What is mental illness?
A mental illness is a medical condition that disrupts a person's thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning. Just as diabetes is a disorder of the pancreas, mental illnesses are medical conditions that often result in a diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of life.
Serious mental illnesses include major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and borderline personality disorder. The good news about mental illness is that recovery is possible.
Mental illnesses can affect persons of any age, race, religion or income. Mental illnesses are not the result of personal weakness, lack of character or poor upbringing. Mental illnesses are treatable. Most people diagnosed with a serious mental illness can experience relief from their symptoms by actively participating in an individual treatment plan.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
PTSD develops after a terrifying ordeal that involved physical harm or the threat of physical harm. The person who develops PTSD may have been the one who was harmed, the harm may have happened to a loved one, or the person may have witnessed a harmful event that happened to loved ones or strangers.
National Institute of Mental Health
New Directions Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Statistics for OEF/OEF
- A recent study showed that 18 percent of 45,880 veterans were diagnosed with psychological disorders, including 183 with PTSD.
- According to a 2005 VA study of 168,528 Iraqi veterans, 20 percent were diagnosed with psychological disorders,including 1,641 with PTSD.
- In an earlier VA study this year, almost 12,500 of nearly 245,000 veterans visited VA counseling centers for readjustment problems and symptoms of PTSD.
- The Marines and Army were nearly four times more likely to report PTSD than Navy or Air Force because of their greater exposure to combat situations.
- 8 percent to 10 percent of active-duty women and retired military women who served in Iraq suffer from PTSD.
- Studies show that U.S. women serving in Iraq suffer from more pronounced and debilitating forms of PTSD than their male counterparts.