Serious mental illness, also known as SMI, is an emotional, behavioral, or mental disorder that substantially limits a person’s major life activities. The burden of mental illnesses is highest among people with a disability due to SMI. According to the NIMH, in the U.S., one in five adults lives with a mental illness. NIMH’s Health Topics Page has information about many of these conditions. Read on for more details.
There are several warning signs of mental illness. The symptoms are varied depending on the specific disorder. Some are physical symptoms, such as headaches, back pain, or stomach aches. If these symptoms persist or do not improve on their own, it is time to seek help. If left untreated, mental illness can lead to significant problems. It is essential to seek professional help as soon as you notice any of these symptoms. There are effective treatments for both types of mental illnesses.
In the Americas, depression is the leading mental illness. Women are twice as likely as men to develop depression. In addition, approximately 10% to 15% of women suffer from depression during pregnancy. Dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia, contribute to the burden of noncommunicable diseases. The prevalence of dementia among the elderly ranges from 6.46% to 8.48%, with projections indicating that the number of people living with dementia will double every twenty years.
Often, mental illnesses run in families. This is known as a genetic susceptibility. Experts have suggested that many mental illnesses are caused by abnormal genes that interact with the environment differently in each individual. But inherited susceptibility does not necessarily mean that a person will develop an illness. As with physical illnesses, a person’s genes and environment play a role in determining how their body responds to mental illness. So, while there are some signs that a mental illness runs in families, having a family history does not automatically mean that a person will develop the illness.
Another way to improve access to mental health services is to deinstitutionalize psychiatric hospitals. While the government has attempted to reduce the size of federal psychiatric hospitals, there is no evidence to support this idea. In addition to deinstitutionalization, many advocates have argued for the continued use of pharmaceutical drugs in treatment of mental illnesses. Such drugs include lithium and antidepressants. However, these drugs are prescribed by a licensed physician who specializes in psychiatry.
Another indicator of mental health is enjoyment of life. This is often defined as the degree of happiness and enjoyment of most aspects of life. Similarly, resilience is defined as the ability to bounce back from adversity. People who are resilient tend to have positive attitudes about their ability to cope with challenges and seek social support when they need it. People with higher levels of resilience are more likely to thrive in the face of stressful situations, such as unemployment or financial hardship.
Individuals with chronic mental illnesses may opt for different treatment options, so it is essential to work with a doctor who can help determine the best course of action. Generally, patients seeking psychological treatment can benefit from cognitive behavior therapy, exposure therapy, and dialectical behavior therapy. Primary care physicians and psychologists can help people understand their causes and reduce their risk for self-harm and isolation. Further, they can benefit from the support of friends and family members.