Mental Health

Everyone feels worried or anxious or down from time to time. But relatively few people develop a mental illness. What's the difference? A mental illness is a mental health condition that gets in the way of thinking, relating to others, and day-to-day function.

Dozens of mental illnesses have been identified and defined. They include depression, generalized anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, schizophrenia, and many more.

Mental illness is an equal opportunity issue. It affects young and old, male and female, and individuals of every race, ethnic background, education level, and income level. The good news is that it can often be treated.

Signs and symptoms of mental illness depend in part on the illness. Common symptoms include

  • feeling down for a while
  • extreme swings in mood
  • withdrawing from family, friends, or activities
  • low energy or problems sleeping
  • often feeling angry, hostile, or violent
  • feeling paranoid, hearing voices, or having hallucinations
  • often thinking about death or suicide.

In some people, symptoms of a mental illness first appear as physical problems such as stomach aches, back pain, or insomnia.

Individuals with a mental illness can often ease their symptoms and feel better by talking with a therapist and following a treatment plan that may or may not include medication.

Mental Health Articles

An introvert’s guide to healthy social engagement

Research continues to stress the importance of social interaction to long-term health. On average, people who are more isolated are at a higher risk for heart disease, depression, and early death. Yet people who prefer solitude over group outings, are often at a disadvantage when it comes to social engagements. They can still tap into the health benefits of socializing without changing their personality by following some simple guidelines on how to engage with others. (Locked) More »

Does a virus cause Alzheimer’s?

Research suggests that some cases of Alzheimer’s disease and some other types of dementia might be triggered by the infection of brain cells with viruses, primarily the herpesviruses. (Locked) More »

Strengthen your mood with weight training

Resistance training exercises aren’t just good for your body and your cardiovascular system. They might also boost mood, according to a new study. People who participated in resistance training between two or more days a week had fewer symptoms of depression than those who did not. (Locked) More »

Your heart’s desire: A daily practice to relieve stress

Chronic stress has physical effects that can harm the heart. Frequent psychosocial stress raises blood pressure and heart rate. But it also stimulates the body’s production of infection-fighting white blood cells that contribute to inflammation, which over time can encourage the buildup of fatty plaque inside artery walls. Stress-easing practices that help people let go of everyday worries may counteract those negative effects. These include practicing mindfulness while engaged in an engrossing hobby (such as playing an instrument or gardening). Other techniques include focused breathing, body scans, guided imagery, yoga, and tai chi. (Locked) More »

Looking for an earlier sign of Alzheimer’s disease

Symptoms of mild cognitive impairment can be an early marker of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. But new research has suggested there may be an even earlier clinical sign: subjective cognitive decline (SCD). SCD refers to a situation in which a person notices his thinking abilities are worsening, but standard memory tests can’t verify a decline. Since there is no test to diagnose SCD, the key is to increase self-awareness of changes in memory and consult a doctor as needed. (Locked) More »