A significant proportion of the electroencephalography (EEG) literature focuses on differences in historically pre-defined frequency bands in the power spectrum that are typically referred to as alpha, beta, gamma, theta and delta waves. Here, we review 184 EEG studies that report differences in frequency bands in the resting state condition (eyes open and closed) across a spectrum of psychiatric disorders including depression, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, addiction, bipolar disorder, anxiety, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and schizophrenia to determine patterns across disorders. Aggregating across all reported results we demonstrate that characteristic patterns of power change within specific frequency bands are not necessarily unique to any one disorder but show substantial overlap across disorders as well as variability within disorders. In particular, we show that the most dominant pattern of change, across several disorder types including ADHD, schizophrenia and OCD, is power increases across lower frequencies (delta and theta) and decreases across higher frequencies (alpha, beta and gamma). However, a considerable number of disorders, such as PTSD, addiction and autism show no dominant trend for spectral change in any direction. We report consistency and validation scores across the disorders and conditions showing that the dominant result across all disorders is typically only 2.2 times as likely to occur in the literature as alternate results, and typically with less than 250 study participants when summed across all studies reporting this result. Furthermore, the magnitudes of the results were infrequently reported and were typically small at between 20% and 30% and correlated weakly with symptom severity scores. Finally, we discuss the many methodological challenges and limitations relating to such frequency band analysis across the literature. These results caution any interpretation of results from studies that consider only one disorder in isolation, and for the overall potential of this approach for delivering valuable insights in the field of mental health.