An estimated 22 percent of adult American - about 1 in 5 adults - suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder in a given year. Four of the 10 leading causes of disability in the United States are mental disorders. Many people suffer from more than one mental disorder at a given time. Many mental illnesses, including depression, bipolar disorders, schizophrenia and panic disorders, are caused by biochemical disturbances in the brain and others are triggered by exposure to an extremely stressful event.
While both men and women are burdened by the personal and financial toil that mental illnesses bring, women are more often affected by certain conditions. For example, women are affected twice as often as men by most forms of depression and anxiety disorders, and nine times as often by eating disorders. One out of four women will suffer from clinical depression; only 20 percent of those women will get the help they need.
Mental illnesses are treatable, especially when treatment is not delayed. Regardless of age early detection and treatment can help prevent mental illnesses from worsening and can improve the individual's chances for full recovery. Therefore, it is critical for a person to seek mental health care when he or she needs it and it is equally important for service providers, friends, and family members to be informed about the symptoms of a mental illness and the treatment options available.