and near-death experiences.

Triggers for PTSD involve memories of a traumatic experience which cause flashbacks. Overall, the brain is trying to protect us from danger, so it makes sense that it brings up bad memories when triggered by something that’s not necessarily threatening. For example, someone returning from war may experience high amounts of anxiety when they hear a loud noise. Fortunately, PTSD is absolutely treatable.

Mental Illness Treatment with Steps to Recovery

Steps to Recovery is a Pennsylvania rehab center that’s here to help you overcome the types of mental illness that predispose you to addiction. Our diverse programs include:

It’s never too late to get help. If you’re suffering from the symptoms of anxiety, depression, or PTSD, co-occurring disorder treatment is always available. Call Steps to Recovery today at 267.719.8528.