10 of the Most Common Adult Behavioral Disorders

If you turn on the TV for even a short amount of time, odds are you’ll be bombarded with ads for prescription and over-the-counter medications. It seems there’s a pill for everything these days. And even if you don’t have any known health issues, watching a few of these commercials may convince you otherwise. The fact is, there are many diseases, issues, and behavioral disorders that may be affecting your life.

Here are 10 of the most common adult behavioral disorders, many of which you’ll recognize. Not all are chronic, and not all of them are easily treated. If you feel like you’re struggling with some behavioral ticks that fit a disorder’s particular description, investigating further isn’t a bad idea.

1. Behavioral addiction

Whiskey in a glass

Is there something that you just can’t stop doing? | iStock.com

Addiction is a tricky topic. It’s often classified as a disease, but it can also be a behavioral issue. Specifically, there are behavioral addictions. One study says of these addictions: “Several behaviors, besides psychoactive substance ingestion, produce short-term reward that may engender persistent behavior despite knowledge of adverse consequences.” So yes, you can become addicted to certain behavioral ticks that give you some sort of reward.

2. Schizophrenia

man sitting behind a desktop computer with a paranoid look on his face

Schizophrenia typically affects adults more than children. | iStock.com/swilmor

Schizophrenia is another well-known disorder to most of us. It is a crippling issue that affects those who have it in many different ways. It’s a mental disorder and is chronic in nature. People who are living with schizophrenia often experience hallucinations, delusions, and sometimes problems with their physiology. The symptoms typically surface between the ages of 16 and 30, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

3. Anxiety

An anxiety-riddled young woman

Everyone experiences anxiety, but it becomes a problem when it affects your day-to-day life. | iStock.com/SIphotography

Everyone experiences anxiety at some point. But it’s not until it’s a chronic, lingering issue that it bleeds into becoming a behavioral disorder. Anxiety disorders are closely related to depression issues, and like depression, there are many types. If you’re concerned that you may have one, the basic litmus test, according to NAMI, is this:

“Anxiety disorders involve more than temporary worry or fear. For a person with an anxiety disorder, the anxiety does not go away and can get worse over time. The feelings can interfere with daily activities such as job performance, school work, and relationships.”

4. ADHD/ADD

A man suffering from ADHD takes a breather

If concentration is a huge problem for you, you may have ADHD. | Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images

In recent years, ADD and ADHD have become much more common. They stand for attention deficit disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, respectively, and can affect both children and adults. These disorders basically make it very difficult to sit still and pay attention. You lose focus and can’t concentrate on the task at hand. This can obviously create problems for people at work or at school.

5. Depression

Depressed young man in bed

How many of your friends or co-workers openly say they are depressed? | iStock.com

Depression affects millions upon millions of people — and some don’t even realize they have it. It’s a complex issue, with many possible root causes and no exact behavioral impact. But if we focus on one variety, major depression, many notable behavioral changes can manifest. WebMD says people with this type tend to sleep a lot, change their eating habits, and even lose their ability to work or go to school.

6. OCD

Playing with lego blocks that are in serious need of organization

Wanting everything perfect all of the time is a sign of OCD. | Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Jokes relating to obsessive-compulsive disorder fly rather routinely in most homes and workplaces these days. If someone is incredibly organized, for example, it’s not uncommon to hear someone make a wisecrack about OCD. But for those who deal with it, OCD can be debilitating. Depending on the severity of the case, a person may not even be able to work or keep personal relationships together.

7. Eating disorders

A man eats fried food

Food disorders are not just stereotypical teenage girl problems. | iStock.com

Eating disorders are yet another realm of disorders that are often joked about, but they are very serious issues. These, too, take many different forms. Some people eat compulsively — while some people can hardly eat at all. You know some of these by name: anorexia, bulimia, etc. If unchecked, these disorders can and will lead to serious health issues. They can even kill.

8. Panic

young boy sitting and hiding his face

Panic attacks are also an issue adults face. | iStock.com

Panic disorder is yet another broad basket of behavioral issues. It includes those who experience panic attacks (closely tied to anxiety) and people who deal with agoraphobia. The calling card of panic disorder, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America says, is the seemingly unprompted waves of panic that strike without warning. Then, the fear of those panic attacks can cause other panic attacks — it’s a vicious circle.

9. PTSD

A veteran looks over his drugs to help with PTSD

PTSD affects more than just veterans — an abusive relationship can cause it, too. | Chris Hondros/Getty Images

Again, most of us are familiar with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. Many service members returning from combat experience the condition. But it’s also common in victims of violent crimes or those who experienced abuse. Some people are able to recover, while others deal with the disorder for the remainder of their lives. Symptoms include bad dreams, flashbacks, and frightening, disorienting thoughts.

10. Seasonal affective disorder

Midtown Manhattan skyline

A snowy and isolating winter can leave you depressed. | iStock.com/Ultima_Gaina

Seasonal affective disorder impacts individuals living in certain parts of the world. Basically, changes in the amount of sunlight leads to behavioral issues. Naturally, this is a cyclical, seasonal problem. Researchers believe it occurs due to our circadian rhythms and brain chemistry getting thrown off by a lack of sunlight during winter. It’s actually a type of depression, and depending on where you live, your risk may increase.