Mental health is a state of successful performance of mental function, resulting in productive activities, fulfilling relationships with other people, and the ability to adapt to change and to cope with adversity. Mental health is indispensable to personal well-being, family and interpersonal relationships, and contribution to community or society. It is easy to overlook the value of mental health until problems arise. Yet throughout life, mental health is the springboard of thinking and communication skills, learning, emotional growth, resilience, and self-esteem. These are the ingredients of each individual’s successful contribution to community and society. Americans are inundated with messages about success – in school, in a profession, in parenting, in relationships – without appreciating that successful performance rests on a foundation of mental health.
Mental disorders are common health conditions. An estimated 26.2 percent of Americans ages 18 and older – about one in four adults – suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. When applied to the 2004 U.S. Census residential population estimate for ages 18 and older, this figure translates to 57.7 million people. Even though mental disorders are widespread in the population, the main burden of illness is concentrated in a much smaller proportion – about 6 percent, or 1 in 17 – who suffer from a serious mental illness. In addition, mental disorders are the leading cause of disability in the U.S. for ages 15-44. Many people suffer from more than one mental disorder at a given time. Nearly half (45 percent) of those with any mental disorder meet criteria for 2 or more disorders.
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 associated with distress and/or impaired functioning. 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 (over activity) 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.
- Depressive disorders often co-occur with anxiety disorders and substance abuse.
- The median age of onset for mood disorders is 30 years.
- Approximately 20.9 million American adults, or about 9.5 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year, have a mood disorder.
- Major Depressive Disorders is more prevalent in women than in men.
- Dipolar disorder affects approximately 5.7 million American adults, or about 2.6 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year.
- More than 90 percent of people who kill themselves have a diagnosable mental disorder, most commonly a depressive disorder or a substance abuse disorder.
- Nearly three-quarters of those with an anxiety disorder will have their first episode by age 21.5.
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, ADHD, is one of the most common mental disorders that develop in children.
For more detailed ailment information, select from the links below: