Definition of Mental Illness

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Mental illness refers to a wide range of mental health conditions-disorders that affect your mood, thinking and behavior("Mental Illness" 5). Examples of mental illness include depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders and addictive behaviors ("Mental Illness" 5). Mental illnesses consist of the following emotional symptoms: depression, confusion, exessive fears and worries, withdrawl from friends and activities, sleeping problems, delusions and hallucinations, alcohol and drug abuse, changes in eating habits, excessive anger, and suicidal thinking ("Mental Illness" 6). Physical symptoms of mental illnesses include: fatigue, back and chest pain, digestive problems, dry mouth, headache, sweating, weight gain or loss, and rapid heart rate ("Mental Illness" 6). The cause of mental illness is unknown, however, it is becoming clear through research that many of these conditions are caused by a combination of genetic, biological, pyschological, and enviromental factors ("Mental Health" 2). One thing is for sure, mental illness is not a result of personal weakness or a character defect, and recovery from a mental illness is not simply a matter of will and self-discipline ("Mental Health" 2). Unfortunatley, most mentall illnesses are caused by a combination of factors and cannot be prevented ("Mental Health" 2). Mental illnesses are very common ("Mental Health" 2). In fact, they are more common than cancer, diabetes, or heart disease ("Mental Health" 2). In most cases, mental illnesses can be managed with a combination of medications and counseling (pyschotherapy) ("Mental Illness" 5). Another form of treatment is an insane asylum or mental hospital. An insane asylum is a hospital for the mentally incompetent or unbalanced person (Insane Asylum 1).
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