Understanding Mental Illness

Posted Jul 5, 2013 | Posted in Diseases & Treatments
Dr. Kumari VergheseDr. Kumari Verghese, director of behavioral health services at Johnston Health, will be talking about mental illness at the Summer Health Chat on July 17 at the Johnston Medical Mall.  She will be discussing ways to get help for mental health issues through a variety of services available in the community. Click here to register for this free event.

Mental Illness Defined

Mental illness can be as real and as damaging as any physical ailment.  About 25% of Americans have experienced some type of mental health issue.  It’s important to understand the different types of mental illness and how people are affected by them so we can easily provide treatment and help to those who are suffering.

Understanding Mental Illness
Anxiety Disorders cause a person to have excessive worrying, apprehension, and fear.  This can occur either continuously or as sporadic episodes.  Anxiety disorders can be broken down into several different types including phobias, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and others.

Affected Americans: 18%

Eating Disorders are abnormal eating habits involving the intake of either too little or too much food to the point where it has a negative effect on one’s physical health.  Anorexia and bulimia are the most common eating disorders.

Affected Americans: 5%

Mood Disorders are characterized by periods of depression, with or without periods of mania. One of the most common mood disorders is major depressive disorder, which can be broken down into more specific types of depression. The most severe forms of depressions frequently include suicidal thoughts and behavior.  Bipolar disorder is another common mood disorder and involves alternating periods of depression and mania.

Affected Americans: 9.5%

Personality Disorders occur when behaviors, thoughts, and inner experiences are displayed by an individual that differ greatly from those accepted by their culture and that impair their social and occupational functioning.  Personality disorders can range from being very mild to very severe. Common types include borderline personality disorder, paranoid personality disorder, and narcissistic personality disorder.

Affected Americans: 10%

Psychotic Disorders tend to be more severe than other mental illnesses and involve an abnormal state of mind where an individual is out of touch with reality.  Common symptoms of psychotic disorders include hallucinations, delusions, and impaired insight.  Schizophrenia is one of the most well-known psychotic disorders.

Affected Americans: 3.5%

Getting Help

Understanding mental illness is important, but it’s even more important to get help for yourself or a loved one who may be experiencing one of these disorders.  While much progress has been made in recent years, there is still a stigma attached to mental illness which makes it hard for people to seek help. View the infographic below for more information:

Mental Illness Infographic

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