5 Psychological Disorders Explained in Eye-Opening Infographics

Distressing cycles, visually explained.

How does it feel to suffer from pyromania? Or to have an irresistible urge to steal? These five impactful graphics from How Psychology Works break down what it's like to live with Dissociative Identity Disorder, a gambling addiction, and more.

DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder)

In this rare and severe condition, a person’s identity is fragmented into two or more distinct personality states, called alters. Each alter has its own persona, with its own pattern of thinking and communicating, even down to different handwriting and physical requirements, such as wearing glasses.

© AWL Images/Danita Delimont Stock


A person with pyromania sets fires purposely. This very rare impulse-control disorder is triggered by stress, and the action provides relief from tension or distress.

© AWL Images/Danita Delimont Stock

Illness Anxiety Disorder

Previously known as hypochondria, this condition involves a person worrying excessively about becoming seriously ill, even if thorough medical examinations reveal nothing. Disbelief in medical opinion reaffirms the person’s anxiety and results in extra focus on the body part or illness, which causes panic and physical symptoms.

© AWL Images/Danita Delimont Stock


An individual with kleptomania has an irresistible and repeated compulsion to steal items. These episodes of stealing occur unexpectedly, without planning. Many people with kleptomania live secret lives of shame because they are afraid to seek help; up to 24 percent of those arrested for shoplifting are thought to suffer from it.

© AWL Images/Danita Delimont Stock

Gambling disorder

Also known as compulsive gambling, this is an impulse-control disorder that exists when a person repeatedly gambles despite the significant problems or distress it causes themselves and others. The thrill of winning releases dopamine from the reward center in the brain. For some people the act of gambling becomes addictive and they need ever-bigger wins to achieve the same thrill.

© AWL Images/Danita Delimont Stock

About the book

Covering everything from sports psychology to the psychology of celebrity, consumer psychology, cognitive and behavioral therapies and more, How Psychology Works breaks down complex concepts in an accessible, fascinating, visual way.