For many people, the words “mental illness” are scary. Because they conjuring up images of conditions that require constant, careful care, the words intimidate. But while it’s true that mental illnesses can lead to severe consequences, they also are a regular part of everyday life. You may be surprised to find that the people nearest to you — friends, family, neighbors, classmates, co-workers — suffer from the most common mental health disorders.
You ought to think of mental illness as you would any other disease or condition affecting organs in the body. The brain can get sick, just like the lungs, the stomach, or the kidneys. But because mental illness presents in our behavior, it may be viewed differently.
For people with mental illness, knowledge is crucial. So let’s look at common mental health disorders and how you or a loved one can get help.
How Widespread is Mental Illness?
About one in five adults suffers from a diagnosable, sometimes severe, form of mental illness, according to the 2018 Survey on Drug Use and Health. That number has been creeping up gradually over the last decade.
Women suffer at a much higher rate than men, according to the survey. The younger you are, the more likely you are to experience symptoms.
Worldwide, mental health disorders are one of the top causes of disability, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. As you can see, you are not alone. Common mental health disorders are a significant problem around the globe.
Common Mental Health Disorders
What are the most common mental health disorders, and how are they defined? In general, according to the World Health Organization, mental illnesses are characterized by “abnormal thoughts, perceptions, emotions,” and other behaviors and relationships.
This includes that you might not initially think of as mental illness. The most commonly discussed conditions are depression and anxiety, but others include:
- Bipolar disorder
- Schizophrenia and other psychoses, involving hallucinations and delusions
- Developmental disorders such as autism
- Eating disorders, such as anorexia or bulimia
Combating the Stigma around Common Mental Health Disorders
Social stigma can be a significant obstacle to effective treatment. For example, it’s not helpful for you to tell someone who is depressed; they should “cheer up.”
As New York psychologist Todd Essig notes in an essay in Forbes, stigma creates a sense of shame or guilt — a disincentive for someone to want to seek help. The stigma can work against an individual in a variety of ways when he or she seeks assistance.
Don’t let societal stigma around common mental health disorders shape your circumstance. If you think you’re experiencing symptoms, consult with a medical professional today.
Lift the Fog at South Tampa Psychiatry
South Tampa Psychiatry and our trained staff of multi-disciplinary clinical experts offer treatment programs for a range of mental health conditions, including in our:
We also offer trauma therapy and mental health and addiction services, specifically for professionals. Even the strongest and the bravest face challenges from common mental health disorders. The important thing to realize is you do not have to suffer alone. Our approach is one of compassion as we work together to create the most effective treatment plan. So contact us today at 866.273.5017 for an appointment.