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World Mental Health Day: What are mental health problems?

Posted on 10-12-2015 Posted in Behavioral Health, Mental Health, Mental Illness, Treatment - 0 Comments


Mental illness, just like physical illness, covers a wide range of conditions with varying degrees of severity. More than 60 million Americans suffer from mental illness in any given year.

Mental illness is a disease of the brain that causes disruptions in thinking and behavior. In many cases, mental illness causes an inability to cope with daily life. There are more than 200 types of mental illness – some are rare and some are very common. The more common forms of mental illness include depression, dementia, bipolar disorder, anxiety, mood disorders, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder and schizophrenia.

Mental illness is usually due to a combination of factors, including genetics, environment and lifestyle. Other contributory factors include stress, trauma and brain structure. About half of mental illnesses begin by age 14 and 75 percent are developed by the age of 24.

Symptoms appear as mood changes, changes in personal habits, personality changes and withdrawal from society. In adults, some warning signs can be loss of clear thinking, sadness, mood swings, excessive anxiety, alterations in sleeping and appetite, unusual anger, hallucinations or delusions, an inability to cope, suicidal thoughts or attempts, denial of problems that are apparent to others, unexplained physical complaints and substance abuse.

Many people do not realize that mental illness is treatable. Advances in pharmaceuticals and therapy help a lot of people with mental illness function well and hold down jobs while caring for their families. The sooner mental illness is treated the better the outcome can be. The percentages for treatment success are as follows:

  • Schizophrenia – 45 to 60 percent
  • Major depression – 65 to 80 percent
  • Bipolar disorder – 80 percent
  • Panic disorder – 70 to 90 percent

Mental illness symptoms are designated into two categories: neurotic or psychotic. Neurotic symptoms are generally regarded as extreme forms of normal emotions such as panic, anxiety or depression. Psychotic symptoms disrupt a person’s sense of reality, creating hallucinatory experiences.

The most common mental illnesses – anxiety and depression – affect about 1 in every 10 people and can be treated with therapy and medication at a doctor’s discretion. Although specific illnesses have symptoms in common, no two people will respond in exactly the same manner.

Sovereign Health Florida treats addictions, mental health disorders and behavioral problems. Our clinicians practice dual diagnosis, the diagnosis and treatment of any underlying condition that may accompany the primary condition.  If you would like further information, please call to speak with a member of our team.

World mental health day: Should primary care doctors treat mental illness?

Written by Veronica McNamara, Sovereign Health Group writer

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