(Adapted from National Alliance on Mental Illness website: www.nami.org)
Anxiety Disorders are a group of mental illnesses characterized by feelings of fear, distress or unease in situations that most people would not experience these negative feelings. Several disorders are classified under this heading including Panic Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and Phobias.:
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in America, affecting 20% of the population at any one time. Untreated they may significantly diminish ordinary life skills and lead to low-self-esteem and possible substance abuse and social isolation.
Bipolar disorder (formerly called manic depressive illness)
Bipolar disorder is a chronic mental illness with recurring episodes of mania and depression. It is characterized by unusual and dramatic shifts in mood, energy and the ability to think clearly. These varying moods may last from one day to months, and occur in an irregular pattern. Bipolar disorder can disrupt a persons life significantly, and may lead to hospitalizations and loss of jobs and/or relationships. More than 10 million Americans suffer from bipolar disorder; it affects men and women in equal numbers. It can be hard to diagnose because of its irregular patterns.
Depression is a serious mental illness that affects one’s thoughts, feelings, behavior, mood and physical health. The mood it brings on is far more debilitating than a temporary experience of grief or sadness caused by life’s difficult events. In fact the depressed mood may be unrelated to a difficult life experience. It is a life-long condition in which periods of wellness alternate with periods of depression. It is more commonly diagnosed among women. 5-8% of adults in the US suffer from depression annually.
Psychosis is the loss of contact with reality involving hallucinations and delusions. It is a common symptom of schizophrenia, but can be present in other mental illnesses.
Schizophrenia is somewhat less prevalent than bipolar disorder (about 2.4 million Americans suffer from it) but it can be extremely debilitating. It affects one’s ability to think clearly, to manage emotions, to make decisions and to relate to others. In its acute phases it involves thought disturbances such as psychosis, auditory hallucinations (hearing voices) and other distorted sensations. People with schizophrenia often lead isolated lives, lacking jobs and friends because their symptoms interfere with typical functioning. It is often confused with having a split personality, however this is more correctly termed dissociative disorder and has nothing to do with schizophrenia.
Schizoaffective disorder has features resembling schizophrenia, or thought disorder, and bipolar, or mood disorder. Delusions, hallucinations and other thought disturbances accompanied by the mood changes of bipolar characterize schizoaffective disorder. Its prevalence in the American population is 1 in 100 people.
Mental illness is a highly prevalent, life-threatening disease that affects millions of people all around the world.
- One in one hundred people in the world develop schizophrenia.¹
- More than two in one hundred people in the world develop bi-polar disorder.²
- Mental illness does not discriminate: it strikes people of all ethnic groups and economic brackets.³
- Over 44 million people in the U.S. – one in five adults – suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year4, and over 5 million people are disabled by severe mental illness.³
- Two new cases of mental illness occur in the U.S. every second of every day – 60 million new cases each year.4
Mental illness strikes the young and often goes undiagnosed and untreated for many years.
Mental illness threatens lives everywhere.
Mental illness has a significant impact on human productivity.
Mental illness has a staggering impact on the global economy.
There are inadequate resources available for combating mental illness, despite its huge impact on human productivity and life.
Mental illness is treatable: there is hope for people who have it!
Learn more at www.iccd.org
Sources: ¹ World Health Organization. ² According to a report in the March 2011 issue of Archives of General Psychiatry. ³ National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI). 4 Excerpt from The Numbers Count, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).