Mental Health and Mental Illness

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Mental health and mental illness facts

  • Mental health is more than just being free of a mental illness. It is more of an optimal level of thinking, feeling, and relating to others.
  • Mentally healthy individuals tend to have better medical health, productivity, and social relationships.
  • Mental illness refers to all of the diagnosable mental disorders and is characterized by abnormalities in thinking, feelings, or behaviors.
  • Some of the most common types of mental illness include anxiety, depressive, behavioral, and substance-abuse disorders.
  • There is no single cause for mental illness. Rather, it is the result of a complex group of genetic, psychological, and environmental factors.
  • While everyone experiences sadness, anxiety, irritability, and moodiness at times, moods, thoughts, behaviors, or use of substances that interfere with a person's ability to function well physically, socially, at work, school, or home are characteristics of mental illness.
  • There is no one test that definitively indicates whether someone has a mental illness. Therefore, health-care practitioners diagnose a mental disorder by gathering comprehensive medical, family, and mental-health information.
  • Talk therapy (psychotherapy) is usually considered the first line of care in helping a person with a mental illness. It is an important part of helping individuals with a mental disorder achieve the highest level of functioning possible.
  • Psychotherapies that have been found to be effective in treating many mental disorders include family focused therapy, psycho-education, cognitive therapy, interpersonal therapy, and social rhythm therapy.
  • Medications may play an important role in the treatment of a mental illness, particularly when the symptoms are severe or do not adequately respond to psychotherapy.
  • A variety of factors can contribute to the prevention of mental-health disorders.
  • Individuals with mental illness are at risk for a variety of challenges, but these risks can be greatly reduced with treatment, particularly when it is timely.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/17/2014