What Is Mental Illness?
Mental illness in general are conditions which are a clinically significant psychological syndrome or pattern in a person that is associated with distress, disability of functioning or increased risk of death, pain, disability, or loss of freedom. This rather abstract definition is based on that contained in the DSMIV TR. In simpler terms, the answer can be described as conditions that cause problems in some combination of a person’s thinking abilities, emotional functioning, social functioning, or ability to sustain age appropriate independence.
Mental Illness diagnosis is generally broken into a variety of subtypes with multiple specific conditions that make up each subtype. The major subtypes include disorders usually first diagnosed in infancy or childhood, cognitive disorders with impairment of thinking abilities, mental disorders due to other medical conditions, substance usage disorders, schizophrenia and other psychotic disorders, mood disorders, anxiety disorders, somatic disorders of physical symptoms due to a psychological condition, factitious disorders in which symptoms are feigned or exaggerated to assume a sick role, dissociative disorders, sexual and gender identity disorders, eating disorders, sleep disorders, impulse control disorders, and personality disorders. There are also a group of associated conditions that my be the focus of treatment but do not constitute a diagnosed mental disorder.