WHAT IS MENTAL ILLNESS?
Mental Illness is the term for a group of disorders causing severe disturbances in thinking, feeling and relating which result in substantially diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of life. Mental Illness can affect persons of any age and can occur in any family. Almost 35 million people in this country suffer from serious long-term mental illness. The cost to society is high. PATIENTS WITH MENTAL ILLNESS OCCUPY MORE HOSPITAL BEDS THAN DO PERSONS WITH ANY OTHER ILLNESS.
Mental Illness is not the same as mental retardation. The mentally retarded have a diminished intellectual capacity. Those with mental illnesses are usually of normal or high intelligence who have difficulty performing at a normal level due to their illness. They have a NEURO-BIOLOGICAL DISEASE.
SCHIZOPHRENIA is one of the most serious and disabling of the mental illnesses, affecting approximately one person in a hundred. Its onset is usually in late teens or early twenties.
AFFECTIVE DISORDERS are the most common of the psychiatric disorders. Mood disorders may be BI-POLAR illness (manic depression) in which a person swings between extreme high and low moods. Or they may be UNI-POLAR, in which the person suffers from persistent severe depression. About six percent of the population suffers from an affective disorder, a major cause of suicide, particularly in adolescents.
Closure of State Hospitals and lack of essential treatment in the community have led to many patients being incarcerated in prisons. This is very expensive, both to society and to people who are not criminal, just ill.
Web Sites of Interest