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Every year, an estimated 54 million Americans suffer from mental health concerns.
Any ailment that affects a person’s thoughts, actions, or moods is classified as a mental health disorder. When these concerns cause a person to experience significant stress levels or interfere with their everyday functioning or relationships, they may require therapy and treatment to help manage their symptoms.
If you are dealing with mental illness such as depression or anxiety, realize that you are not alone and that help is available.
Learn about common mental diseases, including their causes, diagnosis, and treatment.
Common Types of Mental Health Disorders
Mental health problems are quite common in the United States. Every year, about one in every five individuals in the US suffers from at least one type of mental health disorder, and one in every twenty-five suffers from a major mental illness.
Mood disorders and anxiety disorders are among the most prevalent forms of mental illness diagnosed in the United States, although personality disorders, eating disorders, and psychotic disorders are widespread. It is vital to minimize the stigma associated with the most prevalent mental health issues to encourage more individuals to seek professional help when required.
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health issue in the United States, with a high frequency. Anxiety disorders affect 40 million adults and 8% of adolescents in the United States.
Some common types of anxiety disorders diagnosed in America, include:
Generalized Anxiety Disorder: It is estimated that around 2% of individuals in the United States are diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder each year.
Social Anxiety Disorder: In any given year, around 7% of individuals in the United States suffer from social anxiety disorder. Females are more likely than males to suffer from social anxiety disorder, with 8% of women and 6.1 percent of men suffering from the condition. According to estimates, 12.1 percent of people in the United States will suffer from social anxiety disorder at some point in their life.
Panic Disorder: Around 2–3 percent of American adults suffer from some form of panic disorder each year.
Specific Phobias: Specific phobias are the most frequent type of anxiety disorder, affecting 9.1% of the population. It is expected that 12.5 percent of American adults will suffer from particular phobia symptoms at some time in their lives.
Depression: Depression is quite widespread in the United States since it is the second most frequent mental disease behind anxiety disorders. According to the World Health Organization, 300 million people worldwide suffer from depression.
The following are some of the most frequent kinds of depression:
Major Depressive Disorder: The most prevalent and severe kind of depression is major depressive disorder. According to estimates, 16.2 million individuals in the United States suffer at least one severe depressive episode every year.
Seasonal affective disorder: Each year, seasonal depression affects up to 5% of the US population. Approximately 80% of people who suffer from seasonal depression are female.
Postpartum Depression: According to the American Psychological Association, roughly 10–15 percent of women in the United States have a depressive episode within three months of giving birth, while around 600,000 women suffer from postpartum depression within a year following giving birth.
Bipolar Disorder: According to statistics, around 2.8 percent of Americans are diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is quite common in both genders and is ranked as the World Health Organization’s sixth biggest cause of disability. Bipolar disorder is predicted to affect 4.4 percent of American adults at some time in their lives.
Personality disorders are estimated to account for 10–13 percent of the overall population. Approximately 9% of all individuals in the United States have at least one personality disorder. Personality disorders are among the most frequent of all psychiatric diagnoses, accounting for 40–60 percent of all psychiatric patients.
Among the most frequent personality disorders are:
Borderline Personality Disorder: Borderline personality disorder affects around 4 million Americans. Women account for approximately 75% of those who have this diagnosis.
Paranoid Personality Disorder: Paranoid personality disorder affects 2–10% of those getting outpatient mental health therapy. In persons seeking treatment in mental inpatient hospitals, the prevalence is between 10 and 30 percent.
At least 30 million people in the United States suffer from an eating disorder. Compared to all other types of mental illness, eating disorders have the greatest fatality rate. Eating disorders are more common in women than in men, with around 20 million American women affected by an eating disorder at some time in their life. Eating disorders are extremely prevalent in the younger population, with about 95 percent of eating disorder cases occurring in those aged 12–25 years old. Eating disorders are the third most frequent chronic health problem among adolescent females.
There are several varieties of eating disorders. However, the following are some of the more common:
Binge Eating Disorder: The most frequent type of eating disorder in the United States is binge eating disorder. Binge eating disorder is three times as common in the United States than both anorexia and bulimia.
Bulimia Nervosa: Up to 19% of women in the college-age population have bulimia, while 1% of American adults suffer from the disorder.
Anorexia Nervosa: About 0.6 percent of American adults have anorexia nervosa at some point in their lives.
Schizophrenia and Other Psychotic Disorders
The prevalence of schizophrenia and other associated psychotic diseases is estimated to be between 0.25 and 0.64 percent of the population. Schizophrenia is one of the top 15 major causes of disability globally, with more than 2.4 million individuals in the United States suffering from the disorder.
Other Common Mental Health Disorders
Other prevalent mental health conditions, in addition to anxiety and depression, are attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (PTSD). These mental health disorders are designated as “common” because they affect more people than other mental health problems.
What Causes Mental Illness
Although the specific etiology of most mental illnesses is unclear, the majority of them arise due to a mix of biological, psychological, and environmental factors.
Some mental illnesses have been related to aberrant brain functioning due to chemical imbalances, traumas, or developmental defects. Mental illnesses can run in families, implying that genetics may also play a role.
Other underlying causes of mental illness may include:
- Prolonged substance abuse
- Poor diet and lifestyle
- Experiencing significant psychological trauma, such as emotional, physical, or sexual abuse
- Divorce or death
- Dysfunctional family life
- Inadequacy, low self-esteem, anxiety, anger, or loneliness
- Cultural or social expectations
Mental Illness Diagnosis
When diagnosing a mental health condition, doctors will often look for linked complications and perform the following tests:
- Physical examinations to rule out any physical issues that may be causing the symptoms
- Lab tests to assess bodily processes or to check for alcohol and drugs
- Psychological assessment of mental disease symptoms, thoughts, feelings, and behavior patterns
Co-occurring mental health and drug use disorders, or mental health and substance use problems that appear simultaneously, are extremely prevalent. People who have a drug or alcohol use disorder are almost twice as likely to have signs of a mental health issue. Similarly, those who have a mental health illness are twice as likely to have a drug abuse problem.
Treatment for Mental Illness
There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to mental health therapy. There are no miraculous cures, and each patient’s treatment must be adjusted to their specific circumstances. While mental health diseases are seldom curable, drugs and counseling can treat underlying causes, reduce symptoms, and impact an individual’s coping skills.
The three primary types of mental health condition therapy are as follows:
Talk therapy allows you to talk with a mental health expert about your feelings, ideas, life, and challenges. Many varieties of talk therapy, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), and Psychodynamic Therapy, are used to treat mental illness.
In most circumstances, therapists will serve as a sounding board for the patient and a neutral mediator between them and their difficulties. Therapy allows the individual to understand their illness better and build coping strategies.
Medication used to treat mental health conditions falls into four categories:
- Antidepressant medications (SSRIs)
- Anxiety-relieving drugs
- Mood stabilizers
The intensity and type of symptoms encountered must be considered while determining which prescription drug is suitable for treating the disorder. Other chronic health conditions may also have a role. Finding the correct medication is critical, and numerous medications are frequently tried until the optimal type and dose are determined.
If you or a loved one have a mental health disorder, or suspect that you are suffering from some form of mental illness, help is available. There are many highly specialized mental health clinics in America, with a variety of programs that can treat mental illness in an outpatient or inpatient setting, and that are able to treat dual diagnosis cases.
In some cases, lifelong treatment may be required. It is possible, with the right treatment, to live a fulfilled life while managing your mental health condition symptoms through therapy or medication, and usually a combination of both.