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Mental Illness: What is it?

In the previous post, we discussed myths and misconceptions about mental illness. Today, we will be defining it and describing it, further elevating myths from mental health facts.

The definition of Mental Illness: “…a disease that causes mild to severe disturbances in thinking, perception and behavior.”

Mental illness, much like other diseases, can be treated so the diagnosed individual can live a normal life. New research has indicated that mental illnesses have signs of biological causes, similar to cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. However, it can also be caused from the individual’s environment or social circumstance.

There are five main categories of mental illness:

Anxiety disorders – This is the most common form of mental illness. Within this category, there are three main types including phobias, panic disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorders. The symptoms for these disorders can range from extreme fear and sudden terror, to repetitive behaviors.

Mood disordersDepression and bipolar disorder belong in this category. Individuals with this type of disorder have symptoms including extreme mood swings, disturbances while eating and sleeping, and changes in activity and energy levels.

SchizophreniaThis disease affects three of the main brain functions – thought, emotion, and behavior. Chemical imbalances cause these individuals to have hallucinations, delusions, withdrawal, incoherent speech, and impaired reasoning.

Dementias – There is an entire group of disorders that fall under dementia such as Alzheimer’s. The disorder causes individuals to lose memory, intelligence, and physical ability.

Eating disordersEating disorders have been commonly discussed within pop culture because of stick thin models and celebrities. Anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are disorders that involve obsessions with body weight and food. Key characteristics of this behavior can include bingeing, purging, and excessive exercise.

For more information, visit MentalHealthAmerica.Net.

The Villa Orlando and Pasadena Villa’s Smoky Mountain Lodge are adult intensive psychiatric residential treatment centers for clients with serious mental illnesses. We also provide other individualized therapy programs, step-down residential programs, and less intensive mental health services, such as Community Residential Homes, Supportive Housing, Day Treatment Programs and Life Skills training. Pasadena Villa’s Outpatient Center in Raleigh, North Carolina offers partial hospitalization (PHP) and an intensive outpatient program (PHP). If you or someone you know may need mental health services, please complete our contact form or call us at 877-845-5235 for more information.

If you think that you or a loved one may be struggling with a mental health disorder, Pasadena Villa can help. We are here to answer questions and connect to care. Pasadena Villa currently offers treatment at two residential locations in both Orlando, Florida and Knoxville, Tennessee, and outpatient services in Cary, North Carolina and Charlotte, North Carolina. To learn more about our program, call us at
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