What Is Mental Illness?


A mental illness is a medical condition that disrupts the way a person's thinks, feels and interacts with others, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

It knows no class or creed, affecting people of any age, race, religion or income. Anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder are just some of the forms of mental illness.

In fact, one in four adults experience a mental illness in a given year, with mood disorders like depression coming in as the third most common cause for hospitalization.

"Some people think that these are characteristics, that these people aren't normal. These are real illnesses," said Dr. Phillip Wang, deputy director of the National Institute of Mental Health. "These are brain disorders."

But perhaps even more alarming is the fact that 60 percent of adults and nearly 50 percent of young people with a mental illness never receive treatment despite the fact that they are all treatable.

"Serious mental illness that goes untreated is an increased risk for violence," Wang added.  

Below are the conditions that are considered mental illnesses. Follow the links to learn more about each condition:

The following conditions are sometimes related to mental illness:

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