Mental Disorder

A mental disorder or mental illness is a psychological pattern, potentially reflected in behavior, that is generally associated with distress or disability, and which is not considered part of normal development of a person's culture. Mental disorders are generally defined by a combination of how a person feels, acts, thinks or perceives. This may be associated with particular regions or functions of the brain or rest of the nervous system, often in a social context. The recognition and understanding of mental health conditions have changed over time and across cultures, and there are still variations in definition, assessment and classification, although standard guideline criteria are widely used. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), over a third of people in most countries report problems at some time in their life which meet criteria for diagnosis of one or more of the common types of mental disorder.

The causes of mental disorders are varied and in some cases unclear, and theories may incorporate findings from a range of fields. Services are based in psychiatric hospitals or in the community, and assessments are carried out by psychiatrists, clinical psychologists and clinical social workers, using various methods but often relying on observation and questioning. Clinical treatments are provided by various mental health professionals. Psychotherapy and psychiatric medication are two major treatment options, as are social interventions, peer support and self-help. In a minority of cases there might be involuntary detention or involuntary treatment, where legislation allows. Stigma and discrimination can add to the suffering and disability associated with mental disorders (or with being diagnosed or judged as having a mental disorder), leading to various social movements attempting to increase understanding and challenge social exclusion.

This text uses material from Wikipedia licensed under CC BY-SA

Latest Spotlight News

Novel approach to track HIV infection

Northwestern Medicine scientists have developed a novel method of tracking HIV infection, allowing the behavior of individual virions—infectious particles—to be connected to infectivity.

Make way for hemoglobin

Every cell in the body, whether skin or muscle or brain, starts out as a generic cell that acquires its unique characteristics after undergoing a process of specialization. Nowhere is this process more dramatic than it is ...

How whip-like cell appendages promote bodily fluid flow

Researchers at Nagoya University have identified a molecule that enables cell appendages called cilia to beat in a coordinated way to drive the flow of fluid around the brain; this prevents the accumulation of this fluid, ...