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Mental illness can be an intimidating phrase. It conjures up many images, most of them unpleasant. Mental illnesses, however, affect everyday people, and they can often turn life upside down.
The term "mental illness" refers to conditions that affect the brain like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, autism, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), to name a few.
According to The Nation's Voice on Mental Illness, a national organization founded in 1979, mental illness can affect every area of a person's life. These illnesses are not caused by any particular environmental or personality factors. Disorders like these can affect anyone, regardless of race, upbringing or income.
Fortunately, there is good treatment available for mental disorders. Highly effective medications together with professional counseling, support groups and community life services can help most people with mental illness live a productive life.
Like most diseases, however, it is important that the illness be caught and treated early. This early intervention can speed a person's recovery and protect their brain from damage related to the disease.