What is Mental Illness?
Likewise, a person diagnosed with a mental illness can experience periods of physical, mental, and social well-being.
Mental illness is a term used to describe mental health conditions that impact mood, thinking, and behavior. These disorders may interfere with a person’s ability to relate to others and function on a daily basis.
Common mental illnesses include:
- Mood disorders
- Psychotic disorders
- Anxiety disorders
Anxiety disorders are the most common form of mental illness, followed by mood disorders.
There is no single cause for mental illness. A number of factors can contribute to risk for mental illness, such as
- Early adverse life experiences, such as trauma or a history of abuse (for example, child abuse, sexual assault, witnessing violence, etc.)
- Experiences related to other ongoing (chronic) medical conditions, such as cancer or diabetes
- Biological factors or chemical imbalances in the brain
- Use of alcohol or drugs
- Having feelings of loneliness or isolation
Symptoms vary depending on the type of mental illness one is struggling with. However, some common symptoms associated with many types of mental illness include:
- Loss of appetite
- Social withdrawal
- Emotional numbness
- Inability to concentrate
- Excessive fear and worry
- Sleep disorders
The signs and symptoms of mental illness can often be confused for various other ailments such as stress, fatigue, or even teenage hormones.
Other conditions may also mask a person’s true struggle with mental health such as an eating disorder, addiction, or even physical pain that does not have a clear source (such as back pain).