A project of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women's Health

Skip Navigation

Womens Health logo
En Español
divider line

Mental health illnesses

For more information on other health conditions that may affect your mental health, visit our illnesses and disability section.

Alcoholism, substance abuse, and addictive behavior

Addiction is a lifelong brain disease that causes drug and/or alcohol use despite harmful costs to the addict and to those around him or her. Learn more.

Return to top

Anxiety disorders

Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress. It can help you cope with a hard situation. For example, anxiety helps one deal with a deadline at the office or can push you to study for a test. But when anxiety becomes an extreme, irrational dread of everyday situations, it can be disabling. Anxiety disorders include:

Return to top

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a disorder that makes it hard to focus and pay attention. ADHD can make it hard for adults to feel organized, stick with a job, or get to work on time. Learn more.

Return to top

Austism spectrum disorders and pervasive developmental disorders

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) cause problems with social interaction and communication. Learn more.

Return to top

Bipolar disorder (manic depressive illness)

Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depressive illness, is a serious medical illness that causes shifts in a person's mood, energy, and ability to function. Learn more.

Return to top

Borderline personality disorder

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a serious mental illness causing unstable moods, interpersonal relationships, self-image, and behavior. Learn more.

Return to top


When a woman has depression, it interferes with her daily life and routine, such as going to work or school, taking care of children, and relationships with family and friends. Depression causes pain for the person who has it and for those who care about him or her. Depression is a serious medical illness; it's not something that you have made up in your head. It's more than just feeling "down in the dumps" or "blue" for a few days. Women with depression feel "down" and "low" and "hopeless" for weeks at a time. Learn more.

Postpartum depression is depression that follows the birth of a baby.

Return to top

Post-traumatic stress disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a real illness. You can get PTSD after living through or seeing a dangerous event, such as war, a hurricane, or bad accident. PTSD makes you feel stressed and afraid even after the danger is over. Learn more.

Return to top


Schizophrenia is a chronic, severe, and disabling brain disorder. Learn more.

Content last updated: March 29, 2010.

Return to top