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Source: The National Alliance on Mental Illness, Published June 01 2012

Common mental disorders

One in four adults, approximately 57.7 million Americans, experience a mental health disorder in a given year.

One in 17 lives with a serious mental disorders such as schizophrenia, major depression or bipolar disorder.

About one in 10 children live with a serious mental or emotional disorder.

The most common mental health disorders are anxiety disorders, affecting about 18.7 percent of adults, approximately 40 million people.

Anxiety disorders include panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), generalized anxiety disorder and phobias. They frequently occur with depression or addiction disorders.

Anxiety disorders cause people to feel excessively frightened, distressed, or uneasy during situations in which most other people would not experience these same feelings. They can be severely impairing when not treated and can make even regular and daily activities like shopping, cooking or going outside incredibly difficult, but there are many good treatments for anxiety disorders.

Depression is another common mental health disorder. Major depressive disorder affects 6.7 percent of adults or 14.8 million Americans. It’s the leading cause of disability in the United States and Canada in people ages 15 to 44, according to the 2004 World Health Report.

Unlike normal emotional experiences of sadness, loss or passing mood states, major depression is persistent and can significantly interfere with an individual’s thoughts, behavior, mood, activity and physical health.

Depression occurs twice as frequently in women as in men. Without treatment, the frequency of depressive illness as well as the severity of symptoms tends to increase over time. Left untreated, depression can lead to suicide.

An estimated 5.2 million adults have co-occurring mental health and addiction disorders. Of adults using homeless services, 31 percent reported having a combination of these conditions.

Bipolar disorder affects 5.7 million American adults, approximately 2.6 percent of the adult population each year.

Bipolar disorder is a chronic illness with recurring episodes of mania and depression that can last from one day to months. It causes unusual and dramatic shifts in mood, energy and the ability to think clearly.

Schizophrenia affects about 2.4 million Americans, or 1.1 percent of the adult population. It most often appears in men in their late teens or early twenties and in women in their late twenties or early thirties. The cause and course of the illness is unique for each person.

Schizophrenia interferes with a person’s ability to think clearly, manage emotions, make decisions and relate to others. It impairs a person’s ability to function to their potential when it is not treated. There is no single, simple course of treatment exists.