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Mental Illness in the US - Research Paper Example

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MENTAL ILLNESS IN THE US Name: Institution: According to the World Health Organization (WHO) definition of health, health denotes the physical, mental, psychological and social normalcy of an individual and not just the absence of disease (NIMH, 2004). From this definition, it is clear that, there is more to health than the physical attributes…
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Mental Illness in the US
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Download file to see previous pages Mental illnesses have been around for centuries, and they continue affecting every citizen in the US, just like in the other parts of the world. There is growing interest by researchers on issues of mental health and how these have impacted on society. As it is an important health topic, researchers have done extensive research and now, there is diverse knowledge on health illnesses in the US. This paper analyzes mental illnesses in the US by dwelling on the history of mental illnesses, statistics of mental illnesses and impact of mental illnesses on the US population and government as a whole in terms of managing the condition. Statistics Mental disorders are common conditions internationally, and this is the same in the United States. Estimates reveal that 26.2 million Americans over 18 years suffer from mental illnesses. In any particular year, 1 in 4 adults are diagnosed with a mental condition. The problem is so major that currently, mental disorders are a top disability cause in the US for ages between 16 and 44. These are very alarming statistics. Even though the figures are high, the burden of illness affects a small proportion of the population, that is, a population of about 6% of all the cases of mental illnesses (Kessler et al., 2003). This translates to about 1 in 17 people who have a mental illness. Most people with mental illnesses suffer from more than one mental illness at a go, so that there is an overlap of mental conditions. This represents 45% of Americans with mental illnesses. This group represents the population with the highest morbidity and mortality. In the US, the diagnosis of mental illnesses is through using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition (DSM-IV) (CDC, 2010). From the classification on the DSM-IV, mental illnesses include mood disorders, suicide, schizophrenia, panic disorders, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), social phobia, eating disorders, autism and Alzheimer’s disease (Kessler et al., 2003). From this, it is evident that mental illnesses are very diverse. Schizophrenia affects 2.4 million Americans. This represents about 1.2% of the American adult population. Bipolar mood disorders, on the other hand, affects approximately 2.6% of the American adult population. Major depressive disorder is one of the most prevalent disorders in the US affecting 6.7 % of American adults. In the US, it is the number one cause of disability in people aged between 15 and 44 years. Panic disorder, OCD, PTSD, GAD and social phobias, collectively termed as anxiety disorders affect the highest proportion of adults. Figures from the WHO in 2004 revealed that anxiety disorders affected 18.7% of the American adult population. However, anxiety disorders rarely occur singly; they co-occur with other disorders like addiction disorders and depression. Statistics have also revealed that 25 % of mental illnesses in the US begin by 13 years, and 60% begin by 24 years. This disparity arises due to the disparity of accessing medical services. In some cases, there is delay between onset of symptoms and the start of treatment. Other factors like social segregation have played a part in this disparity also in that ethnic and racial minorities have lower access to mental healthcare. Due to this, there is early progress of symptoms. Even though it is does ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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