Mental illnesses are diseases or conditions that affect how you think, feel, act, or relate to other people or to your surroundings. They are very common. Many people have had one or know someone who has.
Symptoms can range from mild to severe. They can also vary from person to person. In many cases, it makes daily life hard to handle. But when an expert diagnoses you and helps you get treatment, you can often get your life back on track.
Post-traumatic stress disorder -- or PTSD -- is a condition in which one's life has been disrupted by an actual or perceived event that was life-threatening or violent or posed a risk for serious injury.
Someone who has experienced severe trauma -- war, combat, natural disaster, physical or sexual abuse -- or witnessed violence, such as murder or physical abuse, may display one or more of these symptoms:
Reliving the event with repeated flashbacks or recurring...
Doctors don’t know the exact cause of most mental illnesses. A combination of things, including your genes, biology, and your life experiences, seem to be involved.
Many mental illnesses run in families. But that doesn’t mean you will have one if your mother or father did.
Some conditions involve circuits in your brain that are used in thinking, mood, and behavior. For instance, you may have too much, or not enough, activity of certain brain chemicals called “neurotransmitters” within those circuits. Brain injuries are also linked to some mental conditions.
Some mental illnesses may be triggered or worsened by psychological trauma that happens when you’re a child or teenager, such as:
Severe emotional, physical, or sexual abuse
A major loss, such as the death of a parent, early in life
Major sources of stress, such as a death or divorce, problems in family relationships, job loss, school, and substance abuse, can trigger or aggravate some mental disorders in some people. But not everyone who goes through those things develops a mental illness.
It’s normal to have some grief, anger, and other emotions when you have a major setback in life. A mental illness is different from that.
There are many different mental illnesses, and their symptoms vary. Some common symptoms include:
Problems with thinking (like being confused, suspicious, or unusually angry or sad)