What you should know about mental illness.
Mental illness is NOT a sign of weakness.
It can affect anyone at any time in life.
Short of the common cold, there are few illnesses that impact as many people as does mental illness. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that one in four adults, or nearly 60 million Americans, experience a mental health disorder in a given year.
The U.S. Sugeon General reports that 10 percent of children and adolescents in the United States suffer from serious emotional and mental disorders that cause significant function impairment in their day-to-day lives at home, in school and with peers.
So what is a mental illness?
Mental illness refers to a wide range of mental health conditions that affect your mood, thinking and behavior. Examples of mental illness include: Depression, anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, eating disorders and addicative behaviors.
Many people have mental health concerns from time to time. But a mental health concern becomes a mental illness when signs and symptoms cause frequent stress and affect your ability to function. In most cases, mental illness symptoms can be managed with a combination of medications and counseling (psychotherapy). Symptoms may include changes in mood, personality, personal habits and/or social withdrawal.
It’s also important to know that treatment does work and people can learn to manage their illness
What Causes Mental Illness?
There’s no specific identifiable cause of mental illness. Mental illness, in general, is thought to be caused by a variety of genetic and environmental factors:
Mental illness is more common in people whose biological family members also have a mental illness. You may have a genetic vulnerability to developing a mental illness, and your life situation may trigger the actual mental illness if you’re already at risk.
Traumatic brain injury or exposure to viruses or toxins while in the womb.
Challenging siuations in your life, such as a loss of a loved one, financial problems and high stress, can play a role in triggering mental illness.
Known as biochemical causes, changes occurring in the brain are thought to affect moods and other aspects of mental health.