Depression is a mental illness that affects over 16 million American adults each year. This disease inhibits the ability to live daily life, and can lead to thoughts of suicide when it has become severe or lasted a long time without relief. To someone who has never had depression, it may be difficult to understand. Often those with clinical depression have an imbalance of certain chemicals in the brain known as neurotransmitters, and this can interfere with the regions of the brain that process emotions, memories, and personality.
As the most common mental illness in the United States, anxiety affects over 40 million people, or over 18% of the population. This means that you or someone you know is likely to suffer with this condition. Often unseen, only about one third of those with anxiety seek treatment. Worries, fears, and concerns become overwhelming, and create a thought and behavior pattern that inhibits a person from living a full life.
Substance abuse is a challenging mental illness that can be debilitating for the person who is suffering from it and detrimental to their loved ones as well. Over 20 million people are addicted to alcohol or opiates, and this is a devastating trend. This mental illness has a genetic component, though there is no single gene that encodes for this issue; instead there are several genes that may make a person more likely to be challenged by addictive tendencies.
ADD & ADHD
Attention Deficit Disorder affects roughly 11 million people in the US and is a brain condition that affects the “executive functioning skills” that control concentration, as well as memory formation, the ability to learn from experiences, social skill development, and hyperactivity. ADD is also referred to as the Inattentive Subtype of ADHD, since the hyperactivity element isn’t present in those with ADD. Those with this disorder have an inability to focus, and may experience difficulty in learning new things.