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Mental illness, also known as a mental disorder, is a broad range of mental conditions. It affects your mood, thinking, behavior, and thoughts. Depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, eating disorders, addictive behaviors, and other mental illnesses are just a few examples.

There are many mental health problems that people may experience. When you have constant stress-related symptoms and your ability to function, a mental health issue can turn into a serious mental illness.

A mental illness can make life difficult and cause you to have problems in your personal, professional, and social relationships. Most symptoms can be managed using medication and talk therapy (psychotherapy).

The Symptoms

Many signs and symptoms can be associated with mental illness. This depends on the disorder, your circumstances, and other factors. Mental illness symptoms may affect your emotions, thoughts, and behaviors.

Here are some examples:

  • Feeling down or sad
  • Reduced focus and confusion
  • Excessive worries or fears, or extreme feelings of guilt
  • Extreme mood changes, including highs or lows
  • Withdrawal from friends or activities
  • Sleeping problems, energy loss, and significant tiredness are all signs of a problem.
  • Detachment (delusions), paranoia, or hallucinations
  • Inability to manage stress and daily problems
  • Have trouble understanding and relating to people and situations?
  • Problems with drinking or drug abuse
  • Major changes in eating habits
  • Sex drives changes
  • Excessive anger and hostility
  • Suicidal thinking

Sometimes symptoms of mental disorders manifest as physical pains such as back or stomach pains.


Your treatment will depend on what type of mental disorder you have, how severe it is, and what works for you. Most cases require a combination treatment.

Treatment by your primary physician may suffice if you have a mild mental disorder with well-controlled symptoms. Sometimes, however, it is best to work together to address your psychiatric as well as medical and social needs. This is especially important when you have a severe mental illness, like schizophrenia.

  • Your treatment staff
  • Your treatment team might include the following:
  • Primary care or family doctor
  • Nurse practitioner
  • Physician assistant
  • A Psychiatrist (a medical doctor who diagnoses or treats mental illnesses)
  • Psychotherapists are licensed, counselors or psychologists.
  • Pharmacist
  • Social worker
  • Families
  • Medications

Although psychiatric medicines don’t cure mental illnesses, they can improve symptoms. Psychiatric medications may also make psychotherapy more effective. The best medication for you will depend on what your body can do with the medication.


Psychotherapy (also known as talk therapy) involves talking to a mental health professional about your condition and any related issues. You learn about your mental health and your emotions. With the insight and knowledge gained, you can develop stress management and coping skills.

There are many different types of mental health therapies. Each type has its approach to mental well-being. Sometimes, psychotherapy can be completed in a few weeks, but in certain cases, it may take longer. It can be performed one-on-1 or in a group setting with family members.

When selecting a therapist to work with, it is important that you feel at ease and confident in their ability to listen to what you have. It’s also important to ensure that your therapist is familiar with the personal journeys that have shaped you and how you live today.

Brain Stimulation

Sometimes, brain stimulation treatments can be used to treat depression or other mental health conditions. They are used in situations where medication and psychotherapy have failed.

It is important to understand all risks and benefits associated with any treatment.

Hospital, Residential Treatment Programs

Sometimes mental illness is so severe that you may need to be admitted to a psychiatric facility. This is recommended when you are unable to care for yourself or are in immediate danger of harming someone else.

The options include inpatient care that is available 24 hours a day, partial or whole-day hospitalizations or residential treatment which provides temporary support and housing. One option is intensive outpatient treatment.

Substance Misuse Treatment

Problems with substance abuse often occur alongside mental illness. It often interferes with treatment and makes mental illness worse. If you cannot stop using drugs or alcohol by yourself, you will need treatment. Talk to your doctor about treatment options.