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Mental Health Disorders

Medically reviewed on Mar 10, 2013 by L. Anderson, PharmD

Mental health disorders are common in the United States and internationally. In any given year, approximately 26.2 percent of Americans aged 18 and older - about 1 in 4 adults - suffers from a diagnosable mental disorder. This is about 57.7 million people. Even though mental disorders are widespread, the main burden of illness is concentrated in about 6 percent of the population (1 in 17 people) who suffer from a serious mental illness.

Mental disorders are the leading cause of disability in the U.S. and Canada for individuals aged 15-44. Many people suffer from more than one mental disorder at a given time. Nearly half (45 percent) of those with any mental disorder meet criteria for 2 or more disorders; the more severe the disorder, the greater the likelihood of comorbidity, that is, experiencing more than one disorder simultaneously.

Mental disorders can be classified as mood disorders, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism, and Alzheimer's disease.

Mood disorders include major depressive disorder, dysthymia and bipolar disorder. Anxiety disorders include, among others, general anxiety disorder, social phobia, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and panic disorder.

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Reference: National Institute of Mental Health. The Numbers Count: Mental Disorders in America. Accessed March 10, 2013.