A mental illness is a physical illness, just like any other, that affects the brain. These disorders can profoundly disrupt a person's thinking, feeling, moods, ability to relate to others and capacity for coping with the demands of everyday life. Mental illness 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 include such disorders as schizophrenia, schizo-affective disorder, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic and other severe anxiety disorders, autism and pervasive developmental disorders, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, borderline personality disorder, and other severe and persistent mental illnesses that affect the brain.
Brain scans can show structural and functional differences in brains that are affected by mental illness. Mental illness is real. It is not imagined and cannot be "willed" away.
Mental illnesses are treatable. Most people with serious mental illness need medication to help control symptoms, but also rely on supportive counseling, self-help groups, assistance with housing, vocational rehabilitation, income assistance and other community services in order to achieve their highest level of recovery.
Here are some important facts to know about mental illness and recovery: