Statistics show that 1 in 4 adults in America suffer from some form of mental illness. This year has shown a tremendous increase in mental disorders among adults, teens and the elderly. Based on statistics taken from the CDC and other sources, we have comprised a list of the top 5 mental disorders affecting the American population today.
5 – Schizophrenia
This condition comes in two types. While both varieties can cause auditory and visual hallucinations. Those with the paranoid form of schizophrenia perceive their hallucinations to be threatening or take actions based on them.
The direct causes of schizophrenia are not entirely understood, but it is known to be genetic in nature and this gene is inherited from parents. Interestingly, everyone who carries the gene for schizophrenia does not develop the mental condition unless it is triggered by a traumatic experience or certain types of drug use.
Anti-psychotic medications are the most common form of treatment. Those patients that are not responsive to these medications usually have to undergo ECT (Electro convulsive therapy) as a last resort treatment for the disorder. Contrary to what many people believe, ECT is still practiced today but is performed under the sedation of anesthesia.
4 – Autism
Like many other mental conditions, Autism has several different types. Some forms exhibit symptoms of hyper focus combined with photographic memory, while others border on a complete inability to comprehend cognitive thought. Recent studies have linked autism to diet and lack of beneficial intestinal bacteria, but these findings have not yet been fully researched or confirmed.
The form of autism known as aspergers syndrome has become very prominent in recent years. Aspergers sufferers typically possess exceptional memory and learning abilities but are unable to express themselves in socially acceptable ways. They are often extremely focused on their on thoughts, but unable to sympathize or interpret the thoughts and ideas of others.
3 – Bi-Polar Disorder
Although it is linked to anxiety disorders, bi-polar differs in its brain chemistry to a great degree. Those with this disorder may exhibit no anxiety symptoms such as social phobias or fear of new situations. Bi-polar can best be described as a roller-coaster like mental state of mind. Those people with this condition can experience severe sadness, extreme happiness and violent anger all within the time from of a 24 hour period. Medications that are known to be effective in the treatment of depression and anxiety have negative effects on many bi-polar sufferers.
2 – Depression
Everyone has experienced depression at one time or another. Although this is a normal state of mind that occurs in every human being, frequent or long lasting feelings of depression are a serious mental illness. Depression is the primary cause of suicide and can be debilitating in severe cases.Symptoms of depression range from mild to severe and can become manic if left untreated.
1 – Anxiety Disorders
Anxiety can be held accountable for more mental disorders than any other mental problem found in society today. While many may speculate that OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) and ADD (attention deficit disorder) are their own unique illnesses, they are in fact, all forms of anxiety. As the root cause of ADD, ADHD, OCD and a variety of phobias, anxiety disorders affect more people than any other mental condition in the United States.
The reasons for the increase in these disorders are not well known, but some say the increase in ADD like symptoms can be contributed to food additives that weren’t commonly used in the past. Traumatic experiences can also be contributed to anxiety disorders. Those with severe social anxiety are often unable to function in normal social situations. This can render them unable to perform daily tasks that we often take for granted.