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Mental illness, or mental disorder, is a wide range of the medical health conditions that typically affect patients mood, thinking, behavior and ability to live a normal daily life. The understanding of mental health conditions has significantly changed over the ages and across the cultures. What was once considered to be normal or voluntary behavior of an individual, now may be recognized as a symptom of a more serious mental disorder.

On the other hand, some patterns of human behavior that were once considered to be abnormal, are nowadays understood from a completely different perspective. However, standard guideline criteria more mental illnesses are widely accepted although there are a lot of variations in the definition and classification of various mental disorders.

Causes of mental disorders

Mental disorders may be caused by numerous genetic and environmental factors. It is estimated that approximately one in three people in most countries report sufficient criteria for at least one mental disorder at some point in their life. In the United States, approximately 46% of population qualifies for a mental disorder at some point.

People with family history of mental illnesses may be at a higher risk of developing it itself. Stressful life situations are most common triggers for these people. Additionally, traumatic brain injuries of fetal exposure to chemicals and viruses may biologically predetermine an individual for mental illnesses. Other biological factors include hormonal imbalances that may severely affect mental health.

Everyday stress and traumatic emotional experiences may also trigger mental illness in sensitive people. Situations such as the loss of a loved one, sexual or physical abuse or financial problems, may promote the negative patterns of thinking and lead the patient deep into the depression or mental illness.

Facts about mental disorders

To understand mental illness completely one should learn that this type of disorder cannot be cured trough “will power”. Mental disorder isn’t something that individual voluntarily develops or contributes to developing. It has nothing to do with person’s character or intelligence. It is a disease that demands a careful treatment and a lot of understanding from the society.

Serious mental illness affects about 6% of all Americans, and as much as 10% of children and teenagers in the United States have some kind of severe emotional disorder. It is the leading cause of disability in the modern world, that usually strikes individuals at the most important point in the development. Mental illness affects both young and old, but adolescents are at somewhat higher risk.

There are a lot of successful treatments available and approximately 70-90% of treated patients report significant health improvement. Untreated, mental illness often ends up in disability, substance abuse, suicide and wasted lives.

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