Depression is a Mental Disorder, not a Disease
There are plausible arguments for the non-existence of mental illness. But there are still people who declare themselves to have a mental illness. After all, being sick mentally has no physical symptoms; it’s not like a kidney stone or an inflamed appendix. One can only hope it was this simple.
Yet depression is a progressive and debilitating disorder. It is like having a ‘bruised brain’ that refuses to heal. There is an substantial list of psychological disorders. Technically depression is a mood disorder that has a series of symptoms. These symptoms are the evidence that something is definitely wrong.
- Depressed mood (such as feelings of sadness or emptiness).
- Reduced interest in activities that used to be enjoyed.
- Change in appetite or weight increase/decrease.
- Sleep disturbances (either not being able to sleep well or sleeping too much).
- Feeling agitated or slowed down.
- Fatigue or loss of energy.
- Feeling worthless or excessive guilt.
- Difficulty thinking, concentrating or troubles making decisions.
- Suicidal thoughts or intentions.
The above list is a summary of something called the DSM-IV which doctors use to diagnose the mental disorder of depression. Having five or six of these may indicate a problem. Spinning off this, you will discover some other disorders, like:
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
- Panic disorder
- OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder)
- Psychosis and paranoia
- PTSD (post traumatic stress syndrome)
- Specific Phobias (fears of something)
- SAD (social anxiety disorder)
- Eating disorders (bulimia, anorexia)
Even though mental illness is widespread in the population, the main burden of illness is concentrated in a much smaller proportion-about 6 percent, or 1 in 17 Americans-who live with a serious mental illness. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that one in four adults–approximately 57.7 million Americans–experience a mental health disorder in a given year.
Unfortunately, there is a great deal of misunderstanding and stigma for those who have these disorders. I suppose it is akin to having VD (venereal disease) or AIDS. It seems that our culture is pretty quick at labeling people as deviant or undesirable.
I hope this post helps. I can see a 100 holes in it, and alas, it is a meager attempt. But perhaps it will be of some value. Both NAMI.org, Psychcentral.com, and WebMD.com all have excellent info on Mental Illness.
~Mental Illness in America, 2016
Mental disorders are common in the United States and internationally. 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.1
When applied to the 2004 U.S. Census residential population estimate for ages 18 and older, this figure translates to 57.7 million people.2 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.1
In addition, mental disorders are the leading cause of disability in the U.S. and Canada.3 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, with severity strongly related to comorbidity.1
In the U.S., mental disorders are diagnosed based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition (DSM-V).4
Mood disorders include major depressive disorder, dysthymic disorder, and bipolar disorder.
- 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.1,2
- The median age of onset for mood disorders is 30 years.5
- Depressive disorders often co-occur with anxiety disorders and substance abuse.5
- Major Depressive Disorder is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. for ages 15-44.3
- Major depressive disorder affects approximately 14.8 million American adults, or about 6.7 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year.1, 2
- While major depressive disorder can develop at any age, the median age at onset is 32.5
- Major depressive disorder is more prevalent in women than in men.6
- Symptoms of dysthymic disorder (chronic, mild depression) must persist for at least two years in adults (one year in children) to meet criteria for the diagnosis. Dysthymic disorder affects approximately 1.5 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year.1, This figure translates to about 3.3 million American adults.2
- The median age of onset of dysthymic disorder is 31.1
- Bipolar 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.1, 2
- The median age of onset for bipolar disorders is 25 years.5
- In 2006, 33,300 (approximately 11 per 100,000) people died by suicide in the U.S.7
- More than 90 percent of people who kill themselves have a diagnosable mental disorder, most commonly a depressive disorder or a substance abuse disorder.8
- The highest suicide rates in the U.S. are found in white men over age 85.9
- Four times as many men as women die by suicide9; however, women attempt suicide two to three times as often as men.10
- Approximately 2.4 million American adults, or about 1.1 percent of the population age 18 and older in a given year,11, 2 have schizophrenia.
- Schizophrenia affects men and women with equal frequency.12
- Schizophrenia often first appears in men in their late teens or early twenties. In contrast, women are generally affected in their twenties or early thirties.12
Anxiety disorders include panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and phobias (social phobia, agoraphobia, and specific phobia).
- Approximately 40 million American adults ages 18 and older, or about 18.1 percent of people in this age group in a given year, have an anxiety disorder.1,2
- Anxiety disorders frequently co-occur with depressive disorders or substance abuse.1
- Most people with one anxiety disorder also have another anxiety disorder. Nearly three-quarters of those with an anxiety disorder will have their first episode by age 21.5 5
- Approximately 6 million American adults ages 18 and older, or about 2.7 percent of people in this age group in a given year, have panic disorder.1, 2
- Panic disorder typically develops in early adulthood (median age of onset is 24), but the age of onset extends throughout adulthood.5
- About one in three people with panic disorder develops agoraphobia, a condition in which the individual becomes afraid of being in any place or situation where escape might be difficult or help unavailable in the event of a panic attack.12
- Approximately 2.2 million American adults age 18 and older, or about 1.0 percent of people in this age group in a given year, have OCD.1, 2
- The first symptoms of OCD often begin during childhood or adolescence, however, the median age of onset is 19.5
- Approximately 7.7 million American adults age 18 and older, or about 3.5 percent of people in this age group in a given year, have PTSD.1, 2
- PTSD can develop at any age, including childhood, but research shows that the median age of onset is 23 years.5
- About 19 percent of Vietnam veterans experienced PTSD at some point after the war.13 The disorder also frequently occurs after violent personal assaults such as rape, mugging, or domestic violence; terrorism; natural or human-caused disasters; and accidents.
- Approximately 6.8 million American adults, or about 3.1 percent of people age 18 and over, have GAD in a given year.1, 2
- GAD can begin across the life cycle, though the median age of onset is 31 years old.5
To finish reading this article, you will need to go to its source at:
Mental illness is a serious medical condition that often disrupts a person’s thinking, feeling, ability to relate to others and daily functioning. Mental illness affects an estimated one in four American families and can have a profound effect on the individual, their family and the community.
Many people affected by mental illness do not know where to turn for information, support, help and hope. NAMI is a lifesaver for tens of thousands of individuals and families, virtually and in local communities across the country. Through clear information resources, free education and support group programs, advocacy initiatives, awareness events and personal connections with volunteer leaders in every state, NAMI works every day to save every life.