National Alliance on Mental Illness
page printed from NAMI Howard County

Mental illnesses are medical conditions that disrupt a person's thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning.  Just as diabetes is a disorder of the pancreas, mental illnesses are medical conditions that often result in a diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of life.

 Mental illness can affect persons of any age, race, religion, or socioeconomic status.  The World Health Organization has reported that four of the 10 leading causes of disability in the United States and other developed countries are mental illnesses.  In addition, one in five American adults lives with mental illness.  These illnesses greatly affect family members and society in general.  Mental illness is not the result of personal weakness, lack of character or poor upbringing.  Mental illness often co-occurs with substance abuse.  This can complicate getting a good treatment plan, so substance abuse needs to be addressed in  a comprehensive and coordinated way if it is an issue.

 Most importantly, mental illness is treatable.  Most people diagnosed with serious mental illness can experience relief from their symptoms by actively participating in an individual treatment plan.  Getting a good psychiatric and medical evaluation is essential to understanding what treatments and services may help.  Some medical problems can present the same symptoms as mental illness and require different treatments, so it is important to get a proper diagnosis.  In addition to medication treatment, interpersonal therapy, peer support groups and supported employment can also be components of a treatment plan and assist with recovery.

 For more information about a specific mental illness, please click on the links below.

Related Files

Anorexia (PDF File)
Anxiety Disorders (PDF File)
Anosognosia (PDF File)
Aspergers (PDF File)
Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) (PDF File)
Binge Eating Disorder (PDF File)
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) (PDF File)
Bulimia (PDF File)
Conduct Disorder (PDF File)
Depression (PDF File)
Depression in Children and Adolescents (PDF File)
Dissociative Disorders (PDF File)
Dissociative Identity Disorder (PDF File)
Dual Diagnosis (PDF File)
Eating Disorder NOS (PDF File)
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (PDF File)
Panic Disorder (PDF File)
Post Partum Depression (PDF File)
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (PDF File)
Schizophrenia (PDF File)
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) (PDF File)
Self Injury (PDF File)
Suicide (PDF File)
Traumatic Brain Injury (PDF File)
Tourettes Syndrome (PDF File)
Tardivedyskinesia (PDF File)