Understanding Mental Illness

Causes of Mental Illness, Major Signs of Mental Illness, Mental Illnesses, and Their Types

7/23/20238 min read

Understanding Mental Illness

Everybody experiences feelings of depression or melancholy throughout life. We've all seen movies where the villain is criminally insane and on a rampage because of a mental disease. We occasionally joke about somebody being crazy or broken, even though we know we shouldn't. How familiar are we with the symptoms of mental illness, although we have all been exposed to it to some extent? We have a lot of erroneous presumptions in our minds.

Not every disorder of the brain qualifies as a mental illness. For instance, neurological diseases rather than mental illnesses include conditions affecting the brain, such as epilepsy, Parkinson's disease, and multiple sclerosis.

It's remarkable how the distinctions between mental illnesses and other neurological or brain issues are no longer as apparent. Researchers are learning more about how the brain's chemistry, structure, and function are altered in persons with mental diseases and that these changes have a biological basis.

Even if you or a family member hasn’t experienced mental illness firsthand, you could know someone who has. At least one in four people are believed to be affected by mental illness, whether directly or indirectly. To understand how widespread mental illness's effects are in society, look at the statistics below.

  • 5% of adults have a severe mental problem that impairs their ability to function in society; 3% of people currently encounter several mental diseases; and 4% have one or more mental disorders. These severe and enduring mental illnesses include bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, severe depression, panic disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

  • 20% of doctor visits are due to anxiety problems like panic attacks.

  • Of the top ten conditions that lead to disability, major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder are four.

  • In the US, it is estimated that one in five adults over 18—or around 20% of the population—has a diagnosable mental illness each year.

There is no doubt that a mental problem exists when the term "mental illness" is used. But does mental illness have a physical cause, or is it only psychological? According to the growing corpus of information about mental illnesses and their causes, people with mental disorders have disrupted basic brain systems that drive function.

Despite being unable to explain the causes of mental illnesses, scientists have found risk factors. Environmental, genetic, or social factors can all be considered here. These variables most likely interact to influence whether a person experiences mental illness.

Mental illness can impact everyone, regardless of their age, gender, place of residence, means of support, social standing, race or ethnicity, religion or spirituality, sexual orientation, family history, or other characteristics of cultural identity. Three-fourths of instances begin at age 24, even though mental illness can affect anyone at any age.

Multiple mental illnesses are frequently present at once in many people. For instance, depressive illnesses frequently coexist with anxiety disorders and substance abuse. Many people experience occasional mental health issues. A mental health issue turns into a mental disorder, though, when symptoms are persistent. Impede your ability to perform and cause ongoing tension.

A mental illness may make life miserable for you daily, causing problems at work, school, and relationships. It is frequently possible to manage symptoms using medication and talk therapy.

Causes of Mental Illness:

A variety of factors cause most mental diseases. They are instead brought on by a variety of circumstances or risk factors. As your risk factors rise, so does your likelihood of acquiring a mental disorder. Sometimes it takes a long time to recover from mental illnesses. It occasionally doesn't surface until after a tense event has taken place.

Here Are Just A Few Of The Numerous Risk Factors And Triggers:


Because mental illnesses often run in families, people who have a family member who has one may be slightly more likely to get one themselves. Within families, susceptibility can be passed down through genes. Instead of simply one or a few genes, anomalies produce a variety of mental diseases in several genes. Experts claim that every person's interaction of these genes with the environment is distinct (even identical twins). As a result, while some people may inherit a tendency to develop a mental illness, others may not. For a person with inherited sensitivity to it to develop a mental disease, numerous genes must interact with other factors, such as stress, abuse, or a traumatic experience.

Brain Chemistry:

A natural chemical imbalance influences mental illness in the body and brain. The term "chemical imbalances" is commonly used for addiction and mental health. Understanding this term's definition is essential for comprehending a variety of psychiatric diseases. Chemical imbalances happen when the brain produces too many or too few neurotransmitters. These chemical compounds, known as neurotransmitters, let nerve cells communicate with one another. Mental health issues, including anxiety, sadness, and addiction, can be influenced by the brain's chemical balance. There are many different aspects of mental illnesses besides chemical problems. However, drug and alcohol use can also be important since they affect neurotransmitters.

Physical Environmental Elements:

Physical environmental factors can affect a person's biology or neurochemistry, increasing their likelihood of developing a problem. These factors include those recognized to be mental disease risk factors. An individual's body (and brain) won't function at its best, for example, if they don't have access to health-related resources like whole, nutrient-rich diets and prefer to eat more processed and refined foods. Additionally, if they come into a severe stressor, they might need more resources to handle it healthily. Along with inadequate nutrition, the following physical environmental factors can also be present:

Smoking, sleep deprivation, substance abuse, early poison exposure, terrible weather (such as excessive rain or snow), risky workplace situations, and lack of sleep are just a few examples.

Environmental and Social Factors:

Social and environmental factors, including socioeconomic, racial and ethnic, and interpersonal factors, may impact a person's ability to handle stress. One excellent example needs a robust social support network. Let's say someone experiences a divorce or loses their job. According to experts with doctoral degrees in marriage and family counseling, the ability of friends and family members to handle stress during this time depends on their support.

Trauma in Childhood:

Even if you are not currently experiencing a difficult circumstance, childhood events may impact you as an adult. When the brain is most vulnerable, exposure to trauma throughout childhood can damage brain development. Over 45,000 Americans are believed to be victims of child abuse, which occurs more frequently than is reported. Children's abuse was a problem in 2019 and 2020. Adversity in childhood can take the form of neglect, sexual, emotional, and physical abuse, as well as the sudden loss of a parent or other caregiver.

Tense Situations:

Losing a loved one is one of the many inescapable unpleasant situations in life. These circumstances may be highly stressful and lead to the development of mental health disorders. Anger or aggression, feeling out of control, insomnia, exhaustion or fatigue, sadness or tears, memory or concentration problems, or other symptoms may be signs of stress' psychological effects.

Unhealthy Behaviors:

Bad habits can rob you of all joy in your life. You're probably aware of how bad habits can harm your health. You will gain weight, have higher cholesterol, and possibly get heart disease if you eat pizza every night and cheesy sausage eggs every morning. Your physical and emotional health can both be negatively impacted by some harmful activities. For instance, these behaviors may increase your likelihood of experiencing melancholy or increase your intense worry or stress.

Major signs of Mental Illness

The Key Indicators Of Mental Disease Are As Follows:

Elevated Sensitivity:

Sensitivity to touch, smells, sounds, and other stimuli increases; over stimulating situations are avoided.

Withdrawn or quiet:

A decline in interest in previously cherished hobbies and recent social withdrawal. A person withdrawing from life could indicate a mental health issue, especially if this is a considerable change. If they isolate themselves frequently, a friend or loved, one may have depression, bipolar illness, a psychotic disorder, or another mental health problem. A person who refuses to engage in social activities may need help.

Swings in mood, abrupt or drastic changes in emotions, or a feeling of depression

Having Trouble Thinking: Having trouble concentrating, remembering, or thinking clearly and coherently while speaking; this is challenging to express

Apathy: Being unable or unwilling to perform any action

Nervousness: A strong feeling of dread or discomfort about other people

Mental Illnesses and Their Types

The Following List Of Severe And Prevalent Mental Illnesses Is Provided:

Disorders of Eating:

Binge eating disorder, bulimia, and anorexia are the three most common eating disorders. Individuals with eating problems frequently experience uncontrollability in other areas of their lives. They have no control over anything other than the food that enters or exits their bodies. Calorie reduction is the main objective of anorexia. Bulimics tend to overeat and consume large amounts of calories. Following their binge, they will feel bad and need to throw up all the food they consume. A sign of binge-eating disorder is consuming too much food without purging. The shame, though, is good.


The signs and symptoms of anxiety disorders can vary, ranging from ongoing worry to panic attacks. Additional signs and symptoms of anxiety disorders include phobias, nightmares, sleeplessness, post-traumatic stress, terror, and dread.


Chronic melancholy and loss of interest are symptoms of the mental disease known as depression. In the United States and throughout the world, millions of adults and teenagers struggle with depression. The symptoms can vary depending on which. Some people may cry and feel depressed for no apparent cause. Some folks find that they are sleeping longer than usual and feel dread whenever they think about starting their day. Severe depression can make people feel hopeless.


What brings about schizophrenia is unknown. It is typically thought to start with "genetic predisposition plus environmental triggers. “If you have schizophrenia, you could occasionally become unaware of your surroundings. Hallucinations, delusions, and communication issues could occur.

Addiction & Substance Abuse:

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fifth Edition (DSM 5), alcohol and drug addictions are considered mental health disorders. Depending on the medication you select, you can experience severe, occasionally fatal side effects. Most drug users and addicts struggle with a co-occurring disorder as well. Because of this, many people also have untreated bipolar disorder, anxiety, despair, other diseases, and addiction.

Instability in the Borderline Personality:

It is said that having borderline personality disorder makes it hard for a person to maintain positive social relationships. You become more impulsive, emotionally unstable and have a distorted sense of yourself. From a raging wrath to a fear of being abandoned, you could experience anything. Such feelings are frequently out of control. If the borderline is very sharp, you can be paranoid.

Bipolar Disorder:

The phrase "bipolar disorder" refers to the two emotions connected to the condition yet are highly dissimilar. One aspect of this is depression. Bipolar depression can result in various symptoms, including the inability to get out of bed and the blues.


Known as ADHD, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder is a condition. The illness was previously known as ADD but recently received a new name because hyperactivity, which the "H" stands for, was demonstrated to exist in some people without inattention. If you have bipolar disorder, your mania—at the other end of the spectrum—may alternate with your depressed symptoms. Mania is sometimes looked upon positively due to your high level of energy and production. However, you might act in a dangerous manner that is fatal. Then, when you relapse into depression, the collapse can have a disastrous effect on you, your family, and even your work.


Insomnia is the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep. If you wake up throughout the night, it could be challenging to fall asleep again, even if you can. The problem of sleeplessness may be related to other mental health issues like worry and hopelessness.


Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may develop in those who have endured horrible situations. Tragedies, including sexual assault, military service, and disasters, can lead to PTSD. Symptoms of PTSD include persistent nightmares, flashbacks, and extreme anxiety. The thoughts and memories linked to the trauma you overcome may feel overwhelming.