According to Mental Health: A Report of the Surgeon General:
“Mental illness is the term that refers collectively to all diagnosable mental disorders. Mental disorders are health conditions that are characterized by alterations in thinking, mood, or behavior (or some combination thereof) associated with distress and/or impaired functioning. Alzheimer’s disease exemplifies a mental disorder largely marked by alterations in thinking (especially forgetting). Depression exemplifies a mental disorder largely marked by alterations in mood. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder exemplifies a mental disorder largely marked by alterations in behavior (overactivity) and/or thinking (inability to concentrate). Alterations in thinking, mood, or behavior contribute to a host of problems—patient distress, impaired functioning, or heightened risk of death, pain, disability, or loss of freedom.”
Anxiety disorders are the most common and treatable mental health disorders affecting more than 19 million people a year. There is a difference between everyday anxiety and anxiety disorders. People with anxiety disorders feel significant tension when there is no real danger and take extreme action to avoid the source of their anxiety. They know their reactions are not always logical but cannot control them. As with all mental health disorders, they can interfere with everyday functioning in life and work roles.Clinical
Bipolar Disorder, also known as manic depression, is a mental health disorder involving extreme mood swings. A person's mood can swing from mania, an excessive high, to a deep depression, with periods of normal mood in between. The length of each mood can vary from days to months. More than 2.5 million Americans have Bipolar Disorder. Studies show that 80-90% of those with bipolar disorder have relatives with some form of depression. Bipolar disorder can be triggered by genetic vulnerability and environmental factors.
Clinical depression is a serious medical illness affecting millions of Americans. Each year, more than 11 million people suffer from clinical depression, which is as common as it is misunderstood. National Institute of Mental Health studies have found that more than twice as many women than men suffer from clinical depression. One in four women and one in 10 men will suffer one or more episodes of clinical depression during their lifetimes. Women, however, are more likely to admit their symptoms and seek treatment.
Schizophrenia affects 2.5 million people in the United States and knows no racial, cultural or economic boundaries. It is a mental health disorder that affects the way a person thinks, feels and acts. The person may have trouble concentrating or organizing thoughts, expresses inappropriate emotions or is unable to express emotions at all.
A person who has both an alcohol or drug problem and an emotional/psychiatric problem is said to have a co-occurring disorder. To recover fully, the person needs treatment and support that address both.