10 Most Diagnosed Mental Disorders
By Meredith Bower
If you had to guess, what illness would you say is more prevalent in developed countries -- cancer or maybe heart disease? Nope. Believe it or not, it's mental illness. Like cancer and heart disease, mental illness is a medical condition, and those who have mental disorders struggle to cope with everyday life because of their altered moods, thinking or behavior. Fortunately, treatment for mental illness or mental disorders can lead to recovery; and although treatment may include medication, it ideally also includes psychosocial therapies and support. Mental disorders do not discriminate by age, race or ethnicity, and they often strike when a person is in the prime of his or her life. The spectrum of disorders runs from mild to severe and, like any medical condition, many factors can trigger illness [source: Herrman, Saxena, Moodie]. In recent years, greater attention has been paid to mental disorders because of the burden they place on the public health system and their relationship to high-risk behaviors such as alcohol, tobacco and substance abuse. Mental disorders are recognized as a global problem, but tracking who suffers from different mental illnesses varies around the world. The United States uses several systems to monitor symptoms and classify illness. So it's hard to say precisely which disorders are diagnosed most, but what's important is that efforts are under way to collect data that will help provide better understanding and care for those who have mental illness [source: Freeman]. Read on so you can learn more about 10 of the most common mental illnesses.
People with mental disorders may feel all alone, but professionals diagnose a surprising number of men, women and children with mental disorders each year in the U.S. Image Credit: ©iStockphoto/Nikada 10. Autism Spectrum Disorders
When Quentin was 12 months old, his parents noticed that he didn't make eye contact and seemed to reach developmental milestones later than their older child had. He was not speaking by age two and his nonverbal communication skills lagged behind those of his peers. An otherwise healthy child, Quentin's mannerisms, such as rocking himself and stroking toys instead of playing with them, had become more pronounced. He was evaluated and diagnosed with autistic disorder, one of three general disorders on the autism spectrum, the other two being Asperger syndrome and atypical autism (pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified). Genes, other medical conditions and environment may place certain children at risk for autism spectrum disorders, which are more common among boys than girls. Autism spectrum disorder starts when children are very young and is difficult to diagnose because there is no medical or blood test to confirm it. Similarly, there is no cure. However, early detection and intervention through behavioral and educational therapy that is based on a child's individual challenges can lead to a functional life [source: CDC]. Focused psychotherapy helped Quentin learn proper social interaction and he successfully completed high school. With continued support from his family and therapists, his family anticipates he will be able to live as an independent adult [source: Volkmar]. What I Know About Mental Illness I Learned at the Movies
Sometimes our only knowledge of mental disorders comes from what we see in the movies. Here are some movies and the mental illnesses they portray: 9. Schizophrenia
Imagine the torment of hearing voices that other people don't hear or believing that people are invading your thoughts and even plotting to harm you. For a person with schizophrenia, these uncontrollable experiences can be disabling. Despite being one of four children, Lyonel was a loner. As a teen, he expressed interest in magic and the occult and later studied the Bible. At age 24, he developed a crush on a girl named Mary, but after she...
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