THE EXPERIENCE OF MENTAL ILLNESS

ATTITUDES TOWARD MENTAL ILLNESS

SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC COSTS

DEFINING MENTAL ILLNESS

PREVALENCE - United States and Worldwide

Among Children and Adolescents
Among the Elderly
Among the Poor and Among Men and Women
Changing Rates of Mental Illness

KINDS OF MENTAL ILLNESSES

Anxiety Disorders and Mood Disorders
Schizophrenia and Other Psychotic Disorders
Personality and Cognitive Disorders
Dissociative, Somatoform and Factitious Disorders
Substance-Related, Eating and Impulse-Control Disorders

CAUSES OF MENTAL ILLNESS

Biological Perspective
Psychodynamic, Humanistic and Existential Perspectives
Behavioral, Cognitive and Sociocultural Perspective

DIAGNOSIS

TREATMENT

Drug Therapy
Individual Psychotherapy
Group and Family Therapies
Electroconvulsive Therapy and Psychosurgery
Treatment Settings
Treatment in Non-Western Countries


HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVES OF MENTAL ILLNESS



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Mental Illness





KINDS OF MENTAL ILLNESSES

A number of mental illnesses—such as depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder—occur worldwide. Others seem to occur only in particular cultures. For example, eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa (compulsive dieting associated with unrealistic fears of fatness), occur mostly among girls and women in Europe, North America, and Westernized areas of Asia, whose cultures view thinness as an essential component of female beauty. In Latin America, people who experience overwhelming fright after a dangerous or traumatic event are said to have susto (fright), an illness in which their soul has been frightened away. In some societies of West Africa and elsewhere, brain fag describes individuals (usually students) who experience difficulties in concentrating and thinking, as well as physical symptoms of pain and fatigue. (KINDS MENTAL ILLNESSES)

Most mental health professionals in the United States use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders(DSM), a reference book published by the American Psychiatric Association, as a guide to the different kinds of mental illnesses. The fourth edition, known as DSM-IV, describes more than 300 mental disorders, behavioral disorders, addictive disorders, and other psychological problems and groups them into broad categories. This article describes some of the major categories, including anxiety disorders, mood disorders, schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, personality disorders, cognitive disorders, dissociative disorders, somatoform disorders, factitious disorders, substance-related disorders, eating disorders, and impulse-control disorders. Mental health professionals in many other parts of the world use a different classification system, the International Classification of Diseases (ICD), published by the World Health Organization. (KINDS MENTAL ILLNESSES)

The DSM and ICD are both categorical systems of classification, in which each mental illness is defined by its own unique set of symptoms and characteristics. In theory, each disorder should possess diagnostic criteria that are independent of one another, just as tuberculosis and lung cancer are discrete diseases. Yet symptoms of many mental disorders overlap, and many people—such as those who experience both depression and severe anxiety—show symptoms of more than one disorder at the same time. For these reasons, some mental health professionals advocate a dimensional system of classification. In contrast to the categorical approach, which sees mental disorders as qualitatively distinct from normal behavior, a dimensional system views behavior as falling along a continuum of normality, with some behaviors considered more abnormal than others. In a dimensional system, diagnoses do not describe discrete diseases but rather portray the relative importance of an array of symptoms. (KINDS MENTAL ILLNESSES)

Definitions and classifications of mental illnesses change as research improves understanding of them. For example, DSM-IV allows a diagnosis of schizophrenia only when characteristic symptoms have lasted at least one month, whereas the previous edition of DSM required a duration of only one week. (KINDS MENTAL ILLNESSES)

KINDS OF MENTAL ILLNESSES