The term mental illness refers to many different types of mental health challenges. A mental illness is a condition that disrupts a person's thoughts, feelings, social skills, and/or daily living.
Mental illnesses impact thousands of Wisconsin residents each year. People often ask why. While researchers have long studied the causes of mental illnesses, there is no clear evidence that shows why some people are affected and others are not. However, mentalhealth.gov lists many factors that contribute to mental illnesses, including:
- Biological factors, such as genes or brain chemistry
- Life experiences, such as trauma or abuse
- Family history of mental health problems
Call 211 to learn about mental health resources in your community.
Signs and symptoms
Like a physical health condition, recognizing and seeking treatment for a mental health condition at the onset of the signs and symptoms leads to more positive outcomes. Mentalhealth.gov has a list of feelings and behaviors that may be an early indication of a mental health condition. These feelings and behaviors include:
- Eating or sleeping too much or too little
- Avoiding people and usual activities
- Having low or no energy
- Feeling numb or like nothing matters
- Feeling helpless or hopeless
- Feeling unusually confused, forgetful, on edge, angry, upset, worried, or scared
- Experiencing severe mood swings that cause problems in relationships
- Hearing voices or believing things that are not true
- Thinking of harming yourself or others
It's important to talk about your emotional and social well-being with your primary care doctor, another health professional, or other trusted resource in your community.
Types of mental illnesses
Mental illnesses include:
- Anxiety disorders
- Conduct disorders
- Eating disorders
- Mood disorders
- Personality disorders
- Psychotic disorders
People who experience a mental illness also may experience a substance use disorder at the same time.