The 5 Most Common Behavioral Health Conditions in the U.S. Today

Last updated on May 30th, 2024 at 07:33 pm

Behavioral health conditions are just as real as physical ones. Many people develop behavior patterns that are hard or impossible to control, even when those behaviors negatively affect their lives.

If you have a behavioral health concern, you’re far from alone. According to recent estimates, nearly 23% of all U.S. adults are dealing with at least one mental or behavioral health condition.

These are some of the most common behavioral health conditions in the U.S. today.

Substance Use Disorders

behavioral health conditions

Substance use disorders are when someone cannot fully control their use of alcohol, illegal drugs, misused legal medications, tobacco, or other substances. In many cases, the person uses the substance even when there are harmful consequences of using or obtaining it. Depending on the substance, there can be a wide range of other symptoms.

In 2023, over 15% of U.S. adults have dealt with a substance use disorder in the past year, according to Mental Health America’s recent report. More people have been struggling with substance use since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Fortunately, we have ways to treat substance use disorders. If you think you or someone you know is struggling with substance use, please reach out to a support group or behavioral health professional. It can be much more affordable than you probably think!

Sunrise Services can help people with substance use and other behavioral health disorders in Snohomish, Island, Skagit, or Whatcom Counties in Washington State. Get in touch with us if you are looking for treatment options.

Binge Eating Disorder

Binge eating disorder is a serious condition where someone often eats large amounts of food without being able to stop themselves. While most people overeat at times, especially on special occasions, it can be a disorder if it becomes extreme and out of control.

Some of the most common symptoms are:

  • Eating unusually large amounts of food over short periods of time
  • Eating even when you feel full
  • Frequently eating in secret
  • Feeling that your eating is out of control
  • Feeling depressed or ashamed about your eating
  • Binge eating more after attempts to restrict your diet

Based on the most recent data from the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), 1.2% of the U.S. adult population has a binge eating disorder. About 2.8% of the population will have this disorder at some point in their lifetimes. Luckily, treatment can help with managing this disorder.

If you think you have a binge eating disorder, please talk to a doctor or behavioral health professional.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

behavioral health conditions

Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is where someone’s life is negatively affected by intrusive thoughts or urges that lead to repetitive behaviors. For example, someone with OCD and a fear of germs might wash their hands several times in a row or dozens of times a day, leading to chapped skin. Another person with OCD might feel the need to swallow a set number of times or keep swallowing until they’ve done it “right”, and be unable to do anything else until afterward.

There are plenty of people who have perfectionist tendencies or unusual habits. The difference with OCD is that those tendencies are debilitating. The behavior interferes with normal activities, like shaking hands or leaving the house on time for work. Sometimes it affects the person’s outcomes at work, school, or in relationships.

Based on the most recent NIMH data, 1.2% of U.S. adults have dealt with OCD in the past year. Roughly 2.3% of the population will have OCD at some point over the course of their lives.

Fortunately, treatment can help with OCD. If you think you have this condition, please talk to a behavioral health professional.

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia nervosa is an eating disorder that involves an intense fear of weight gain, an abnormally low body weight, and a distorted perception of that weight. Usually, the person will go to extreme efforts to control their weight that interfere with their life.

Many people with anorexia severely restrict their eating, vomit after eating, exercise excessively, or all of the above. No matter how much weight they lose, they are still afraid of gaining weight. Over time, people can develop symptoms that we usually associate with starvation, like muscle wasting, fatigue, dizziness, fainting, and even organ damage — which can threaten their lives.

According to the NIMH, 0.3% of U.S. adults have had anorexia nervosa in the past year, and 0.6% will have it during their lifetimes. However, treatment can help people recover, develop a better sense of self, and return to healthier habits. If you think you have this condition, please reach out to a doctor or behavioral health professional.

Bulimia Nervosa

Bulimia nervosa is an eating disorder where someone has regular, often secretive bouts of binge eating followed by vomiting or purging. Some people also fast or over-exercise to try to compensate for overeating.

People with bulimia tend to be overly worried about weight loss and dieting, but they don’t necessarily end up underweight like with anorexia. You can find people with bulimia at any size. However, the binging and purging cycle can cause chemical imbalances and negatively affect the digestive system. Some people have symptoms like acid reflux, brittle nails, dry hair and skin, weakness, fatigue, or a permanently inflamed sore throat, among others.

Over the past year, 0.3% of U.S. adults have dealt with bulimia. 0.6% will experience it during their lifetimes. Treatment can help, so please reach out to a doctor or behavioral health professional if you think you have bulimia.

Other Behavioral Health Conditions

behavioral health conditions

There are many other kinds of behavioral health conditions. Most of these aren’t as well-documented as the ones we discussed above, but some of them may be even more common. We often see patients who have other kinds of unhealthy behaviors around the internet, video games, gambling, food, exercise, shopping, porn, or other activities.

If you feel like you’re not in control of yourself, talk to a behavioral health professional. Most behavioral health issues can be treated. The right treatment can give you a better quality of life.

Do You Need Behavioral Health Services?

If you are in immediate life-threatening danger, please call 9-1-1. If you are experiencing a mental health crisis in Island, Skagit, Snohomish, or Whatcom Counties, please call 1-800-584-3578.

Sunrise Services offers behavioral health services in Snohomish, Island, Skagit, and Whatcom counties in Washington State. We help people with all kinds of mental and behavioral health conditions. Our services include therapy, chemical dependency treatment, medication management, specialty support groups, and more.

Get in touch with us today if you’d like help with your behavioral health concerns.

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