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Mental Illness Affects 1 in 4 Americans

According to a report in the New England Journal of Medicine, the number of Americans experiencing at least one episode of mental illness over the past year continues to rise, up to 46%. The National Institute of Mental Health published a statement that 25% of North Americans suffer from a diagnosable mental condition. Along with a rise of those with a mental health disorder is a documented increase, of up to a third, in the number receiving treatment.

Global Mental Health Conditions

The most common mental health disorders which are diagnosed globally include anxiety, addiction, eating disorders, depression, ADD/ADHD spectrum, bipolar disorder, insomnia, and schizophrenia. Recent studies show that mental disorders and substance abuse are the leading cause of non-fatal illness worldwide.

Mental Illness Criteria

Looking at the criteria established by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), research of the National Institute of Mental Health found that 46% of adults were found to have at least one mental illness within the categories of anxiety disorders, mood disorders, impulse-control disorders, and substance use disorders. While the percentage indicates those with at least one disorder, most met the criteria for more than one diagnosis.

Common Mental Illness Categories

The mental illness categories reviewed fall into four broad groupings, with American adults having at least one, if not more, mental health disorder within one of these four categories at some point in their lives.

  • Anxiety Disorders including all types of anxiety, phobia, PTSD
  • Mood Disorders which include major depression and bipolar disorders
  • Impulse-Control Disorders which include various behavioral issues, ADHD
  • Substance Use Disorders including alcohol and drug abuse

Mental Illness Diagnosis and Treatment

Receiving an accurate diagnosis and treatment for your mental illness can change your daily struggles into living your life with a positive outlook and plan. Call Dr. Hege for a convenient appointment that meets your busy life schedule.

Mental Health: Do You Have a Common Disorder?

There are many different mental health disorders and conditions that can be diagnosed and successfully treated by qualified mental health professionals. It may be found during a comprehensive evaluation that a person may have a primary disorder or illness with other psychiatric disorders present that require treatment as well.

Qualified Mental Health Evaluation Critical

Diagnosis of multiple mental illness in a person is not uncommon. In addition some mental illness disorders have components of others in them. Some examples: someone with PTSD who also presents with a depression component or a person who may be diagnosed with depression but who also has suicidal tendencies. Working with an experienced psychiatrist provides you with the skills needed to determine your individual issues and needs.

Common Mental Illness Diagnoses

The more common types of mental illness or mental disorders follow.

  • Anxiety Disorders: An anxiety disorder is typically diagnosed when a person’s response is not appropriate to the event or situation — if a person cannot control the response, or if the anxiety is interfering with normal daily life. Anxiety disorders usually come with feelings of fear and dread, physical signs of panic such as sweating and rapid heartbeat. Anxiety disorders do include panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and other specific phobias.
  • Mood Disorders: These disorders involve chronic long lasting feelings of sadness, periods of feeling overly happy, or feelings that fluctuate from extreme happiness to extreme sadness. This category includes the most common mood disorders of bipolar disorder, depression and cyclothymic disorder (low and high mood swings not as severe as those seen in bipolar disorder). 
  • Impulse Control and Addiction Disorders: With a diagnosis or diagnoses of this type of mental illness comes the inability to resist urges or impulses as well as performing acts that may to harmful to themselves or others. Some examples of impulse control and addiction disorders are compulsive gambling, alcohol and drug addiction, pyromania or kleptomania. It is not uncommon for the person to become so involved with their addiction that they start to ignore their work, home and social responsibilities and relationships.
  • Personality Disorders: Those people with personality disorders generally have extreme and inflexible personality traits that cause distress and problems not only to the person with this mental health illness, but also cause disruption at work, school or in social relationships. With personality disorders the pattern of thinking and behavior are often so rigid that they interfere with normal daily living skills. Some examples of this disorder are antisocial personality disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, and paranoid personality disorder.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): This mental illness usually develops after a traumatic or terrifying event. People who are diagnosed with PTSD typically have lasting and frightening thoughts and memories of the event and often find themselves emotionally numb.

Expert Mental Illness Help Available

If you see yourself in one or more of the multiple descriptions above and are having difficulty with daily life functioning it may be time to take a proactive step; call for an appointment with a qualified mental health psychiatrist for evaluation.

The Many Faces of Mental Illness

Mental illness may affect someone as close to you as your next door neighbor, or mental illness may be a reality you or a family member will come to face. If you’ve been struggling but have never sought treatment for a mental health issue before, it’s common that over time the ability to cope with ordinary life demands may reach a point that help is finally sought.

Mental Illness Surrounds All of Us

Twenty-five percent of adults experience mental illness in any given year; the percentage takes on an even more personal importance when saying one out of every four adults suffer with some form of mental illness. One-out-of-four brings the issue home. The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports one-out-of-four means that over 60 million adults in the U.S. who may have difficulty coping with life, and many who may be living life unfulfilled who could be on the road to positive change working with a practiced mental health professional.

Symptoms of Mental Illness

The Canadian Alliance on Mental Illness and Mental Health indicates that having a mental illness does not mean an emotional reaction to an event or situation – it is normal to experience feelings, for example, of sadness, loss, anger, fear, agitation or panic related to a real-life occurrence. With the wide variety of diagnosed mental disorders, the combination of different symptoms needs to persist over time and dramatically impact one’s life roles, social and family relationships, work history, behavior, or even the ability to perform basic self-care and hygiene.

Stigma of Mental Illness

With one-out-of-four experiencing mental illness and one-out-of-17 living with a serious mental illness like bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and major depression, one would think the awareness and willingness to seek help would be commonplace. Typically however, people wait a long time to seek help, if they ask for help at all.  The person may know something is wrong, or that they are “different,” yet they fight through life struggling to get by.

Reality of Mental Illness

Anyone of any age, religion, race, or socio-economic background can have a mental illness. Being diagnosed with a mental illness does not mean that you are a weak person, or that if you really wanted you could “get over it.”  The reality is that you can recover with treatment. Stop waiting to make the decision to get help; your life is waiting to begin anew.

Atlanta Mental Illness Psychiatrist

Dr. Darvin Hege is a psychiatrist in Atlanta. Call to set up an appointment and make a change for the better.