“Mental illness, also called mental health disorders, refers to a wide range of mental health conditions — disorders that affect your mood, thinking and behavior”.1

Umbrella
What may the Mental Illness Umbrella include?

Depending on the Source (DotS) this Umbrella may include:

  • Mental Disorders
  • Mental Health Conditions/Disorders/Problems
  • Mental Ill Health
  • Mental Illness/Illnesses

Definition

What is mental illness?

DotS the definition of mental illness may vary. The (United States) National Alliance on Mental Illness’ (NAMI) definition is:

“A mental illness is a condition that affects a person’s thinking, feeling, behavior or mood. These conditions deeply impact day-to-day living and may also affect the ability to relate to others”.2

In Mental Health Conditions the NAMI also explain:

NAMI recognizes that other organizations have drawn distinctions between what diagnoses are considered “mental health conditions” as opposed to “mental illnesses.” We intentionally use the terms “mental health conditions” and “mental illness/es” interchangeably”.3

Types

What are different types of mental illness?

DotS these may vary. The (United States) Mayo Clinic explain:

“Mental illness, also called mental health disorders, refers to a wide range of mental health conditions — disorders that affect your mood, thinking and behavior. Examples of mental illness include depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders and addictive behaviors”.4

In Mental Health Conditions the NAMI include:

  • “Anxiety Disorders
  • ADHD [Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder]
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Depression
  • Dissociative Disorders
  • Eating Disorders
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
  • Psychosis
  • Schizoaffective Disorder
  • Schizophrenia”.5

Women

Can mental illness affect women and men differently?

Yes. In Women and Mental Health: Overview the (United States) National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) elaborate on:

Mental Illness

“Mental disorders can affect women and men differently. Some disorders are more common in women such as depression and anxiety. There are also certain types of disorders that are unique to women. For example, some women may experience symptoms of mental disorders at times of hormone change, such as perinatal depression, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and perimenopause-related depression”.6

In Women and Mental Health: Overview the NIMH also note:

“When it comes to other mental disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, research has not found differences in the rates at which men and women experience these illnesses. But women may experience these illnesses differently – certain symptoms may be more common in women than in men, and the course of the illness can be affected by the sex of the individual. Researchers are only now beginning to tease apart the various biological and psychosocial factors that may impact the mental health of both women and men”.7

Signs and Symptoms

Can signs and symptoms of mental illness vary?

In Mental Illness: Symptoms & Causes – Symptoms the Mayo Clinic elaborate on:

“Signs and symptoms of mental illness can vary, depending on the disorder, circumstances and other factors. Mental illness symptoms can affect emotions, thoughts and behaviors.

Examples of signs and symptoms include:

  • Feeling sad or down
  • Confused thinking or reduced ability to concentrate
  • Excessive fears or worries, or extreme feelings of guilt
  • Extreme mood changes of highs and lows
  • Withdrawal from friends and activities
  • Significant tiredness, low energy or problems sleeping
  • Detachment from reality (delusions), paranoia or hallucinations
  • Inability to cope with daily problems or stress
  • Trouble understanding and relating to situations and to people
  • Problems with alcohol or drug abuse
  • Major changes in eating habits
  • Sex drive changes
  • Excessive anger, hostility or violence
  • Suicidal thinking

Sometimes symptoms of a mental health disorder appear as physical problems, such as stomach pain, back pain, headaches, or other unexplained aches and pains”.8

Cause

What may cause mental illness?

In Mental Health Conditions the NAMI explain:

“A mental health condition isn’t the result of one event. Research suggests multiple, linking causes. Genetics, environment and lifestyle influence whether someone develops a mental health condition. A stressful job or home life makes some people more susceptible, as do traumatic life events. Biochemical processes and circuits and basic brain structure may play a role, too”.9

Common or Not

How common is mental illness?

In the United States according to the NAMI in Individuals With Mental Illness:

“If you have a mental health condition, you’re not alone. One in 5 American adults experiences some form of mental illness in any given year. And across the population, 1 in every 25 adults is living with a serious mental health condition such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or long-term recurring major depression”.10

In the United Kingdom according to the Mental Health Foundation (MHF) in What Are Mental Health Problems? Mental Health Problems Are Very Common:

“As found by the APMS (2014), 1 in 6 people in the past week experienced a common mental health problem.

Anxiety and depression are the most common problems, with around 1 in 10 people affected at any one time”.11

What is APMS?

APMS can be an abbreviation for Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey.

Treatment

How may mental illness treated?

The Mayo Clinic explain:

“Your treatment depends on the type of mental illness you have, its severity and what works best for you. In many cases, a combination of treatments works best.

If you have a mild mental illness with well-controlled symptoms, treatment from your primary care provider may be sufficient. However, often a team approach is appropriate to make sure all your psychiatric, medical and social needs are met. This is especially important for severe mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia”.12

Online Treatment Programs

Are there online treatment programs?

DotC (Depending on the Country) there may be. Your health care provider or local community health center may know of your country’s recommended online treatment programs.

Health Care Provider

What if I think I have a mental illness?

If you think you have a mental illness, it may be in your best interest to choose to talk to your health care provider about this.

In Finding A Mental Health Professional the NIMH elaborate on:

“The most important step in treating a mental health condition sometimes feels like a challenging one: finding a mental health professional. A trustworthy and knowledgeable mental health professional will be a valuable ally. It may take a little time and persistence to locate this ally or assemble a team of allies. Following the plan below can increase the chance of finding someone whom you feel comfortable working with.

  • Step 1: Think About Whom You’re Looking For…
  • Step 2: Gather Referrals…
  • Step 3: Make the Call…
  • Step 4: Ask Questions…
  • Step 5: Build A Relationship…”.13

Health Topics A-Z

Where may I find Health Topics related to Mental Illness?

In Health Topics A-Z you may find:

Links

Where may I find Links related to Mental Illness?

Your Country may have Links similar to:

Sources

Where may I find the Sources quoted?

You may find the Sources quoted:

Sources

  1. Mental Illness: Symptoms & Causes – Overview. 08 June 2019. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mental-illness/symptoms-causes/syc-20374968 Accessed: 23 August 2020
  2. Mental Health Conditions. National Alliance on Mental Illness https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions Accessed: 23 August 2020
  3. Mental Health Conditions. National Alliance on Mental Illness https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions Accessed: 23 August 2020
  4. Mental Illness: Symptoms & Causes – Overview. 08 June 2019. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mental-illness/symptoms-causes/syc-20374968 Accessed: 23 August 2020
  5. Mental Health Conditions. National Alliance on Mental Illness https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions Accessed: 23 August 2020
  6. Women and Mental Health: Overview. Last Revised: May 2019. National Institute of Mental Health https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/women-and-mental-health/index.shtml Accessed: 23 August 2020
  7. Women and Mental Health: Overview. Last Revised: May 2019. National Institute of Mental Health https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/women-and-mental-health/index.shtml Accessed: 23 August 2020
  8. Mental Illness: Symptoms & Causes – Symptoms. 08 June 2019. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mental-illness/symptoms-causes/syc-20374968 Accessed: 23 August 2020
  9. Mental Health Conditions. National Alliance on Mental Illness https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions Accessed: 23 August 2020
  10. Individuals With Mental Illness. National Alliance on Mental Illness https://www.nami.org/Your-Journey/Individuals-with-Mental-Illness Accessed: 23 August 2020
  11. What Are Mental Health Problems? Mental Health Problems Are Very Common. Mental Health Foundation https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/your-mental-health/about-mental-health/what-are-mental-health-problems Accessed: 23 August 2020
  12. Mental Illness: Diagnosis & Treatment – Treatment. 06 June 2019. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mental-illness/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20374974 Accessed: 23 August 2020
  13. Finding A Mental Health Professional. National Alliance on Mental Illness https://www.nami.org/Your-Journey/Individuals-with-Mental-Illness/Finding-a-Mental-Health-Professional Accessed: 23 August 2020

Topic Last Updated: 23 August 2020 – Topic Last Reviewed: 23 August 2020
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