Mental Illnesses and Disorders

Mental Illness - Showing mental healthA mental illness is a disease of the brain that causes mild to severe disturbances in thought and/or behavior, resulting in an inability to cope with life’s ordinary demands and routines.  There are more than 200 classified forms of mental illness. Some of the more common disorders are: Obsessive Compulsive Disorderclinical depression, bipolar disorder, dementia, schizophrenia and anxiety disorders.  Symptoms may include changes in mood, personality, personal habits and/or social withdrawal.

Excessive stress due to a particular situation or series of events may result into mental health problems. As with cancer, diabetes and heart disease, mental illnesses are often physical as well as emotional and psychological. A reaction to environmental stresses, genetic factors, biochemical imbalances, or a combination of these may cause mental illnesses. With proper care and treatment many individuals learn to cope or recover from a mental illness or emotional disorder.

Warning Signs and Symptoms of Mental Illness

Persons with mental illness usually exhibit number of symptoms; not just one or two symptoms, that are persistent and interfere with daily life and work. This listing of warning signs and symptoms of mental illness should not be used as a diagnostic instrument but be used as an educational and information tool. To determine if someone has a mental illness, a diagnostic evaluation by a licensed mental health and/or medical professional is needed. A diagnostic evaluation may include:  (a) a complete physical checkup to rule out other illnesses; (b) information gathering on family health history; and (c) other diagnostic tests/evaluations as determined by a licensed professional.

Younger Children Preadolescents Adults
Changes in school performance Substance abuse or drug addiction Confused thinking
Poor grades despite strong efforts Inability to cope with problems or daily activities Prolonged depression (sadness or irritability)
Refusing to go to bed or school (excessive worry or anxiety) Changes in sleeping and/or eating habits Feeling of extreme highs and lows
Hyper activity Excessive physical ailment complaints Excessive fears, worries, and anxieities
Persistent nightmares Aggressive and disgraceful behavior, or, defiance of authority, theft, truancy, and/or, vandalism Social withdrawal
Persistent disobedience or aggression Fear of weight gain Dramatic changes in eating or sleeping habits

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