What is Mental Illness: Mental Illness Facts
Mental illnesses are medical
conditions that disrupt a person’s thinking, feeling, mood,
ability to relate to others, and daily functioning. Just as diabetes
is a disorder of the pancreas, mental illnesses are medical
conditions that often result in a diminished capacity for coping with
the ordinary demands of life.
Serious mental illnesses include
major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive
compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, post traumatic stress
disorder (PTSD), and borderline personality disorder. The good news
about mental illness is that recovery is possible.
Mental illnesses can affect persons
of any age, race, religion, or income. Mental illnesses are not the
result of personal weakness, lack of character, or poor
upbringing. Mental illnesses are treatable. Most people
diagnosed with a serious mental illness can experience relief from
their symptoms by actively participating in an individual treatment
In addition to medication treatment,
psychosocial treatment such as cognitive behavioral therapy,
interpersonal therapy, peer support groups, and other community
services can also be components of a treatment plan and that assist
with recovery. The availability of transportation, diet, exercise,
sleep, friends, and meaningful paid or volunteer activities
contribute to overall health and wellness, including mental illness
Here are some important facts about
mental illness and recovery:
illnesses are biologically based brain disorders. They cannot
be overcome through "will power" and are not related to a
person's "character" or intelligence.
disorders fall along a continuum of severity. Even though mental
disorders are widespread in the population, the main burden of
illness is concentrated in a much smaller proportion — about 6
percent, or 1 in 17 Americans — who suffer from a serious
mental illness. It is estimated that mental illness affects 1 in 5
families in America.
World Health Organization has reported that four of the 10 leading
causes of disability in the US and other developed countries are
mental disorders. By 2020, Major Depressive illness will be the
leading cause of disability in the world for women and children.
illnesses usually strike individuals in the prime of their lives,
often during adolescence and young adulthood. All ages are
susceptible, but the young and the old are especially vulnerable.
treatment the consequences of mental illness for the individual and
society are staggering: unnecessary disability, unemployment,
substance abuse, homelessness, inappropriate incarceration, suicide
and wasted lives; The economic cost of untreated mental illness is
more than 100 billion dollars each year in the United States.
best treatments for serious mental illnesses today are highly
effective; between 70 and 90 percent of individuals have significant
reduction of symptoms and improved quality of life with a
combination of pharmacological and psychosocial treatments and
appropriate effective medication and a wide range of services
tailored to their needs, most people who live with serious mental
illnesses can significantly reduce the impact of their illness and
find a satisfying measure of achievement and independence. A key
concept is to develop expertise in developing strategies to manage
the illness process.
identification and treatment is of vital importance; By ensuring
access to the treatment and recovery supports that are proven
effective, recovery is accelerated and the further harm related to
the course of illness is minimized.
Stigma erodes confidence that
mental disorders are real, treatable health conditions. We have
allowed stigma and a now unwarranted sense of hopelessness to erect
attitudinal, structural and financial barriers to effective
treatment and recovery. It is time to take these barriers down.
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