What is a mental illness?

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What is the DSM?

The DSM-IV is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, published by the American Psychiatric Association. It is the handbook used by healthcare professionals in the United States and much of the world as an authoritative guide to diagnosis. The DSM contains descriptions, symptoms, and other criteria for diagnosing mental disorders.

Why do some people prefer to say 'neurodivergent'?

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What are the main categories of mental illness?

  • Anxiety Disorders: Anxiety disorders are the most commonly diagnosed mental illness. They include panic disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Generalized Anxiety Disorder and phobias. Nearly three out of four people with an anxiety disorder experience the first episode by age 21.
  • Depression: Depression is an illness that affects one’s thoughts, feelings, behavior, physical health, activity, and sleep patterns.
  • Eating Disorders: The three main types of eating disorders are anorexia nervosa (severely restricting food), bulimia nervosa (binging and purging), and binge-eating disorder.
  • Bipolar Disorder: Bipolar disorder, also known as manic-depression, includes episodes of a very high mood known as mania alternating with episodes of depression.
  • ADHD: ADHD is one of the most common mental disorders in children and adolescents, but it also affects about 4 percent of adults. It is characterized by inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity.
  • Schizophrenia: Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness where a person experiences hallucinations and delusions, emotional flatness and trouble with thinking. It affects about one percent of the population.
  • PTSD: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can occur after someone experiences a traumatic event that caused intense fear, helplessness, or horror. PTSD can result from personally experienced traumas (e.g., rape, war, natural disasters, abuse, serious accidents, and captivity) or from the witnessing or learning of a violent or tragic event.

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